Turn shoppers into big spenders with a "free gift with purchase" promotion

November 6, 2019

free gift

During Black Friday weekend, thousands of brick-and-mortar retailers will offer "gift with purchase" promotions.

What is a gift with purchase promotion, you ask?

Exactly what it sounds like: customers can receive a free gift if they purchase a certain product or reach a specified spending threshold. 

Many Shopify and eCommerce stores use this strategy to give Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers an incentive to spend more.

But the question is, what makes a great gift? There are many factors to consider when picking a giveaway that will motivate customers to spend a little more. 

Here's a great example from Perfumania.

While this bag is small and likely inexpensive to produce, it's an attractive accessory that the target customer (perfume shopper) would likely be interested in.

It also pairs well with the product they are trying to sell — the exotic design goes with the "tempting paradise" branding. 


Image via. okcoutlets.com

TIME's business section wrote an awesome article on the benefits these types of offers can have for a retailer. 

One of the more interesting highlights is the brief description of the "reciprocity principle" studied in 2005: when consumers receive a free gift, they feel as if they've been done a favour, and that they should reciprocate it (by spending more) even though they didn't ask for that favor.

More and more eCommerce stores are running these kinds of promotions

Nowadays, buying (just about anything) online is as normal as going to the mall or shopping at your favourite retailer. Customers trust the online shopping experience, and when you tell them they are going to get a free gift they believe it. 

What's more is that the experience of shopping online (adding items to a cart, seeing the total balance increase, etc.) is the ideal format for running a free gift with purchase promotion.

Instead of making customers in a store do the mental math, they have a progress bar or pop-up reminding them how much more they have to spend to get the free gift. 

It can say things like: "You're almost there — spend only $4 more to get a free fidget spinner!" 

Black Friday is only weeks away, and whether you've planned anything or not, a free gift with purchase is the perfect last-minute promotion you can quickly add to your Shopify store.

We'll go over strategies on how to pick a gift, and then show you how to set it up with one of our Shopify apps!

5 things to consider when planning a "free gift with purchase" offer: 

Planning a gift with purchase promotion is fairly simple, but here are a few items you should consider before you launch:

1. Offer something customers will actually want

The item should be of enough value that customers are incentivized to spend more. If you offer a free pair of shoelaces with a $100 purchase, you might have a hard time motivating customers to try and redeem this offer (unless they are really nice shoelaces!).

Ideally the gift will fit your eCommerce store's brand, and be something that your customers will already want or be interested in. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Get a snazzy pair of socks with every shoe purchase
  • Spend $50 on shaving products and receive a free compact mirror
  • Black Friday special: get a free bag of dark roast coffee beans with the purchase of any french press

I'm sure you can do better. Think of something that your customers will want and use it to encourage larger purchases.

2. Make sure you have enough stock

Free gift with purchase promotions can really work! So, make sure you're prepared if there's a spike in orders.

But nothing would be worse than having to tell customers who went out of their way to hit the spending threshold that you ran out of the free gift you promised.

That would be like Santa Claus coming down the chimney and explaining to kids that he ran out of presents! Make sure that you have enough stock of your free item to be able to handle the increase in orders. 

3. Make sure the item won't affect shipping rate

If it is a small item it likely won't dramatically increase the order's weight, but larger items might require a larger box to be shipped along with your order. Take that into consideration when setting your spending threshold.

Every free gift with purchase promotion will be different, but in general smaller, lighter items work best. This way you won't get stuck eating costs because you decided free bowling balls would make a great Black Friday giveaway (oof!) 

4. Pick a reasonable spending target

For the best results, we recommend looking at your average order value and making it around 10 to 15 percent higher. The whole point is that you want to encourage more spending, but to an amount customers can sensibly reach based on your products' prices.

For example, if your average order value is $58 and you sell products priced around $15, try setting the spending goal to $75. This way you’re not over asking, you’re just making it easier for shoppers to reach the minimum.

