[Study] Free Gifts Increase Online Customer Retention

A recent online survey in the US, from Harris Interactive and commissioned by IDR Marketing Partners, revealed that two in five Americans are very-to-extremely likely to purchase more often from a shopping Web site after receiving a free gift, and about 40 percent of Americans are somewhat likely to. The survey found that online retailers benefit from including an unexpected offer or free gift sample with each customer order. Americans are more likely to purchase regularly from the online retailer, as well as share their positive experience online and offline.

IDR works with more than 510 online retailers including Bluefly.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, BeyondTheRack.com, Yoox.com, QCI Direct, HauteLook.com and many others. The company provides targeted free products and product samples from well-known brands to online retailers that they then include in online orders. The free gift serves to surprise and delight customers, fostering a closer connection between the retailer and customer, which as a result, encourages recurring engagement.

Additional survey findings support both the online and offline impact of product samples:

  • Consumers Come Back for More:
    Almost 90 percent of free gift receivers indicate that they are at least somewhat likely to buy more frequently from an online retailer after receiving a free gift.
  • Shoppers React Favorably to Something Extra:
    Sixty-five percent of free gift receivers say they are at least somewhat likely to share their experience with others online, about half offline.
  • Online Retailers Urged to Include Free Gift:
    Online retailers see value in including a free gift with customer orders, though less than half do.
  • Women More Likely to Share:
    Of the four out of five Americans that are at least somewhat likely to share their experience with others offline about a shopping site after receiving a free gift with purchase, women are found to be significantly more likely to share their positive experience than men.

With online sales estimated to increase to $429 billion by 2015, e-commerce is in a state of growth. Online retailers have a chance to grab on to that spend by tapping a well-refined marketing technique to include a free gift with purchase.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States from October 2-4, 2012 among 2,516 adults ages 18 and over. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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