How to Limit Samples in WooCommerce

How to Limit Samples in WooCommerce

It’s a little counter-intuitive, but sometimes the best way to increase sales is to give a few items away for free. This can be an excellent method for driving interest and engagement. However, you don’t want your WooCommerce store’s customers taking advantage of your freebies.

To get the best of both worlds, you can offer free samples but also add limits to them. This enables you to offer a nice perk for your customers, but also make sure you aren’t giving away too many items each month.

In this post, we’ll talk a little more about why you might want to limit samples in WooCommerce. Then we’ll show you how to set this feature up. Let’s get to work!

The Benefits of Free Samples

“Free” is a powerful word. Many studies both formal and informal have found that when items are offered for free, people pay attention and even change their buying habits.

This matters because one of the challenges of running an e-commerce store is trying to hook potential new customers. You need to convince visitors to your website to take the plunge, and give your products a try.

An example of free samples offers.
(click to zoom)

There are a lot of ways to do that, but offering free samples is one of the most effective options. By doing this, you can:

  • Grab people’s attention with your offer, and instill a feeling of urgency
  • Encourage visitors to try a product they might be uncertain about
  • Create a sense of reciprocity – you’ve given potential customers something, making them more likely to feel indebted and choose your store in the future (as long as your products are good!)
  • Help improve your brand’s visibility and make it stand out in people’s minds

When you add up all of those benefits, it’s easy to see why offering a few freebies can be well worth the added expense. Of course, that’s only the case if you can keep that expense fairly minimal.

Why It’s Important to Limit Your Free Samples

There’s a dark side to the power of free – it can induce people to act irrationally or selfishly. In other words, if you offer free samples, there’s a chance people might try to take advantage of that and get more free products than they really need.

Even if that’s not the case, it’s easy to accidentally overextend yourself through freebies. An unexpected surge in traffic to your store and uptick in the number of free samples requested could leave you short on inventory, or result in spending a lot more than you expected on items you’re not making a profit from.

So any time you offer products for free, it’s vital to set some limits. What’s more, you often can’t simply set per-customer restrictions. Offering one free item per customer stops individuals from taking advantage of the system, but does nothing to keep things under control if you get a much higher number of visitors than you were expecting.

That’s why we recommend setting ‘per month’ limits on your free samples as well. When used in combination with ‘per customer’ limits, this creates a robust system that ensures you won’t ever be surprised by how many free samples you’re responsible for providing.

How to Limit Samples in WooCommerce (In 2 Steps)

In an earlier post, we showed you how to offer free samples on your WooCommerce site. It’s an easy feature to set up, and it should only take you a few minutes. All you’ll need is our Advanced Coupons plugin:

The Advanced Coupons plugin.
Advanced Coupons has coupon features that will get more people to your store.

This solution provides you with all kinds of features for adding coupons and other offers to WooCommerce. This makes it simple to encourage customers to buy more via techniques like providing free samples.

Once that’s done, however, you still need to implement your restrictions. In the following two steps, we’ll show you how to limit samples in WooCommerce.

Step 1: Create your free sample offer

If you haven’t already, the first thing you’ll need to do is actually set up a free sample. Note that for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re assuming you already have both WooCommerce and Advanced Coupons installed and activated on your site.

Then go to WooCommerce > Coupons and create a new coupon:

Creating a new coupon.
(click to zoom)

You can start by creating a code and a description for your coupon. Then switch over to the Add Products tab:

Adding a product to the coupon.
(click to zoom)

Click on Add Product, and choose the item you want to give away for free. Set a quantity, which will most likely be “1”. Then choose Override price under Price/Discount, and enter “0” into the corresponding text field.

This is all you need to do, although you can continue to customize your coupon if you like. When you’re done, your free sample offer will be ready to go.

Step 2: Set up usage limits

At this point, the coupon you’ve created can be used indefinitely. You don’t want that, so it’s time to create some limits for your WooCommerce free samples.

To do that, click over to the Usage limits tab in the coupon editing screen:

The Usage Limits tab.
(click to zoom)

Here you have a couple of options. These include:

  • Usage limit per coupon: This is how many times the coupon can be used before it expires.
  • Usage limit per customer: This determines how many times a specific customer can use the coupon.
  • Reset usage count: Here, you can set your restrictions to reset after a certain amount of time.

To see how this works in action, let’s look at an example. In our store, we want each customer to be able to request one free sample. However, we also want to cap the total number of free samples available at 100 items per month.

To do that, we can enter the following values:

  • Usage limit per coupon: 100
  • Usage limit per customer: 1
  • Reset usage count: Every month

Here’s what that looks like in the coupon editor:

An example of set usage limits.
(click to zoom)

Now, up to 100 customers can get a single free sample. If 100 samples are requested before the month is up, the offer will expire and can no longer be used until the next month.

Of course, you can tweak these settings however you like. ‘Per user’ and ‘per coupon’ limits can be set to whatever you want, and usage counts can be reset every day, week, month, or year. This gives you a lot of flexibility, so you can determine exactly how many free samples you’re willing to offer.

Once you’re done customizing your coupon and its usage limits, don’t forget to publish it! Then, all you have to do is let your WooCommerce store’s customers know about your new free samples offer.

Conclusion

The e-commerce market is cluttered, and it can be hard to stand out. Whether your WooCommerce store is brand new or has been around for a while, you’re probably looking for ways to get the attention of more potential customers.

Offering free samples is an excellent way to do that. Plus, you can set up and limit samples in WooCommerce in just two steps:

  1. Create your free sample offer.
  2. Set up usage limits.

Do you have any questions about how to customize your WooCommerce free samples? Let us know in the comments section below!

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