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How true he was... and how odd this phenomenon is!
Lately we've been giving a free gift item with every purchase over a certain small amount. (we're thinking of selling the item eventually and want to test customer reaction) It's a product all our customers can use and is really worth a few dollars. (think free batteries with flashlight)
All the shopper has to do is enter a brief code in a very prominent text box at check out. At first, about 10% of customers entered the code with their order. I made the product/code info much bigger and we're up to about 25% taking the FREE item.
I considered making the freebie even more prominent but I thought it was crazy to work so hard to give something away. LOL!
Anyone else experience this? Surely there are broader lessons for ecommerce in this unexpected behavior.
If you can reassure your visitors that these gifts don't bite then maybe your success rate would go up. Eg say that "we want you to try these out as we're thinking of selling them and we'd really appreciate your feedback". If you give them the opportunity to work a *little* for you with a 1-line response if they want, then they may see your offer more as a bargain than as a potential con.
IMHO, YMMV, batteries NOT included, lawyers may bite in some states, IANAL.
Maybe if you add some short copy explaining that you plan to sell the product in the future, but are giving away free samples of it for a limited time to judge people's reaction to it.
Nay - MORE put up more coupon boxes! ...
We deal with this by making 'Coupons' a section of our site, there is a large nav tab called 'Coupons', there is a large, prominent, differently colored box on both the shopping cart AND checkout page called 'Discount Coupons', we have an email box that says 'sign up for coupons...', we use coupon codes in almost every marketing campaign, we give all of our affiliates codes to us,..
The coupons we offer are things that we usually offer anyway like free shipping over $60, $10 off any order over $100 etc etc, things that will hopefully increase average order values. ...
...So now the question is... when you make coupons such a blatantly obvious and integral part of your site, what % of users actually USE a coupon? Naturally it will be different for everyone, but for our common consumer goods $60 average order site - it is less than 35% of checkouts.
Or if you want to offer it for free, why not add two line items (purchase items, and free items) during the Add to Cart process for specific products. Retail it might be a few bucks, but wholesale purchased in bulk from China is only ten cents? ;) Maybe instead of batteries for a flashlight, a second flashlight for free?
The discount code is on the top of every page-including the page where they are prompted to enter it.
We sell high ticket items where entering the code is often worth hundreds of dollars-people can't be bothered.
Variations on this theme have been debated previously, you just cant give stuff away if tehy dont want it, I took ina load of end of line gear once, priced it at $2 with wa a fraction of the former price never sold one.
- Dun & Bradstreet called a few years ago and offered our firm a listing in some online directory...Free. Was a fairly popular directory as I recall. We accepted. A year later we get a renewal invoice at something like $2,000! Took some effort to get out of that "free" directory. Many large firms would have just paid the $2,000.
- Local auto club offered me a year of upgraded service recently...Free. All I had to do was check a box. But I figured they'd try to sneak a paid renewal on my next bill. No thank you!
But there really are some good free offers. We use "gift with purchase" mailers to test advertising effectiveness.
People are blind. Customers have tunnel vision.There is an element of that. When we made the offer twice as big, about twice as many people accepted the freebie. Not that it was ever hidden. It was prominent at first, then we made it HUMONGOUS!
We offer a discount on every sale. Enter discount code "whatever" during checkout to save an additional 10% off your entire order. We have tried big bold letters, different placements, big bold red letters where they enter the code, etc... yet 60% don't enter the code. That would be fine but they realize it after the fact and request a credit for the discount... frustrating.
We now automatically enter the code and give them the discount... the less they have to think the better ;-)
So why call it a discount?
No, they didn't really, but they feel they did. Think of it like an economic placebo.
Unfortunatly, all of the ecommerce world is judged by the likes of Amazon and other mega online retailers. You don't see anywhere on the Amazon site where you need to enter a code to get something free or get a discount, do you? It just happens.
Because people are blind, they will miss the code text and assume it is automatically added like it is everywhere else (read mega stores). Then when they get the order, and no free item or they later realized that they got charged full price, they won't blame themselves. They will blame you.
They may not call to complain (after all it was just a free item), but they will be a little jaded when it comes to shopping on your site.
If you really want to give the item away with a minimum purchase, why are you requiring your customers to do anything? Why don't you just throw it in the box when you ship whatever they have purchased?
I have to agree with Moosetick. Nowadays people think that something's fishy when somebody offers free things and gifts online. And the above mentioned is the easiest way for you to make them accept whatever is that you are trying to send.