Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gifts with Purchase - Do They Motivate You to Spend?

Gifts with purchase (GWP) were created to give you an extra reason to spend your money. Magically, they are offered at a spend level that's always just slightly over the amount you wish to spend, forcing you to buy another item to "earn" the gift (somewhat like free shipping). Have you ever noticed that? I call it sophisticated analytical modeling.

I used to take special note of GWPs, and I took advantage of as many as possible. That's one reason my house is a treasure trove of stuff. I've upped my game lately on giving it away. There have been times when I've taken 15 makeup bags to work to put near the printer with a "free" sign. At least they provide a delightful distraction in the five minutes it takes for all to be claimed.

I've noticed a couple of common strategies in the contents of GWPs. They all seem to have mini-mascaras. That tells me that mascaras are inexpensive to make. They often include skin care - skin care that's seldom targeted to my skin. Many have eye makeup remover (I do find those travel sizes useful). I'm delighted when there's more color than skin care in the gifts. Makeup brushes really excite me.

The makeup bags range from really cheap to really nice. I've been using a pretty gold Estée Lauder bag for over a year. I used to have a gorgeous, dark green Cole Haan one with a metallic closure, but it finally fell apart, and Cole Haan didn't make a replacement by the time mine died of ragged embarrassment.

Why am I bringing this up? I used to be lured by them (lured to spend) - and I will certainly enter the code to receive one when I am spending online anyhow - but I no longer allow myself to order/purchase "just one more thing" to earn them. I'd like to have back all the extra money I spent to get relatively useless gifts in the past. This is especially true of department store promotional events. If the tote attracts me, I'll spend enough to get it. If not? No way. I skipped the recent Camp Gorgeous summer straw bag. I must have five of them already. Plus, the contents were not exciting - a trend that is shared among all the stores in these days of austerity. Estée Lauder's gifts are often very nice. They are often worth the extra spend.

My most recent GWP splurge was for the Tarte Aqualillies tote bag. I really wanted it. Why? Because it was a pretty color. Seriously - not a good reason. Directly below is a photo of a Neiman Marcus bag I love. I even shared them (yes, I was given four - different stores, huge, multiple purchases) with my best friends. I'm still using mine to carry my laptop.

What about you? Do you like GWPs enough to spend that extra money to get them? Are you selective, depending on the contents of the gift? Do they tempt you? Have you spent more than you planned to earn the gift? Do you use the contents? Do you like it when you are given shade choices in GWPs, for example, warm vs. cool colors (I do)?

Who has the best gifts? I'd really like to hear your thoughts on that question, and I'll bet the PR reps who read my blog will too. Another question...some companies make a point of not gifting. They are "above" it. They wish to be known as ultra-prestige brands. Do you think that helps or hurts them?

Let's open this up. Why am I thinking about it today? I'm pondering a purchase, but know that if I buy now, there will be a gift in a week. That seems to be a pattern in my life.

Photos courtesy of Estée Lauder and Neiman Marcus

40 comments:

Sarita said...

I try hard not to be swayed by GWP's and have had SOME success not being swayed especially by the NM GWP bags and Saks GWP bags - they just don't seem "worth it". I do like the Nordstrom bags however but again, I try not to buy just for the GWP (if I can help it). I agree with you that mostly they are not worth it.

Nemo said...

NO!

Maureen@A Finer Beauty said...

Experience has taught me that I rarely use the products in the GWP bags. I will buy Estee Lauder if the bag contains sample (meaning small pots) of advanced night repair products. These I do use and tha sample sizes are perfect for travel. I have been disappointed with the eyeshadow (quality) and lip stick colours.

Suselew said...

I totally disregard them now. When I bought ELauder, I found that their brushes were sub-par quality and the items in the promo weren't all that exciting. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I ordered an item to get what I thought was a deluxe sample of a new hibiscus face serum from Chantecaille. What a joke. It was no bigger than what Chanel or Clarins hands out as free samples. That did it. I'm with you. If there is something to be had free when I'm ordering anyway, that's fine and dandy. If not, no thanks.

Adrienne said...

Unfortunately I do give in to these sometimes, against my better judgment. In general they are not worth very much, although occasionally I have found a good product. I hate the super high minimums for brands such as Guerlain during store events, and feel like they may as well just not offer it. Irrationally, though, I am annoyed when brands like Chanel don't bother to offer them!

I love your blog- thank you so much for doing it!

Anonymous said...

