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30 Gift with Purchase Ideas to Thank Your Customers

28 min read

What better way to show customers how much you value them than to send them a customer appreciation gift? Your competitors might try to win over customers with generic “thank you” emails. You, on the other hand, will go the extra mile. You will send them gifts that will leave a lasting impression and help in customer retention.

Implementing gift-with-purchase strategies for your business may lead to a higher customer lifetime value and increased levels of brand loyalty.

One of many great things about gifts with purchase is that there are so many creative and affordable options out there. Check out these 30 awesome customer gift ideas that can add a special touch to your customers’ shopping experiences!

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Inexpensive Free Gift Ideas for Your Customers

Exploring these customer gift ideas will help you come up with creative ways to surprise and delight customers after they make a purchase from you without breaking the bank.

Offer a Treat

Cookies, chocolates, and candy — sweet, customizable, and widely loved treats make for a fantastic customer thank-you gift. Most customers will appreciate a tin of freshly baked cookies along with their purchase. You can also customize the packaging to include a personalized message or your brand logo.

The only thing you have to look out for is food allergies. Try to avoid treats with common allergens, such as peanuts.

Write Personalized Thank-You Notes

A popular and extremely affordable gift option is to simply send a handwritten note to your customers. Make the message unique, personalized, and, most importantly, authentic. Use pen and paper, not a printed message. In today’s digital age, a handwritten note stands out.

Handwritten cards show your genuine appreciation for your customer’s business, and each card can be easily personalized with the customer’s name and a unique message. Except for your time, it costs next to nothing.

Customers might share a review if you add a handwritten note to the order (Image source: ByStephanieTara/Etsy)

Share Exclusive Discount Codes

Offering special discounts on future orders is an effective strategy to foster repeat orders and gently guide customers toward becoming returning buyers. By incentivizing them with exclusive savings and rewards, you not only encourage their loyalty but also create a sense of anticipation and excitement for their next purchase.

This approach not only strengthens customer relationships but also boosts customer satisfaction and ultimately contributes to the long-term success of your business.

Send Free Samples

Who doesn’t love freebies? Offer samples of your other products as a bonus for purchasing from your store. This is especially effective for cosmetics, fragrances, or food businesses looking to entice future purchases and provide clients with the opportunity to test more of your products.

Kissed By A Bee Organics offers customers to choose two samples as a gift with a purchase

Give Away Free Swag

Branded merchandise, such as custom-designed bookmarks, stickers, magnets, t-shirts, bags, notebooks, etc., can subtly remind customers of your brand long after their initial purchase.

You have the option to add your unique logo to your merch, which can help strengthen your brand identity and create a lasting impression on your audience. Alternatively, you may choose not to include a logo, allowing the design to speak for itself and appeal to a broader range of individuals. The decision is yours to make based on your brand strategy and target market.

Give Away a Free Product From Your Catalog

A surprise bonus product will excite your customers with an unexpected gift. Plus, it’s a cost-effective way to show gratitude to your customers.

One popular strategy is to give away an inexpensive but useful product from your product catalog. This product should be low-cost while still providing perceived value to the consumer. Also, make sure that it is related to the original purchase, for example, free socks with a pair of shoes.

Free products also help introduce a new product or upsell. They encourage customers to explore other products in your catalog, increasing the likelihood of future purchases.

Sephora sends free products with certain orders

Offer Surprise Upgrades

Win over customers by offering them a free upgrade to their existing purchase. This works particularly well if the upgrade is similar but better than their current purchase. Just ensure that you ask customers before making the upgrade — some might specifically want a lower-tier model.

Send Coupons to Local Businesses

Sending customers coupons to local businesses shows customers that you care about small businesses and demonstrates that you’re willing to personalize gifts for each customer.

Find a local business that can offer something related (but not competitive!) to your brand. Work out a deal with them where your customers can get a discount on future purchases.

Send a Birthday Gift

Sending customers gifts on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries can help you win customer loyalty and show that you appreciate your customers and remember them.

Remember that once you start sending birthday gifts, customers might expect them every year. So, pick something that is affordable enough for repeat gifting.

Starbucks offers birthday treats to its customers

Offer a Free Consultation

Valuable advice can be a customer gift idea as well, especially in industries known to be difficult to approach. If you sell clothes, for instance, you can offer a free style consultation. If you sell fitness equipment, you can offer a custom diet plan and workout routine. Reduce the hesitation of making the purchase by offering help using your product or service.

Unusual Gift With Purchase Ideas

Why not surprise your customers with out-of-the-box thank-you gifts? Whatever you choose, make sure you communicate your brand values when doing so.

