A gift with purchase is a familiar marketing technique to many. It is meant to encourage people to purchase items, in order to receive a free gift. This advertising technique is used in many different industries. It’s quite familiar to people who routinely shop for cosmetics; most major cosmetics lines in department stores have annual gift with purchase deals. You usually have to spend a set amount in order to get your gift, which can vary depending upon the cosmetic line. For instance, you might spend $20-50 US Dollars (USD) on a product to receive a cosmetics bag, sample sizes of moisturizer and a couple of shades of lipstick in smaller sizes.
Other companies, like Sephora, always offer free samples with Internet or catalog purchase. Sample sizes are very small, but you usually have about 10-20 choices of samples and get to select three. It can be a nice way to try out products you might be interested in buying at a future date, but you can’t always depend upon the company offering a sample of the product in which you’re most interested.
Another familiar marketing technique occurs in many infomercials. In addition to purchasing whatever the infomercial is selling, you may be given the opportunity to receive several free “gifts.” These are, in fact, not entirely free. You usually must pay shipping and handling for any extra “gifts” you receive, so they don’t constitute quite the same gift with purchase as one that would be available if you were purchasing cosmetics. Sometimes handling fees on these gifts can be very high, so you may want to weigh whether the fees are worth the gift.
Instead of offering a gift with purchase, a retail store might offer a reduced rate on other items. For instance, department stores frequently have large stuffed animals they’ll sell at a reduced price if you spend a certain amount of money during the winter holidays. Quality on these varies. Also since you must pay for them, they don’t really constitute a gift.
Other gifts with purchase don’t depend upon a purchase, but might depend upon your time. For instance, some auto retailers offer gifts to people who test drive their cars, or you may be offered free trips to places, which are interested in selling you time-shares or real estate. In most cases, you won’t just walk out with your gift that easily. You’ll have to listen to a sales pitch; in the case of time-shares this can take several hours or a whole day. The auto retailer will definitely try to sell you a car; so do be certain the value of the gift is worth your time.
A twist on the gift with purchase is the buy one, get one free deal, that many different stores may offer at different times of the year. Prices usually reflect mark-up, so that the value of such a gift is minimized by higher prices. This may matter little if the items you purchase are still relatively inexpensive.
The types of gift with purchase that you should attempt to avoid are usually things like free gifts from auto retailers, time-share dealers or health clubs. Unless you want to listen to a sales pitch, these are not true gifts. For example a free month’s membership at a gym as a gift is usually an invitation to hear a hard sell sales pitch on joining the gym, and there are sometimes hidden fees associated with the supposedly “free” month. The gift with purchase that makes most sense is when you are already planning to purchase something, like cosmetics, a massage, or the like. In other cases, the free gift is simply not worth the purchase, and you still are not getting something for nothing since a purchase is required.