I stopped considering GWPs when I realized I was giving all the totes to the Goodwill. Samples have gotten smaller. I am no longer excited by the Nordstrom Annual Sale exclusives. Not great deals any longer. I do like gifts where there are color choices. It's the same with free shipping sometimes. When I have to add one more item to get free shipping I consider whether its just better to pay the shipping.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I am a fool for them. Armani beauty has had a nice one in the past. I was totally obsessed with Estee's Lily Pulitzer print bags this spring and I use them to store nail polishes. I like Estee's lipsticks in their samples. I've had a couple of NM ones but lately I feel like their samples have been lacking. SpaceNK seems like they have some nice ones but I don't have enough money to spend to earn them.

Eileen said...

I don't pay any attention to the GWP's. I get all the samples I need or want from the wonderful SA's who tend the cosmetic counters in some of our local stores. They're a great bunch of SA's who know the value of having customers try things. Even when I'm just playing and not particularly interested in buying, I'll often be asked if there is anything I'd like to sample.

AfricanOrchid said...

For me i tend to get those Camp Gorgeous bags or the Nordies beauty bags with samples if i decide to purchase something that i had on my "want" list. For example. i got the Neiman Marcus Camp Gorgeous stuff because i wanted to get the Amazon Lily fragrance from Nest. I also used a $50 gift card towards that purchase and that was all i bought, so it was worth it. Otherwise i tend to let most pass me by. I learned my lesson over the years. :-)

regina said...

great topic! I used to be way more swayed by GWPs - mainly from Estee Lauder and Lancome. I have definitely gotten some useful items from these throughout the years - like you, I really enjoy the travel sized makeup removers. I actually ended up getting a Lancome GWP this past weekend, but it was a purchase I planned on making, with a gift or otherwise. I purchased some Armani cosmetics earlier this year from NM (mainly because of your praise and beautiful swatches) and got a nice gift that included a full-size gloss.

Loved reading your opinion (as well as the opinions of other readers) on the topic! :)

CGirl said...

I never make a purchase just to get a gift. They aren't usually worth that much to me (from many years of experiences). I will purchase if there are things I need anyway or something I've been wanting for a while. I have held off on purchases for a couple of weeks if I knew a gwp was coming up. I also love the NM tote you featured (my mom has the navy and I have the pewter) and the pink from the gwp before it. I don't need any more though!

Deb said...

I used to seek out GWPs and had some great experiences. No more. The minimum purchase prices have gotten too high and the samples are getting smaller and smaller. I have a couple of eye cream samples from Chanel that are so small you can barely find the tube in a makeup bag. What's the point of that? You want me to try and then hopefully buy a very expensive serum or cream but the sample size is so small you can only get two or three uses out of it. Sorry, but that's not enough to evaluate a product. Most of the high end brands are especially stingy. And don't even get me started on the little packets of whatever that have only enough product for one use. Good for travel but it will never influence me to actually buy the full size. The beauty "events" with totes/bags,, etc have gotten to be a joke too. The last one I got from NM a few months ago was such a waste I actually laughed at the contents. The whole thing has gotten to be a joke.

Anonymous said...

I used to wait to purchase items from Lancome and Estee Lauder while they had the GWP events. I had a "shopping list" and it just made more sense to get a couple of free items. I really enjoy travel size mascaras and find them useful. Trying new things is also delightful. Most of the time now I just buy when I need/want specific products, but always scan the offers.

When Dior decided to stop their GWPs it was disappointing to say the least. It felt like the customer was all of the sudden "not worth it". Miniature 5-Couleur shadows, tiny lipsticks, cases, mirrors - come back! Most of it was given away, but still. After buying their products almost exclusively for a decade I ventured to other beauty counters as their change in brand identity didn't offer a lot in exchange. Guerlain has my heart now.

- Elena

Elena said...

GWP is a nice touch when you have the money to spend in a certain store and you get a little extra... you feel a bit special ... I, actually, didn't get that many GWP because usually I have to spend way more to get the gift...but sometimes the gift is really great (like now, on hqhair.com if you spend 65 pounds or more you get a macadamia travel kit, which I think is a really great gift) just I don't have the money to splurge and buy lots and lots of things just to get the freebie! I always think twice before buying something and most of the times I change my mind because I realize I don't need that particular thing...

JudithDM said...

Love Gifts with Purchase. IF I want to purchase something at the time they are great. Love givng the bag with samples to friends. However, I will not buy just to buy to get one. Personally, I can live without the fragrance samples. More interested in skin care and other items. So, I usually wait until a promotion comes along,why not? Barney's are fabulous, many more samples and very high end. Like you Charleston Girl, will not put another thing in my cart just to get one. And IF I return an item that I bought that comes with a GWP I always return that as well.

