You can’t give the store away and expect to turn a profit, can you? Sometimes you can. The secret to success with free merchandise is to provide the tools and services that make it easy for customers to do business with you – and make it impossible for them to imagine doing business with anyone else.
What do we mean by tools and services? Here are a few examples of brilliant branding moves that capitalize on the value of “free”:
A gym that gives away free personal training sessions to new members, teaching them how to use equipment safely, design a workout plan, and motivate themselves to get fit and active. (Most gyms now do this, but an athletic center could position itself ahead of the competition by offering a session every four or six months to all members to encourage them to stay enrolled and continue working out.)A credit card processing company that provides the machinery to swipe and process credit cards for free, and only charges per transaction.A business services company that offers free business cards (or other bonus materials) to regular customers.A health company that provides special offers of bonus products depending on the size of the purchase.
What do all of these free offers have in common? They invite customers to purchase more merchandise or spend more money, or they make it easy to get more from the service regardless of how much is spent. This type of promotion not only increases sales, but it also builds customer loyalty to your brand and makes it more likely that they’ll talk about you and send more customers your way by word of mouth.