April 4, 2016
Making the offer of getting something for “free” is a retailer’s way to lure a shopper to make a purchase, provide their personal information, or sometimes even both. This is a common strategy that retailers use, especially with cosmetic products.
During a recent shopping trip I found myself at the make-up counter faced with this prospect. I was in the store on a Thursday night and everywhere I looked were signs for a “free gift with purchase of X dollars.” And if I spent even more, the items and value of the free gift increased.
It’s always feel good to get something for “free.” Especially cosmetic products, which have a very large mark-up compared to the cost to produce the item. Yet, “free” is not often truly free, there is typically a price to be paid. Last time, I mentioned the burden of free items, taking up space and increasing clutter in the home.
Free sometimes comes with a different price, time and anonymity. The advertisements for the “free gift” did not begin until the next day. But the saleswoman was willing to do me a favor, she could pre-sale the items, and I just had to return to the store the next day to pick up my goods. My immediate response was “no.” The last thing I wanted to do, was have to make a second trip to purchase my products. Making two trips, means double the time, gas, and wear and tear on the car, for something I paid for once.
Well that wasn’t a problem, the sales associate offered to mail me the products instead. All I had to do, was to give my name and address. Again I said “no.” Now, I would have to give up my anonymity to receive my goods. This opens the door to future marketing mailers to my place of residence.
The sales associate was baffled as to why I kept turning down her attempts to help me gain the free gift. Finally she asked, why? My reply? Because I value my time and my anonymity more than receiving a bunch of products I never went into the store intending to purchase.
In the past, I have rarely found the free gift for make-up useful. Sure, one or two items in the bag I may already use or like, but more often than not, the bulk of that free gift sits unused until I finally manage to toss it out.
I may have turned down the free gift, but I managed to walk away with the products I wanted, at the time I wanted them. With no second trip to the store, and keeping my information, private.
Do free gifts tempt you to purchase and/or return to a retailer?