Bonnie J. Weissman said...

I used to buy nearly every time Lauder had a GWP, and then got over it, although like you, I have been swayed by the Lilly P bags this year. My daughter is a huge Lauder user, so I buy her Christmas and Bday beauty gifts during lavish GWPs (much of which I share with her). Nordys has the best ones during their anniversary sales. I am also spoiled in that there's a CCO (Lauder and EL-owned companies) and another outlet (Lancome and YSL) near our beach condo at the outlet center there. I especially like buying BB at CCO because I love her but hate her prices.

Melanie said...

I do not usually going in for them. I have used mostly Chanel products for more than a decade and, where I am, they do not do GWPs, so never an issue there. As it is, they give samples and, in some cases, quite generously. I agree with others: when I have given in, I rarely use what I've gotten. I can't believe, either, the astronomical amount that they want people to spend for them. I can remember when the Clinique bonus was for purchases over $15.00! Years ago, my sister used quite a bit of Lancôme and the SA had pencil sharpeners for $2.00, so that would always get her over the minimum. Gone are those days!

Paige said...

GWP events don't influence my decision unless I plan to buy a lot of items from that particular brand anyway. I use a lot of skincare items from Clinique particularly the Acne Solutions line, so when Clinique has a GWP event, I use that opportunity to stock up. I like that with Clinique's GWPs, they give us generous size of skincare samples and eye makeup remover. I have discovered some new skincare products from Clinique that I happened to like in the end when if not for these samples, I would have not even bothered to try them in the first place. I don't particularly care for the bags, mascaras, or eyeshadows from Clinique though. For these items I usually give them away to my mom or my friends/colleagues.

I am not as annoyed with brands that don't give out GWPs. If that's your policy, then it's fine with me. However, I'm more annoyed with those that offer GWPs that are little packets of skincare. Seriously, how would I know your skincare would work well for me if I simply use it 1-2 times!?

Anonymous said...

I'm easily lured and find a similar collection of this:that. This happened about 1 month ago: free shipping if you spend $75 -- my total was $74, I call the company, want the order for $1 less and shipping? No, they did not. They lost a sale but even worse, lost a customer. At the EL warehouse by ticket event they are selling these promotional bags/contents. And as I recall they were from two Christmas ago. Gee!

Anonymous said...

In the past I was swayed to buy additional products I didn't need in order to qualify for GWP. Now, if I'm planning to make a purchase from ELauder or Lancôme, I try to time it to the GWP giveaway, but don't but addl product just to qualify. Mostly, I use Guerlain and Chanel and do wish they offered GWP.

Lisa said...

I used to be quite a beast about GWP. Not so much anymore. Like you, most items were useless or went unused. In recent years all GWPs go to my neices, sisters. etc. These days the biggest joke is the Chanel GWP. It is always a chanel cosmetics zipper bag. Then they trhow in this empty bag the very same samples they throw in your bag anyway when you purchase. Silly. The one area I am still drawn in by a GWP is luxury skincare lines. My current weakness is Omorovicza. They give you deluxe samples of their skin care that are perfect for travel, or checking out products you haven't yet purchased. I get sucked in easily!!!! They have one going on right now that appears in your cart if you spend over $300 pluse the 15% code (June15) still worked yesterday. I'm such a sucker for skincare!

Anonymous said...

Like most of your readers (it seems), I have learned not to be swayed by the gifts. What I really look for and wait for most are the 20% and higher sales that many beauty websites offer. Friends & Family, beauty 'VIB' sales/offers, stuff like that. And I really, really appreciate it when thoughtful bloggers, such as you CG, mention website sales that aren't openly advertised. I feel the quality of GWPs has declined over the years and I'd rather just buy what I want and will use. My wish list is always ready when I hear of a discount. And even then I evaluate my emotional attachment to items I haven't yet purchased. But rest assured, there is ALWAYS some new limited edition release I'm anticipating...and I need to leave room in the budget for those because we all know 'limited edition' and 'discount' are two words never heard in the same sentence!

As always, thanks CG for stirring up some pleasant chatter. And thank you to all your readers. I enjoy the intelligent comments, opinions, and advice shared here.

Denise at aeiokid at comcast dot net

Anonymous said...

