“Free,” “Discount,” “Coupons,” and “50% off” are some of our favorite words … and they are yours too. It’s like music to our ears, or eyes, when we see a sign offering a massive discount where you can purchase the items you love at a marked down price. Don’t you just love that emotional high you get when you score something amazing for free? Well turns out, there is a deep psychology root as to why we do.

Let’s take a look like the most second most happiest place on Earth: Costco. Sure, Costco offers great bulk items and low prices, but what is the hugest draw to their store? Samples! It really is the highlight of the Costco experience and who doesn’t love walking around each station trying aged salami on whole grain crackers, or sweet kernel corn? Legend says that some people strategically plan their lunchtime during their Costco trip, making their rounds to each booth once or twice to equate a full meal. Another one says a man actually brought a woman there on a date.

It’s the power of samples. People think they are lucky enough to eat for free, which they are, but Costco is the one benefitting from this too. Studies have shown that samples increases sales by 2,000 percent and sways customers to purchase items they never intended to in the first place.

An effect of samples is it creates a sense of loyalty within the customers to the store. They give you a sample; therefore you should probably buy something. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, says, “Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct. If somebody does something for you…you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.” He also adds that whatever the sample you taste, you will feel a sudden craving for more it. That’s when you are converted into a sale as you put that box of frozen ravioli into your cart.

So with the power of “free,” how would you use this in your online marketing strategies? Offer discounts and samples directly on your website! With the Justuno app, you have access to a suite of tools in which customers can receive discounts just by “Liking” on Facebook, Tweeting, joining a mailing list, etc. It’s a fantastic way to grab their attention, grow your email list and convert sales. You can thanks to these Benchmark Email integrations. Try it with your Benchmark Email account for free!