Share a Curated Playlist

Design a playlist that reflects your brand’s personality and adds value for the customer. Share the playlist as a QR code on a note attached to the order.

Music has the power to evoke strong emotional connections and create brand associations. By carefully selecting songs that align with your brand’s values, messaging, and desired customer perception, you can create a playlist that not only entertains but also enhances the overall brand journey, leaving a memorable and positive impression on your customers.

This option works great not only for businesses in the music industry (obviously) but for other niches, too. For example, coffee shops, gyms, or clothing stores — customers can listen to the playlist while enjoying the product.

Users of the Nike Run Club App get access to their workout playlist

Gift an Experience

An experience — a spa package, tickets to a local event, etc. — is a great way to make yourself memorable. Ensure that the experience aligns with your brand and customer profile. So, when giving tickets to a metal concert to your 50-year-old female customers, ensure they are metal music enthusiasts.

Also, pick an experience that is easy to reach, has broad appeal, and doesn’t cost too much to dent your profitability.

Send a Custom Digital Art

Partner with a local artist to design digital art, wallpapers, or coloring pages that customers can download for free. This collaboration can also enhance your brand’s reputation.

The digital art could be inspired by your brand or products, showcasing an element of creativity and exclusivity that can only be found within your business. This customer gift idea is perfect for businesses in the fashion, beauty, or home decor industries.

Share Hand-Picked Recipes

If your business deals with food or wellness products, share your favorite recipes to demonstrate how customers can use your products in their everyday lives. This gift with purchase adds value to the customer’s shopping experience and promotes your products in a subtle yet effective way.

You can include the recipes as a small booklet or recipe cards or send them digitally via email.

Send Flowers

Although perishable, flowers are a universally liked gift item. They’re also mostly brand agnostic, i.e., you don’t have to worry whether they align with your brand. Plus, the visual spectacle of a bunch of free flowers makes for a good photo opportunity and the social shares that go with it.

Giving flowers to every customer is expensive, but if you pick the recipients (the most loyal customers, those with huge follower bases on social media) and the occasion (birthday, Women’s Day), flowers can do magic. But remember to pick non-allergic flowers for your gifts.

Make One Customer Feel Special

Instead of sending an ordinary gift to every customer; you can get a lot of social media mileage from making a single customer feel truly special. Pick a customer who has been exceptionally loyal to your brand, then make a gesture that goes far beyond a standard “gift.”

For example, Honda found out that one of its customers was about to hit 1 million miles in one of its cars. To make the customer feel special about this major milestone, Honda gave him a free new car and made a video about it.


Help Customers Learn Something

One of the best gifts you can give customers is the gift of learning. Perhaps you can put together a series of lessons to help them make the most of the purchase (such as a guitar store giving free music lesson CDs). Or perhaps you can offer them courses on topics that complement the purchase (such as a handicrafts store offering a free pottery class).

Gift a Low-Maintenance Potted Plant

A small potted plant makes for a great gift. Something low maintenance and long-lasting, such as a cactus, not only looks good but also emphasizes your “green” credentials. If your customers are eco-conscious, this can be an affordable and memorable customer gift idea.

Alternatively, send customers plant seeds or even small DIY growing kits (with seeds, soil, and a pot).

Customer Gift Ideas To Enhance Your Brand Voice

When you think of thank-you gift ideas, it’s important to keep your brand values in mind. When customers receive your gifts, they should be reminded of the type of company you are and the experience that comes with shopping with you.

Offer E-books

Educational content showcases your expertise and provides something of value to your customers.

E-books might not make an obvious choice for a gift, but for the right customer group, they can be a fantastic option. A relevant book not only shows that you understand the customer, but it will also stick with them for a long time, reminding them of your brand.

Furthermore, books have a brand of their own. Sending a non-fiction book that pioneers new ideas can get customers to think of your brand as “innovative” as well. For best results, send non-fiction and non-controversial books.

Learn more: How to Create and Sell an E-book

Send a Helpful Guide

A guide, apart from being a helpful gift, also positions your business as an industry leader. This is another type of educational content that provides value to customers and reinforces your brand’s expertise.

Consider creating guides on topics related to your products or services that can help customers make the most of their purchases. This will not only show them that you care about their experience but also solidify their perception of your business as a valuable resource.

Share Access to Webinars or Workshops

Exclusive access to webinars or online workshops magnifies your customers’ experience, engaging them long after their purchase. This client gift idea works well for businesses in the education or consulting industries, where customers can benefit from additional knowledge or skills related to your products or services.

You can also collaborate with industry experts to co-host these events and further enhance the value for your customers.