Burberry makeup do some nice GWP's here in the UK - I've had a couple of really useful plain black make-up bags I actually use, full size eye shadow and the dearest baby lipsticks and kabuki brush. I did have to spend a lot (and probably more than I would have without the GWP but the items were all worth it and the gifts really good quality. I can't think of any other range where the GWP tempts.
Susan

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy all Cle De Peau gifts with purchases. Sample sizes in cle de peau is very good sizes. You really can use it for quite a bit! Especially for me, since I love their skin care line and their makeup it helps to extend my products. For example a sample of a cleanser comes in 20 ml size. it lasts me at least for 2 weeks. Guerlain also has great gifts with purchase, but i am not very fond of their skincare line. Does not suit my skin.

Karin said...

I fall for GWP a lot. I try to stick within my preferred brands only, though not always. I'm a sucker for free shipping and mini freebies. I live on sample size mascaras and eye creams. I'm not too picky with either of these items and the sample sizes last me a long time. I've recently switched much of my beauty products over to Clarins. Their gifts with purchase have coincided with my needs so far ... what I find the least useful are the toners. They last forever and I have them building up in my drawer. Gifts from Sephora and Norstrom's are a nice way to try new things, though I hate perfume samples. I never like them and most of them border on nausea inducing. They are also the first thing I rid my magazines of.

mamavalveeta03 said...

I'm with you, CG, in that I used to buy cosmetics for the GWP...and then I realized that I was not using the weird colors that came with them, nor the plastic totes. I now only buy when there is something I NEED or a new color or product that I WANT. And I try to purchase when sites are offering their Friends and Family discount. Which is hard to wait for when you're a cosmetics junkie! I think that Tarte and Mally have some good kits, but I'm not really swayed by their GWPs. And you know how into Bobbi Brown I am, but they're "above" the GWP!!! Freebies are nice when you buy, and I find that when I have a good relationship with a SA, they always give me good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I like getting a GWP, if I'm going to buy products, I might as buy when
there is a promotion going on. I agree the samples are smaller, but I get to try things I may not have considered buying. I hate when they give me a card for $50.00 off designer sunglasses. I just got a call today from Saks they are having a promotion next week, have to spend $175.00 to get a bag with samples!
I don't need anything. Will pass on that. I would rather have a friends and family discount.

elyssadc said...

It totally depends on the brand. I use a lot of Lancome products, so I generally only buy when they have a GWP. I haven't had to buy eye makeup remover or mascara in YEARS thanks to them. And they've turned me on to a lot of new products that way. But I won't buy from brands I don't use just to get GWP. I wish Chanel did more of them. I've become a real sucker for the brand and would LOVE some samples to use for travel (which is another benefit to the GWP.)

Susan Audrey said...

I definitely will pay more attention to a sale if it comes with a goody. I recently made a special trip to Ulta to get a free tote bag in my favorite color. However, I don't usually spend *more* money to get a GWP, but I follow the ads and choose where to shop based on the extras available. These days, every penny counts!

Rachel Liane said...

I think that the Barney's bag event and burberry gift with purchase are the best! I was recently evaluating if I want to do the Barney's event again in the fall and even though I think the bag has gone downhill, I will still continue to purchase for it. In feb I received a bag with a bunch of stuff I don't use, but a full size mascara (this is currently the mascara I use daily, I fell in love with it) a huge deluxe sized sample of lotion that I still use every day, a mask that I loved and lipstick samples that actually swayed me to purchase. To me these items alone made the bag worth it. And every time burberry does a gwp it is always amazing. Other than these I don't really go for the gwp.

Claire said...

Burberry's has the best GWP nowadays! I've gotten 2 full-size eye shadows of very useful & flattering shades, 2 full size lipsticks of also v. on-trend shades, mini lipsticks, mini kabuki (which is also v. functional and soft), a nice makeup bag (waterproof type so I can bring it right up into the shower in the gym).

Another GWP I kept until now are the ones from Stila, I'm talking circa 1990-2000s when Stila was still the "it" brand: clutches with brush older in it, Stila cans. Of course, sadly, Stila went downhill from there.

Yet another GWP I kept was EL's Bronze Goddess, it has a nice palette with 2 blushes + 1 bronzer whose shades I enjoyed!

Others? Nope. Not anymore, like your readers, I've learned my lessons. Once I donated bags and bags of small mini samples & tote bags/makeup bags from NM, Nordies, EL, whathaveyou. I was a GWP junkie but not anymore.

Dollie Solanki said...

