Firstly, We love to buy stuff. Secondly, We love instructions, guides & how-to's manuals. Thirdly, I love to write, occasionally.
Let’s buy, free – the invisible price-tag.
There are promotions everywhere, and businesses affix “FREE” labels in every product they can find in an attempt to lure more consumers. I think that there’s nothing wrong with that, as the main idea for the business is to generate profit & achieve their targets.
The problem lies with the consumers.
Businesses are run by people. Since we are all consumers (Yes, don’t you buy groceries or anything?) – Businesses are simply consumers too.
As humans, we tend to be more attracted to freebies and giveaways. Some of us are impulse buyers, but I guess we have to look through the thin line of feasibility. Like what marketers always say, we don’t create the product. Rather, we create the demand – the need of the item through multiple promotional & sales channels.
Logically, the item (free or not) is factored into the pricing of the product.
There’s 3 types of free
1) FREE for life, – Probably, something physical. (You’ve already paid for it)
2) FREE TRIAL – you’re physically given credits, emotionally, you’re locked in to the service / product. (You’re going to pay for it soon, unless your heart tells you otherwise. But due to the nature of how we are being brought up – It’s not that hard getting the consumer to pay after the trial.)
3) Freemium – The current trend of monetization, the company will offer you it’s barely sufficient plan – hoping that you will upgrade to the paid tier. I would say, this is really a large step for the consumer, as you could test it’s usefulness through time.
So here are some questions to ask, before buying items with FREE labeled on it.
BEFORE YOU ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS – YOU NEED TO HAVE SELF REASONING SKILLS.
Which I believe it’s in all of our blood, so let’s begin!
Scenario: You go to a supermarket / store, and see an item you really want.. You really want to buy it, but you are on a tight budget. So here are some questions..
1) Do I need this product?
1a) No, drop it.
1b) Yes, why?
(Do the answer come straight to your head? Or are you trying to come out with a use for that? If your answer is the latter, refer to 1a)
2) Frequency – How many times would I use it anyway?
2a) Really often. (Move to Question 3)
2b) I’m not too sure, rarely, almost never? Or still thinking how to answer this question? Refer to 1a. Or you could simply rent or borrow it from someone.
3a) Have I tried looking for the product on another platform? Internet? or other stores down the road?
There’s so many group-buying (Groupon), Auction Sites (eBay / Qoo10), Forums & e-Retailers.
On top of that, there are many eCoupons & voucher codes available on the internet. (You can input those before you checkout)
3b) Is there another product that’s equally competitive by another manufacturer? The bang for the buck – Remember, it’s not always the cheaper the better, neither, the other way round.
Also, check the specifications (Such as the volume, quality, etc), not just the pricing.
3c) Are there any problems with the particular model or product you crave? Look it up on Amazon.com, popular forums, hit the Google search for reviews. *Bonus if you have a data plan on the go*
3d) Timing & Seasons – A PC show next month? Summer sales a few weeks down the road? New model in the upcoming weeks? Can I wait?
If you did not bother to try out any of the options above, refer to 1a.
4) The Free Factor
After the long decision process, that’s where you figure out whether the ‘Free’ price tag is worth abiding by.
Think ‘free’, the new ‘paid’.
4a) Is it worth buying the item with the ‘free’ item?
4b) If you do not need the ‘free’ item, what are you going to do with it? Where is it’s new home?
5) Shelf Life & Future Provisions
I guess it’s entirely logical if I’ve to write about the practically of the future and the afterlife of the item. (Before you even buy it,
yes, similar to Birth Planning)
5a) Do you have space to house the item? (Logistics)
5b) Is there any consequences after buying the item (No $ for dinner or rent, etc)
5c) How long do you expect the product to last anyway?
That’s where you decide on the quantity to purchase.
This is a long guide, but for all the impulse buyers. Here’s a toast to you.