The Benefits of a Gift Before Purchase


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Ah, the little gift (also known as a lagniappe) after purchase. The free oatmeal cookie after your meal at the Red Eye Grille in Manhattan. The sweet-smelling bag of delights from the cosmetic counter tucked into your shiny sack of high-priced makeup.

Everyone can remember a personal story of a little gift AFTER purchase. When I was little, my parents shopped at the same nursery every spring because the owner gave me and my brothers a little seedling as we checked out. Hours, days, weeks of fun—my parents wouldn’t have shopped anywhere else.

But the lagniappe BEFORE purchase. That’s kind of rare. However, expect to see it trending up soon. Why? Because a recent study in the International Journal of Marketing Studies reports that customers who received a lagniappe BEFORE purchase spent an average of 46% more than non-gifted customers. Yes, not a typo. Forty-six percent.

Why should a gift before purchase have so much more impact than a post-purchase one? Three reasons:

  • people have an underlying tendency toward reciprocity, and look, they’re right there to reciprocate immediately—by buying from you.
  • a pleasant surprise is powerful and produces a long-term memory
  • giving without an expectation of return is seen as selfless and admirable

How can e-commerce use these lessons from retail? For the service company or online retailer, what would compare to that tangible little treat in your hand—before purchase?

The short list:

Free trials
Bonus benefits
Free shipping upgrades
Free downloads

Can you think of others?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alyson Stone
Alyson Stone is Content Director for Pipeliner CRM, a sales pipeline management tool built by salespeople for salespeople.


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