Create DIY Kits

Develop inexpensive DIY project kits to accompany your products, providing customers a fun and creative experience. This customer gift idea is perfect for businesses in the arts and crafts or home decor industries. It also adds value to your product and can encourage customers to make repeat purchases in order to complete their DIY project collection.

Even packaging can serve as a DIY kit — take it from Samsung. They introduced packaging that can be repurposed as cat furniture, shelves, and other common household items.

Samsung’s reusable packaging serves as a DIY kit

Share Local Products

Gifting customers local products (such as a locally sourced food item) works wonderfully well for two reasons:

  • It portrays your business as a “friend” to other local small businesses, thus improving your brand perception.
  • It shows customers that you care enough about them to personalize the gift per their location.

Partner up with a local business to offer these products. Your customers will appreciate them, as will local businesses.

Give Charitable Gifts

Invite customers to join in sponsoring a cause they care about, enhancing your brand’s social impact.

Making a charitable donation on behalf of the customer can work well as a client gift idea, especially if your customers are eco-conscious and philanthropically inclined. Just make sure that the charity is well-recognized and that there is sufficient proof of the donation.

Client Gift Ideas to Cultivate Long-Term Relationships

The following gifts with purchase express your appreciation, help build lasting relationships, and give customers a reason to return.

Add a Customer to a Loyalty Program

Reward customers for their loyalty by creating a point-based program where they can earn points with every purchase. You can also introduce a tiered loyalty program that offers exclusive gifts or free shipping to customers depending on how much they spend in your store. This will not only encourage customers to keep coming back but also make them feel appreciated and valued.

Here are some other ideas for effective loyalty programs to drive repeat purchases.

You can also heighten customer satisfaction by offering early access to new products or sales through exclusive loyalty programs.

Barnes & Noble have various perks for loyalty program members, including a free ebook each month

Throw a Party for Loyal Customers

Another way to make customers feel special is to throw a party or host a meetup. This works best if you have a lot of customers in the same location. Warm-up customers to the idea of a party by inviting them to an exclusive group first (for example, on Facebook). Once they’ve all gotten to know each other a bit, invite them out to a party.

It might be expensive, but it will be an experience your customers won’t forget. Plus, all the social media updates from it will do wonders for your word of mouth.

Offer Collaboration Opportunities

Collaborate with customers on designing, naming, or improving your products or services. This gives them a sense of ownership and fosters loyalty. It also provides valuable insights and feedback that can help improve your business.

This type of collaboration can be done through sending gifts in exchange for participating in surveys, focus groups, or even social media polls. For example, add a note with a QR code to a customer’s order. After they fill in a survey or poll, send them a digital product as a reward for their time.

Feature Customers on Social Media

Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, and your customers are no different. If you have a popular social channel, featuring your customers or their projects can be a great client gift idea. This tactic works best if the customer has uploaded a picture of your product or has already interacted with you on social media. It tells them — and your social media audience — that you’re listening.

Offer Referral Bonuses

Offer incentives for customers who refer their friends and family to your online store. This amplifies customer value within your business. You can offer discounts, free products, or even store credit to motivate customers to spread the word about your brand.

Referral bonuses not only bring in new customers but also strengthen customer loyalty as they feel like valued members of your brand’s community.

Jimmy Joy’s referral program

Create an Exclusive Group

How can you make your customers feel special? Simple: by creating an exclusive, invite-only group for your top customers. This can be something as simple as a private Facebook group. Offer deep discounts that are unavailable elsewhere to emphasize the exclusivity of the group.

How to Select Customer Thank-You Gifts

The trouble with thank-you gifts is figuring out what to send. You can’t choose something that’s too expensive, nor can you pick something that might be seen as worthless. You have to walk a thin line between price and practicality when selecting thank-you gift ideas.

A gift with purchase is usually something physical (if you sell physical products), useful, and related to your business in some capacity. It has a simple purpose: to thank customers for their orders. Whether the gift elicits a “wow” or “eh” will depend on the quality of the thank-you gift.

The Nordstrom site has a dedicated page that lists all gifts with purchase customers can get

There are a number of rules you must follow when selecting a free gift for a customer:

Gifts with Purchase Should Have Perceived Value

Above everything else, the gift must have perceived value. Even if it is inexpensive, it must fulfill a need or appear valuable to the customer.

Customer Gifts Should Be Useful

A good gift with purchase is usually one that serves some practical purpose. Souvenirs and trinkets that only take up space are easily forgotten. A useful thank-you gift will remind the customer of your business every time they use it.

Client Gifts Should Be Related to Your Business

A perfect client gift idea is related to the business in some way so that it reminds the customer of you. If you run a fashion store, select a fashion accessory, not a book on macroeconomics.