You are so lucky to have such wonderful GWPs in USA, on a spend that, for most brands, like EL or Lancome, is not that high. Here, in India, they ask you to spend a ridiculously high amount to get a GWP (usually the equivalent of $100-150 while in USA, u need to spend around $25 and above depending on the brand). Also, the gift here is nothin as nice as the ones you get there and usually consists of 2-3 teeny weeny skincare samples only. Hardly a motivation to spend big bucks!

If I see a GWP that I really like, I tell my sis-in-law who is in Portland to get it for me and send it whenever she or some friends are travelling. Like you, I too love the makeup remover included in that. Very convenient size for travel. And most of the bags are lovely too. So far I have lovely ones from Lancome, EL, Arden and Clinique.

If its not too much to ask of you, could you please send out a tweet whenever thrs a gwp hapenning? Id love to add burberry to my collection. Chanel never does gwps does it?

Virginie said...

Ouhhh, nice post, I have to catch up withl the comments, but now I am going to bed, just wanna say, that I was thinking to purchase the $225 minimum at Bergdorf Goodman, to get their clutch filled with better goodies than other department stores...Didn't do it yet. If I do, I'll get Tom Ford make up and brushes, but I don't really need them now!!! I'll come back on that one!!! But yeah, sometimes, I will do it, not when the GWP is ridiculously poor and bad!!!

teadivamuse said...

Hi CG,

I'm so over the GWP. The bags just pile up and I think they put in stuff that they have over-runs of (don't sell!). Sephora by far has the best system of rewarding customers. They track your spending for you and when you have enough points, they give you a # of options to choose from for FREE. Decent size samples of often best-selling desirable items. So guess who gets most of my cosmetics budget? of course, they are missing Chanel, le Metier, Armani and other posh lines but they now carry Dolce and Gabvana, Sunday Riley, Edward Bess.

Micki said...

Great topic! I used to be a sucker for GWP when I first got interested in beauty products.Like you I would get multiple bags from SA's who I had a good relationship with, or from multiple purchases. I know use many of them for grocery bags, a really nice one I got from Saks for my laptop (And I have a back-up). Last year I went on a big purge binge and my daughter-in-law and her mom were ecstatic to get 10+ to use for their weekly beach trips. The gift you get from the major stores are so bad now - coupons, little samples that are never big enough to really test. The only one I go for now is Barney's as they give full size samples, and color! Guerlain at Saks gives great makeup bags any time and some can actually be used as a clutch. The samples are sizable so I can really test a product.

Rosemary said...

When I was much younger and using Clinique, I always went for the GWP. When I became a Chanel girl in the late 90s, I stopped paying much attention to GWP. That said, I did go for the Saks tote bag last summer I believe it was. I like the bag itself, but the samples were pathetic. I won't do it again.

Great topic, CG!

Rosemary

Tatiana said...

I save up my skincare purchases for the twice a year beauty events at Barney's. I love my SAs at my local store and I love the sturdy, simple canvas bags they give as gifts. The only other time I spend is when Saks or Neimans has a tote bag and only if I like the tote bag. I do this because here in the Bay Area stores are not allowed to give you a bag unless they charge anywhere from 10 cents to 25 cents. So I save those totes and bring them along when shopping, so I don't have to pay for a bag. If you thing 25 cents a bag is nothing, add up all the shopping bags and grocery bags you usually accumulate during a year. It adds up over the year. Other than that, I've never been tempted by GWP events. The skincare and colors offered never seem to suit me.

angusmum1 said...

Something I do tend to do is participate in a couple of points cards systems and then shop when bonus points, gift cards etc are offered. I will admit that sometimes I spend more to reach the minimum or get an extra item. It depends, in Canada we have Beauty Botique Drug Stores in chains (select stores) so I can justify as I can use the points for luxuries, they carry Dior, Burberry Lancome etcx at these locations or use for milk or bandages, real sucker as I end up hoarding the points for special extra events then not being able to attend due to 1 day time frames, driving distances etc.. Currently I have over $500 in points for one store, keep for Christmas, bdays etc. I admit to being taken in by GWP but have started to really evaluate what they are, more likely to want free shipping and think might as well spend 2x as much as shipping cost, get somethinhg and not pay shipping. Not the most logical of thinking in some cases %)

AnneD said...

At the recent Camp Gorgeous event, I turned down the GWP. The SA said "are you sure?" and looked at me like I was crazy. I said I had a closet full of totes. Maybe the word will get around and they will come up with something different and better.

Like most of you I am rarely tempted.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy when brands that I like offer samples for me to select from (Thanks, Chanel!! and Giorgio Armani!!) It is fine for me to select zero samples or more.