Everyone loves a freebie! – Giving stuff away can be good for business

My old colleague John Ryan at Retail Week has posted a comment piece today about the value of freebies in retailing (link here for those of you that are subscribers http://www.retail-week.com/5038127.article)

For those that are not his argument is that, despite the recession, giving something away goes against a retailer’s aim to make money actually it is one of the cleverest moves you can make. He argues that you can walk down Regent Street and check your emails on the latest ipad for free in the Apple store and grab a coffee for free in the newly opened Nespresso store. Others are arguing that this is little different from offering food tasting in a supermarket.

But the point is that it is. Both Nespresso and Apple are aspirational brands that most shoppers want to be a part of whether they can afford to be or not. Giving the shopper a chance to experience that brand for free only heightens their desire even more.And I should know – it took me less than a week from my first trip into a Nespresso store to the purchase of my very own coffee pod machine even though I am not a massive coffee drinker. It may have been the substantially cheaper Nescafe Dolce Gusto version rather than the BMW equivalent but boy did I want the top of the range model after that experience.

Mind you it seems simple freebies still have their place too and that even the youngest of customers can be won over. Shopping in my local Thorntons last week my four year old son had only one thing on his mind: “Will the woman give me a free chocolate button again,” he asked sweetly.

Sadly she didn’t.

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