The Importance of 'Free'
To illustrate the word's positive effect, he recounts an Amazon campaign that offered free shipping in several countries. Sales rose everywhere, except France. A quick investigation revealed the problem—instead of free shipping, the French offer had been switched to an ultra-low delivery charge of around 25 cents.
While the difference between $59.00 and $59.25 would seem too trivial to notice, it matters to online shoppers. And when Amazon corrected the French offer—making delivery truly free—an instant uptick in sales matched that observed in other countries.
Free strategies you might consider:
- Free shipping. As with Amazon's experience, one major retailer sees a significant boost from free shipping offers, even though its everyday shipping costs are very low. "What?" asks Dooley. "Consumers behave irrationally? Who knew?"
- Free returns. Zappos built its brand by eliminating risk from the return process—customers who don't worry about costs associated with returns are more likely to make a purchase.
- Free products or upgrades. "Is there an inexpensive companion product that most everyone will find useful?" he asks. "An upgrade, perhaps? A warranty extension?" Adding something that costs you little can add to the perception of value, and might be more effective than simply cutting the price of your product or service.
The Po!nt: No matter how sophisticated customers become, it seems they will still find freebies irresistible.
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