It's normal when we walk in to buy a few stuffs from a retail shop, and find that the shop owner offering some discount, price cut or a free gift because.. well, everyone loves discount and free gifts! The main purpose is to make customers happy with hope that they will return for next purchase. When you move to online business, can this free gift culture work?
If you plan to bring this culture online, it might or might not work. Let's see the situation:
# You will have return customer.
By receiving a gift that meets their expectation, the chances for your customer to come back to your store as a return customer is high, just because you offer price cut and free gifts, but do remember that their expectation will always be greater from you the next time around.
# Your customer will provide a very good testimonial.
Testimonial is very important for online sellers; the more discounts or free gifts you provide, the better your customer testimonial will be. This testimonial will bring new customers to your business; after all, mouth of mouth advertising still work nowadays. See how the Multi Level Marketing (MLM) work.
#They will expect more.
Sellers would normally start with a small gift; a pen, cheap earring as a free gift. As for buyer, receiving a small gift or extra item will increase their expectation on the next purchase. In simple words, they want more. Imagine if they expect you to provide a computer portable table as a free gift of buying 2 notebooks, but you only give 1 pencil box as a free gift instead. This will cause them to feel frustrated and will start throwing words saying you do not provide a good service. The fact is their expection is too high.
# Referral customers will expect the same service
As mentioned above, when testimonial work, it will bring lots of new customers, but this customer come with the thought "I will get a discount and free gift, same as what my friend got", so here comes the grey area - discount and gift is subject to negotiation/availability. When sell online without any shopping cart system, you will be haunted by your customer, especially when you use mobile as your medium of communication.
Should I stop giving a free gift to my customer?
The answer is NO, you may keep this culture but only after you have moved to the proper way of selling online. Use a shopping cart system as this way, you will be the one controlling the price, the discount and the free gift, without providing any room for negotiation. A good customer service will be the core of success in online selling.