Want to Wow Your eCommerce clients? Give Them Something for Free

By Nathan Segal


Quite often, when you go to an ecommerce site, the retailer will give away something for free, usually in the form of a coupon or a low-cost item to get you in the door and to entice you to purchase their products.

But what would happen if you gave away something with real value to the buyer, something that they would be willing to pay for? If you do this, you'll immediately begin to build trust What many business owners want, outside of making sales, is to to stand above their competition and one way to do that is to become a trusted authority in your niche.

The Email Marketing Method

There are several ways you can do this. One option is to create a blog, where you give away valuable information about your products and services and follow up every blog post with an email message.

Another option is to create an email couse, which teaches your potential customer some important things about your product or service. You could break down the course into as many as 30 lessons, one for each day of the month. Each lesson will build on the one before.

Among other things, this creates continuity for your business. If your content is valuable and engaging, this will make the customer hungry for more. Over time, you build both trust and authority. Also, with each message, you're leading the customer deeper and deeper into your sales funnel. By the time you get to the end of the course and ask for the order, you're much more likely to get it.

Offer the Very Best in Customer Service

One great method is to offer the very best in customer service, which is the motto of Zappo's. I've had the opportunity to hear CEO Tony Hsieh speak at a couple of different conferences. He spoke a great deal about the culture at Zappo's, which makes it a great place to work, but more importantly, he told a story about what one of the customer reps did when someone wanted to return a pair of shoes.

From what I recall, a pair of shoes was ordered for a person who was tragically killed in a car crash before they could receive the gift. This prompted the return request. This was allowed but the customer rep did something for the customer that made a huge impression. I don't recall if it was sending flowers or something else, but what happened is the customer told all their friends about it and the end result was a huge wave of support for Zappo's. As a result, they received many new customers.

The bottom line is this: People like to know that they are appreciated and when you, as a business person take time to not only serve your customers, but really show you care for them, you'll create customer loyalty far beyond the value of what you can gain from advertising.


One way of increasing your visiblity and that of your brand is to offer a contest. The trick here is to make sure that the offer matches your business. As an example, you don't want to offer an iPad if you sell motorcycles. It needs to be something that matches your business model.

An example of such a service is Contest Domination. According to the website, there are four major benefits: It's exceptionally viral, it's a way to get noticed and referred (and referrals are hugely important to any business), it allows you to engage your audience and reward influence. A fifth benefit is you can use the contest to build an email list. And it's this fifth point that's crucial, because you want to give yourself a way of staying in touch with everyone once the contest is over.

Refer the Customer to Your Competition

One unusual strategy of creating customer loyalty is when the customer looks at your product or service and you realize your competitor is actually a better fit. In this case it's wise to make the referral. By showing the customer you appreciate them more than actually making a sale, you build trust. This accomplishes several things: The customer knows you care, they know you're not only interested in the sale and this gesture is likely to create loyalty. Don't be surprised if you receive referrals as a result.


In this day and age, the challenge is not only to get customers, but to keep them over the course of time. As we've discussed, one way is to give customers something for free, whether in the form of a coupon, valuable knowledge about your product or service, contests, or even referring a potential customer to your competition.

The most important thing to build with your customer is their trust, based on genuine caring for their needs. The next step is to ensure you keep that. If you do, this will pay off for you (and your business) over the long-term.

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