Those who are familiar with Biblical doctrines have undoubtedly encountered the saying; “It is better to give than to receive.” This is just as true today as it was some 2,000 years ago. What’s more, when we give, we tend to receive, often even without asking.
This is due to a social psychology phenomenon known as the reciprocity principle. It’s basic human nature to want to help those who have helped us.
When you think this through to its logical conclusion, it’s pretty easy to see how the combination of ecommerce and the reciprocity principle can be a powerful tool.
Giving customers a free gift, samples, or even well considered advice can trigger a desire within them to buy from you. Here are some examples.
An Unexpected Surprise
Along with the emergence of the unboxing video as a “thing”, has come the opportunity to attract more customers to your brand. When one of your shoppers opens a package and finds a free gift they weren’t expecting a couple of things happen.
All who see the video on social media will share their delight. But even if they don’t post, you’ll probably trigger another purchase—possibly even of the item you gave them for free.
Free Trial Periods
There’s a reason streaming services like HBO and Showtime offer free trial periods. Yes, they’re betting you’ll like the service so much you’ll subscribe. However, if they don’t give you a chance to check it out for free, you might never be moved to do so; even if you are way curious about the Game of Thrones ending.
Giving your best customers discounts, free shipping, and other perks keeps them coming back to you for more. If you’re considering how to sell an ebook online with a platform like Shopify, you can offer sneak peeks of chapters from upcoming titles, Q&A chats with authors, advance notice of new releases and a wide variety of additional perks.
The idea is to give your best customers the feeling they are both valued and important. Framed as privileges, these enticements also give those shoppersa sense of belonging, which makes them want to interact with you and the community you’ve gathered more.
Buy One Get One Free
It’s remarkable how many people will take you up on this offer, even if they don’t need the second item. Just the idea of getting something free is enough to move them to make the purchase.
Transactions don’t have to be monetary to have value for both parties. Offering free advice, tips and tricks will be seen as a generous act on your part. If the advice is on point, it will also give them cause to view you as an expert, which will get them to subscribe to your blog and follow you on social media. Both actions add value to your business and can ultimately help you attract more customers.
People also feel good about doing business with people who give back. Take the example of TOMS Shoes. The company’s customer base appreciates the fact it gives an impoverished child a free pair of shoes every time they buy one for themselves.
These are just a few examples of how ecommerce and the reciprocity principle can serve you. The key is to create a feeling of debt within the customer and maintain it. So give, and give again, and give again. Jut make sure it’s something they can use by personalizing it as much as possible and make sure they know the gift came from you. It really is better to give than to receive.
And happily, when we give, we usually receive in return.