Free Gifts Should Fit Your Target Audience

When selecting gifts with purchase, keep your customer personas in mind. Ask yourself: what would someone from this demographic enjoy? For instance, if your target customers make over $200,000/year and live in a wealthy suburb, a cheap gift card to a discount store wouldn’t work.

Make demographics the centerpiece of your client gift idea selection process, and you’ll never go wrong.

Customer Gifts Should Be Easy to Store and Transport

No customer wants to deal with an unwanted gift that takes up too much storage space. Neither do you want to worry about the hassle of transporting a large gift. Always pick something that is small and easy to transport. Or, just go with digital products!

Gifts with Purchase Should Be Harmless

Lastly, a free gift shouldn’t trigger allergies, have dangerous, sharp edges, or pose a choking hazard to children. Can this client gift idea cause problems for anyone in my customer’s household (especially old people and children)? If the answer is “yes,” it’s better to pick something else.

How to Use Thank-You Gifts for Marketing

While the explicit purpose of a customer gift is to show that you care, it also has another motive: to market your online store. You certainly want customers to feel happy and appreciated, but it would also be nice if they were to recommend your store to their friends or share a word on social media.

Jo Malone London offers complimentary gift wrap as an added incentive

To use customer appreciation gifts as a marketing tactic, you need to keep a number of things in mind.

Gifts vs. Discounts

Using discounts and offers to maximize sales is an old hat in ecommerce. The question to ask is: how does a discount compare against a gift in terms of marketing impact?

To answer this question, you’ll have to consider two things:

  • How often you offer discounts: The perceived value of a discount depends on how frequently you offer it. If you have frequent sales and offers, customers might not be too enthusiastic about yet another discount, no matter how advantageous it is.
  • Discount value and conditions: A large discount with liberal terms might end up costing you more than a free gift. On the other hand, if the discount is too low with strict terms, customers might not be interested.

Interestingly, research in consumer psychology indicates that people prefer to get more rather than spend less. A free gift might have a higher perceived value since it gives them more.

Of course, this only applies if you’re actually telling customers that you’re giving them a gift. This brings us to the next point.

Explicit vs. Secret Gifts

Should you tell customers about the gift, or should you just send them a surprise?

There are pros and cons to each approach. Telling customers upfront might convince them to make a purchase, especially if they see the gift as a “deal.” At the same time, it robs you of the customer delight that comes with a surprise gift.

What approach you use will depend on what you hope to achieve with the gift. If your goal is to delight customers, build loyalty, and increase word of mouth (including social media), choose a surprise gift.

On the other hand, if you want to use gifts as an incentive to buy more, tell customers about it upfront. This approach is perfect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Therapy Notebooks uses “Buy Two, Get One Free” promo for Black Friday

Gifting to Some vs. Gifting to All Customers

Another dilemma is figuring out who to gift — some customers or all of them.

Gifting everyone has the obvious cost disadvantage. You might also not benefit as much from gifting to people who are inactive on social media or unlikely to recommend you to friends.

At the same time, gifting only a few customers might make them feel special — at the cost of other customers. Customer B might wonder why Customer A got a free gift and they didn’t. This can create resentment for your brand — the exact opposite purpose of gifting.

A better approach is to use the Pareto Principle and target your top 20% best customers. These are either customers who are active on social media or correspond to your ideal customer profile. Since you want more such customers, targeting them can yield better results.

Maximize the Impact of Gifting

To get the most out of your free thank-you gifts, keep in mind:

  • Customers buy more when there is a “mystery” involved in the purchase, as one University of Miami study discovered. Keeping the gift a secret can help in this regard.
  • Customers who receive something free and unexpected are driven to shop more, according to one study. Thus, it might be worth it to lose money upfront on a sale by giving a free gift. You can make up for it with repeat purchases.
  • Giving away a freebie creates immediate word of mouth, according to the article in the Journal of Marketing. That is especially true if the gift is the customer’s first experience with your brand. Thus, besides your top customers, you can also target first-time buyers when giving away free gifts with purchases to create a positive first impression.
  • Focus on gifting customers who are active on social media or have a history of sharing your stuff. Prompt them — gently — to upload pictures with their gifts on their favorite social network.
  • Consider donating to charity on behalf of the customer instead of giving away a gift. Research suggests that charity donations work better than a practical gift, especially when the original purchase is frivolous in nature.

So there you have it  30 exceptional thank-you gift ideas you can use to market your online store. Use them wisely, as gift costs can add up quickly. At the same time, consider the long-term impact of a gift on your future sales.


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About the author

Jesse is the Marketing Manager at Ecwid and has been in e-commerce and internet marketing since 2006. He has experience with PPC, SEO, conversion optimization and loves to work with entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.

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