Freebies in the Retail Pop-up Strategy - Medallion Retail
Pop-up Retail

Freebies in the Retail Pop-up Strategy

POSTED ON: 10/19/17 Retail Pop-up Strategy

If your retail pop-up strategy does not include a parting gift for every visitor, you’re missing an important opportunity to extend the Shopper Moment.

Yes, shoppers are seeking experiences. And indeed, experiences do trump products. But a post-pop-up freebie is an exception to the rule. Because it is much more than just a freebie.

In this post-omnichannel world where shoppers’ interactions with brands must be imbued with emotion and authenticity, what was once just a giveaway tchotchke can become a continuation of the Shopper Moment. Instill meaning into your freebie, and you transform it into a reminder of a special time shared with your brand; a souvenir, a prize, a keepsake, a memento.

When shoppers get something for nothing, they demonstrate their appreciation in several conscious and subconscious ways. Build a gifting element into your retail pop-up strategy and watch how your generosity is rewarded.[bctt tweet=”Build a gifting element into your #retail #popup strategy and watch how your generosity is rewarded.” username=”MeetMrPopUp”]


The shopper will talk enthusiastically about her gift.

Getting customers to say nice things about your brand is, according to some research, as effective as traditional advertising. And it’s almost always cheaper. An article in the Journal of Marketing reported that shoppers who got an item for free talked about it 20% more. Getting a freebie related to the product prompted them to talk about it 15% more. Coupons and rebates didn’t make a difference.


Shoppers perceive getting more now as superior to a discount later.

In experiments conducted for a Journal of Marketing study, participants had a choice of getting 33% more coffee or 33% off the regular price of coffee. More people picked the former, even though the discount is a better deal in terms of how much the coffee costs per ounce.

The problem appears to be that we’re really bad at math when it comes to calculating percentages. Researchers found that people thought a 33% increase in quantity and a 33% percent discount were equivalent; in fact, the discount is equal to getting 50% more in terms of unit price.

Once shoppers ignore or miscalculate the numbers, they’re left with emotional factors to guide their decision-making. People perceive getting something free or extra as a gain. They view a discount as a reduction of the loss paid out of pocket. Important to remember when creating a retail pop-up strategy.


The shopper will buy more if there’s mystery involved.

Researchers from the University of Miami found that offering a free gift-with-purchase without specifying what the item is prompts people to buy – if they’re buying fun stuff. Researchers point to high-end makeup and perfume purchases, both of which use a lot of “free gift” promotions. These are what researchers call “affective” – that is, buying it makes the shopper happy or feel good about herself.


The shopper who receives a gift may feel obligated to buy something (or more).

A marketer who build giveaways into his/her retail marketing strategy find that promotional freebies can drive sales, even though logic would seem to dictate that retailers would lose money. The reason for this is what marketers call the reciprocity principle. In a much-cited 2005 study, Randy Garner, a professor of behavioral science at Sam Houston State University, wrote that feeling obligated to reciprocate a favor “can occur despite the fact that we may never have requested the favor in the first place.”

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