Aug 22, 2010

Pointers about Freebies

These little hedgehogs will be fired and glazed in bright colors. Some of these will be used for little gifts that I add to packages. I generally include a free gift for sales over $25, if I have something small on hand.  Including free gifts (also known as freebies)  is a touchy topic for online sellers. If you sell on Etsy, Zibbet or Artfire, you'll find plenty of sellers who include a free gift- whether a few beads, a bookmark or another small item. Other sellers feel that adding extra gifts for a sale just eats into their profits and should not be expected by buyers. 

One comment I've read in one of the many Etsy forum threads on the subject, is that sellers fear that buyers will be accustomed to extra gifts and freebies. I don't think buyers have gotten to that point, yet. While a few buyers might feel slighted if they get a freebie from one seller and not another, most realize this is an unexpected gift and don't expect it every time.

Adding a gift is something I do for sales over a certain dollar amount. Sellers need to determine whether it's worth their while to include one. I think it can be a good way to foster goodwill and make your shop a standout in the mind of your customer.

Some things to remember when including a free gift if you are an online seller:
  1. Don't include religious or political items in your package. They most likely will be unwanted and discarded. Your online business is not the place to make personal statements or proselytize.You never know if you're inadvertently insulting your buyer.
  2. Keep the weight of your free items to a minimum or be prepared to pay extra shipping for the extra weight of your gift. Buyers will resent paying for an item they didn't ask for and may not want.
  3. Don't send obviously used, broken or cast off items just to be able to say you include a free gift. What you send to a buyer says a lot about you and your business.
  4. Don't expect thanks for your free gift to a buyer. Remember, it was your choice to send the freebie, and don't take it personally if your buyer doesn't acknowledge it.
  5. Wrap your small item carefully or tape it to your invoice to guard against loss. I've had my gifts go missing because they were lost in the middle of a pile of packing peanuts. Live and learn.
  6. Don't include items that may cause allergic reactions; including (but not limited to) scented items, candy, food, herbs, flowers, etc.
There are lots of items to use for free gifts. I use small clay figures, handmade buttons, pendants or magnets. Often, these are things I've made in bulk specifically to add as gifts.   Here are some other  ideas.
  • Bookmarks with your original artwork, printed with your shop name and url.
  • A percent off coupon for your shop. You can print these easily on your home computer.
  • Small plastic bag with a few beads from your stash. If you sell these in your shop, add a note of the name or listing in case your buyers want more.
  • Stickers or magnets with your art and business name.
If you're a buyer and you get a free gift from your seller,your first thought when seeing you've gotten a freebie is often, "Sweet!".  Please remember that your seller made an extra effort to send you this little happy, and hopefully, it's appreciated.


  1. Very nice article. You made some very good points about giving freebies.

  2. Nice article! I am always at a loss on how to thank my customers with a freebie.