opinion

A Look at the Do's and Don'ts of Gift-With-Purchase Promos

A Look at the Do's and Don'ts of Gift-With-Purchase Promos

Imagine you’re at a store, deciding between two products with similar packaging, features and pricing. You’re not predisposed toward either brand and you haven’t seen any reviews — but one of them offers, “Free gift with purchase!” Does that win you over? After all, everyone wants something for nothing. Don’t they? Or do you remain skeptical, wondering “What’s the catch?” and seek out more information about both the product and gift before making your decision?

How consumers respond to gift-with-purchase promotions depends on multiple factors, like the gift’s attractiveness, value, immediacy and incidental costs. Add to that the issue of congruence: How well does the gift match the brand and promoted product they were thinking of buying in the first place? Customers may also wonder why the item is being “pushed.” Is the store trying to get rid of it because no one wants it? Is it old or faulty? They may ask the same questions about the gift too.

You want to offer different gifts based on transaction size, so that spending more earns more valuable freebies.

Let’s explore effective ways to approach gift promotions so that they help connect consumers with genuinely high-quality, high-value goods while also benefiting your business.

When gifting goes wrong

Just like other product categories, adult retailers use gift promotions for many reasons: to increase sales, encourage brand loyalty or repeat business, promote a product, clear stock or stimulate good publicity. However, free gift promos don’t always achieve the desired outcome and in fact can hurt the promoted product, brand or business.

For example, research shows that when there’s a poor fit between the gift and promoted product, customers may question the seller’s motives for offering the promotion — especially customers who don’t enjoy shopping but view it simply as a task to carry out as efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, separate research shows that offering free gifts can backfire if the gift is depicted in an advertisement as larger or more important than the item for purchase. Customers may then perceive the product for sale as being of poorer quality, making them less likely to buy it.

How can adult retailers boost uptake of free gift promotions without incurring these issues? As with any marketing campaign, a gift-with-purchase promotion has a better chance of success when carefully planned. To help plan yours, consider breaking the process down into five steps.

Step 1: Define your objectives

Clearly state why you want to run a gift promo. For example, do you want to attract more store traffic, increase sales, shift slow-moving stock or showcase a product, category or brand? Perhaps you want to gain a competitive advantage, encourage brand loyalty and repeat business, or generate positive media, social or word-of-mouth advertising. Whatever your reason, keep it front of mind so that it informs your choices and decisions in each subsequent step.

Step 2: Choose your free gift

If the gift you offer doesn’t excite customers or add value to their purchase, it won’t be an effective promotion, so choose gift items that your customers will actually want and that align with the purchased product and brand. After all, you don’t want those task-focused shoppers second-guessing you! Don’t overlook small and lightweight gifts, as these are both easier for brick-and-mortar stores to stock and cheaper to ship if purchased online. You may also want to offer different gifts based on transaction size, so that spending more earns more valuable freebies.

Remember, your choice will also need to factor in the cost to source the stock, promote and manage the campaign, and cover fulfillment logistics, all of which can impact your bottom line. Do your math carefully so the free gift doesn’t lead to regrettable losses.

Step 3: Decide on the timeline and conditions

Figure out how the promo is going to work. For example, will the gift be attached to a particular product, category, brand or transaction amount? Then, determine when all this should happen. Will you run the promo during slow sales periods — or when it’s busier, to set yourself apart from competitors? How long will the campaign last? Keep in mind that campaigns held for a limited time or “only while stock lasts” can help to increase a sense of urgency in customers. Also consider other conditions that may apply to the free gift, such as a maximum quantity per customer or per day.

Step 4: Prepare your store and staff

Once you’ve finalized the who, what, when, where, why and how of your campaign, it’s time to stock up, merchandise your display and brief your staff. Ensure you have enough stock to last the campaign period and that the promoted product and gifts are clearly and prominently displayed, whether in-store, online or via socials. Think posters, shelf-wobblers and ceiling hangers; website banners, pop-ups, and reminders at checkout; social media posts, stories, reels and live videos. In so doing, recall the research we considered: Could your gift harm the promoted product by stealing the limelight because of its prominence in your marketing material?

Step 5: Track and analyze your results

How will you know if your gift-with-purchase promotion meets your objective? Decide which metrics you will use to track variables of interest before and after the campaign. For example, are you concerned only with numbers, or qualitative information too? Aim to include metrics that are easy to understand, check, analyze and report on, so you can use the data when considering what types of promotions to run in the future.

If this article has proved helpful, please consider it one of many valuable free gifts just for reading this edition of XBIZ Premiere!

Vanessa Rose is a certified clinical sexuality coach and the account manager for Australia and New Zealand at multi-award-winning brand Svakom Design USA Limited.

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