Since the 1850s companies have been giving away products with the purchase of a specific item. Some gifts were relevant, like Marlboro giving away ashtrays, while others seemed a little less applicable. I distinctly remember getting a free set of Pyrex bowls – with lids! – for opening my first checking account in college. Sounds like a random gift-with-purchase, doesn’t it? But in hindsight, it was actually smart marketing considering I needed glass bowls (I was on my own for the first time) AND I still have them 30 years later. Unfortunately, the name of the bank escapes me, as they didn’t put their logo on the lids or the bowls!

Today, companies are still successfully offering gift-with-purchase (GWP) promotions as a means of adding more value and boosting their competitive advantage.

Cosmetics companies are well-known for their GWP offers, particularly during the holidays. You’re probably familiar with Clinique’s regular “Spend $X and get the mini sample kit in a special bag” offers. They’re extremely popular for a reason. The gift-with-purchase is a sales tactic that’s used to entice and convert buyers. While other promotional offers can take away from the value of the product, like offering a discount or providing free shipping, GWP promos help add value to the product.

Generally, the add-on gifts are also exclusive and limited. They are offered as a promotion, meaning that the gift is only offered for a set period of time or “while supplies last.” This is meant to increase the exclusivity and urgency of the promotion that other discounts might not have the ability to do.

Here are 4 reasons why GWP promos help your business:

  1. They add value

The purpose of a GWP promo is to provide more value to your customer by adding perceived worth to the purchase. With the add-on item, you won’t lose a significant amount of cash in your profit margins, as you might with a deep discount or shipping options. Plus, you won’t minimize your brand value by adding a gift. This is especially important if you have a luxury brand or if you run a service-based business. My friend, who is a local spa owner, refuses to offer sales to her clients, as she believes this decreases the value of the services she provides. She will, however, offer a free massage oil or body lotion with the spa name on them, with the purchase of a massage package.

  1. They help create loyal clients

Simply put, people love to think they’re getting something for free. Plus, thoughtful gifts-with-purchase emphasize to the customer that you care about their business. With GWP promos, customers feel there is more value in the purchase, so they’re more likely to shop with you again. When they know they’re getting an additional item at the same cost, customers feel like they’re getting more “bang for their buck”.

  1. They bump up average sales

In most cases, a GWP is only offered if the customer buys a specific item or spends a certain amount. This tends to increase how much a person will spend overall or will encourage them to buy a higher-priced item to get the free gift. For example, if a consumer is purchasing $61 worth of products, they might buy another item for $14 so they can receive the free gift that comes with a $75 purchase.

  1. They encourage repeat purchases

Many GWPs are samples or altered version of another product. This gets your customers to try—and love—additional products that you offer. So, they’re more likely to come back to you to purchase a full-size or additional product after testing out the gift, encouraging repeat purchases, and ultimately boosting loyalty. This is a tried-and-true method that works particularly well when testing out new products prior to launch.


A gift-with-purchase is a great way to grow your sales and build customer loyalty. Remember, everyone loves free items—especially if they provide added value and make the customer feel special. Vernon offers a huge array of items for every business and client that are ideal for your next GWP promotion. Remember to include your company name, logo, and your branding to increase the effectiveness of your promotion long after the campaign ends.