One of the proven strategies to increase average order value, conversion rates, and customer loyalty are free gifts. For example, you can give away a free product when a customer spends $100 or when he/she buys a specific product.
The problem comes when you want to implement this offering into your Shopify store. There is, unfortunately, no native and simple built-in solution on the platform so you’ll have to improvise a bit. Basically, there are three solutions to how to do this.
1. Combination of Discount Code and User Action
The closest to a free gift is the automatic discount code of “Buy X get Y” type. That will basically make the gift product priced $0 without a need of entering any discount coupon manually. The biggest problem of this approach is that customer needs to add the gift to the cart prior to going to the checkout. It’s not added automatically!
1.1 Automatic Discount Setup
In order to set it to follow the steps below:
- Go to your store admin > Discounts > Create discount > Automatic discount
- Enter the discount name (i.e. “Free Gift over $100”). That is also the coupon name that will appear during the checkout so rather use something shorter and clearer
- Select type “Buy X get Y”
- Set your gifting rules in the “Customer buys” section
- To simulate the rule “Buy product X get a free gift” select “Minimum quantity of items”, set it to 1, and select one or more products which customer needs to buy in order to get the free gift which you will specify in the next step
- To simulate the rule “Spend $X (store-wide or in specific a collection) get a free gift” select “Minimum purchase amount”, set the amount, and select a specific collection where the customer needs to make the spend. If you would like to offer it store-wide simply select the collection “All Products” (you may need to create it first in case it doesn’t exist)
- Select your free gift product in the “Customer gets” section and set the “At a discount value” to “Free”.
- In the last step, you can also limit the maximum uses of this discount per order in case you would like the customer to get only 1 gift, for example
- Create the automatic discount by clicking on the “Save discount” button
Both cases are also visible on the screenshot below.
Please keep in mind you can have only one automatic discount active at a time. So it’s unfortunately not possible to create gift tiers like spend $100 get X, spend $200 get Y. That’s possible only using the solutions explained further.
1.2 Ask Customer to Add the Free Gift to the Cart
The biggest hurdle of this approach is the fact that it requires a customer action. The discount won’t add the free product to the customer’s cart automatically. The customer needs to do it manually prior to entering the checkout process.
The best way to make sure the customer adds the product to the cart which is priced at full price at that moment is using some visible messaging on your store. For example, pop-ups, banners, notifications, etc. saying something like “Spend $100 and get a free Adidas Backpack (add it to cart prior checkout)”.
This can be done either manually if your theme has any real estate for that or you can use some third-party app like the Quick Announcement Bar which is free and looks great. It can look for example like this.
1.3 How it Will Look in the Cart and Checkout
Once the customer meets the minimum requirements and adds the free gift to the cart, he/she is ready to finish the purchase. Some themes (like Debut in our case) are even able to apply the automatic discount on the cart page (i.e. your-store.com/cart) so the customer sees immediately the product is for free.
After the customer continues to checkout this is how it will look. As you can see, the discount code field is still available so customers can add either a gift card or additional discount coupon code.
Overall the biggest advantage of this solution is that it doesn’t require any custom functionality or third-party app installed. It uses only the Shopify native features and every merchant can set it up without any coding knowledge.
Obviously, the biggest drawback is the flow when a customer needs to add the gift product to the cart before continuing to the checkout. There is nothing worse than upsetting customers who are expecting a free gift but won’t get any.
2. Third-party Gifting Apps
Clearly, the first solution has a major challenge and that’s why several app developers decided to create a more appropriate solution. Each app has some advantages and disadvantages and there is really no perfect solution to free gifts on Shopify.
2.1 Gift Box
Gift Box is designed to be really simple for gift management and really clean for the customers. The whole user experience is quite slick. You can offer several gift tiers (up to 10) via the responsive pop-up. And it covers all major requirements like BOGO, Buy X Get Y, Spend $X Get Y, gift selection, collection targeting, etc.
The free gift is added automatically to the checkout (not cart) via a custom draft order. Discount codes can be entered via the Gift Box pop-up directly.
The app used to be a bit unreliable and rarely missed the free gift but that has been significantly improved using the Edit Order API. So even if the selected gift is not added during the checkout, it’s likely to be added post-checkout.
Overall Gift Box has a current rating of ⭐ 4.8 and you can take advantage of the 7-day free trial. The subscription starts at $29.99 per month.
Disclaimer: Gift Box is actually developed by Digismoothie.
2.2 Free Gifts by Secomapp
Free Gifts by Secomapp is the “oldest” gifting app on the Shopify App Store. It has over 600 reviews that are mostly positive. It offers even more customization and gift settings than Gift Box but it’s also a bit complex and some merchants may have difficulties when setting it up.
The gift has to be added manually to the cart and the standard Shopify checkout is used. That means customers can use standard discount codes during checkout. The disadvantage is that the free gift is discounted via a custom product variant that is created by the app. That means more products in the store catalog and sometimes customers are able to ”purchase” the free gifts for $0.
Overall Free Gift by Secomapp has a current rating of ⭐ 4.6 and you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial. The subscription starts at $29.99 per month.
2.3 Sales Motivator
The last gifting app (yes, they are only 3!) from the App Store is called Sales Motivator. Layout-wise it is very similar to Gift Box except the design and user interface are a bit complex.
It is using the same logic as Free Gifts by Secomapp so the gift products are discounted via custom product variant and they have to be added to the cart manually.
Overall Sales Motivator has a current rating of ⭐ 4.5 and you can take advantage of the 7-day free trial. The subscription starts at $14.99 per month.
Alternatively, you can also use some of the upsell apps and create an “upsell” with a 100% discount but the flow of adding a free upsell is quite odd and we wouldn’t recommend it.
3. Custom Development
If none of the previous two solutions works for your business the last chance is to build the “free gift with purchase” solution via an external developer. This will be definitely the most expensive but also could be the most tailored and suitable.
Obviously, the price will depend on whether you need just a simple rule like “When customers spend $100 automatically add product X to the cart” with a combination of an automatic discount. Or you are looking for proper gift management including admin interface, reporting, etc.
Finding a solid and reliable developer (or development company) is a difficult process but you can start on the Shopify Experts site.
Conclusion – What is the Best Solution
The whole gifting space on the Shopify platform is extremely challenging. The reason there is no native feature to do this and third-party developers are forced to do crazy workarounds because discount codes can’t be stacked and the only one can be used per order.
Thanks to the limitations likely no solution will be 100% perfect and you need compromise. Either in terms of functionality or reliability.