5. Make sure you're promoting the offer

Some apps, like Bold Motivator, will display a customizable banner on your store that promotes your offer on every page. It can also automatically counts down how much more shoppers have to add to their cart to qualify for their free gift.

However, you should also promote your gift with purchase on social media or with an email blast to drive traffic to your site.

Set up your gift with purchase offer

So now that you have some products in mind to offer as a free gift, it’s time to actually set it up.

If you have a Shopify store, there a number of apps that can help you offer this kind of promotion, but we're partial to our very own Bold Motivator.

Okay, we're a little biased, but it does have over 400 five-star reviews in the Shopify app store! It will promote your offer with a customizable banner that automatically tells customer how much more they have to add to their cart to get their free gift.

Install Motivator on your store then use the video or step-by-step instructions below to get you offer up and running!  

You'll need to upgrade to the Premium version — for no extra cost while you're in the trial period — to set up this offer.

Try Bold Motivator FREE 

Don't have time to read the step-by-step instructions? Watch our "How-to" video above.

How to set up your "gift with purchase" sale

Once you have installed the app, you will be able to start offering free gifts with purchase to get your customers to spend more (and get some sweet free swag!) this Black Friday. 

Here's how:

Step 1: Set up the Motivator goal

Creating a new goal in the app

First, set the goal amount; this is the spending target that customers will need to reach in a single order to receive their free gift.

Next, enter in your text to make the pitch. This will be shown to the customer on a banner at the top of your store the first time they visit, letting them know that if they reach the spending goal, they'll have a free gift added to their order.

Sales Motivator Goal Creation screen, showing the goal amount and the "make the pitch" message

It's important to make this message exciting and energetic (keeping in mind your brand's tone), while being succinct and descriptive so your message is clear.

For my fidget cube store, I used Welcome! Today only, spend over $75 (before taxes + shipping) and get a FREE fidget spinner!

After this, you'll enter a follow-up and a congratulations message. These are both very important as they not only encourage customers to increase their spending, but have the added benefit of giving them personal recognition.

This should keep them around for longer, leading to fewer abandoned carts since the shopping experience has become a little more personalized.

Motivator Banner Congratulations.png

Step 2: Setting up the free gift

Lastly, we'll select the free product that will actually be added to the customer's cart once they reach the spending goal.

Check off the Enable free product box at the bottom of the page. Now you'll be able to select the item that you want to give away to customers.

Product selection in Sales Motivator

It's important to note that this only works for one specific variant of a product; the shopper won't be able to choose a different variant (such as a size or colour) of the free gift they receive.

If they need to be able to do this, we recommend having your fulfillment team follow up with them to determine which specific item they'll receive.

Other awesome Bold Motivator features

There are a few additional options that you can activate to target this offer more specifically, in particular geo location and scheduling.

Geo location 

Geo location allows you to target the offer only to visitors from specific countries.

So, if your free gift is only stocked at your U.S. warehouse, you aren't offering it to shoppers from South Africa. This can also be useful if you're trying to increase sales in a particular region.

Note that this works based on IP address which can easily be spoofed to appear as if it is coming from a different country, so always review orders with free gifts to make sure they aren't being shipped anywhere they shouldn't be.


Scheduling allows you to show the offer only during certain days and times. This can be useful if you're trying to drive sales during a time period (perhaps an hour before your shipping cut-off?).

You also have the option to run the promotion only on specific days of the week, or every day between two specific times.

Well done!

You just created a gift with purchase offer on Shopify: giving your customers a free product by encouraging them to spend a little more. A gift with purchase offer is just one of many tricks Bold apps can add to your arsenal to help you increase average order value.

Still need the app?

We know our Bold Motivator app can help every single Shopify store out there, so we're offering a FREE trial  with the link below. 

Download the app by clicking the button below, and watch your AOV explode.

Try Bold Motivator FREE 

What strategies are you using to make your promotions stand out? Have you seen an increase in your average order value? Let us know in the comments below. 

Topics: BFCM

Marshal Fries

Written by Marshal Fries

Marshal Fries is a copywriter at Bold and fantasy football fanatic.

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