Offer a freebie, or simply kiss!

Three days before World Cup cricket semi-final, I went to buy a new LCD TV. City: Bangalore. Store: Ezone.

I searched, but couldn’t get anything within my budget. So, I hopped into another shop, couple of minutes away, in the same lane: Girias.

I found the LCD I wanted, and completed the required formalities for purchasing it in installments. With my credit card charged, I now waited for the final invoice, impatient to leave. The person from behind the cash counter approached me. Smiling, he told me that they had a special promo on. Called ‘Sixer’, I had to hit a ‘dice’ with a cricket bat. Depending on the digit I got, I’d get a freebie. There were in fact six of them, each one linked to a digit. Obviously, the most expensive – a premium dinner set – was linked to digit ‘six’!

Amused, I picked up the bat and hit the dice. To my surprise, I’d hit a ‘six’!

Ten minutes later, I walked out of the store, clutching the dinner set and the LCD.

The experience left me delighted. For two reasons:  I got the LCD I wanted. Also, I got a premium dinner set worth Rs.2,400/- most unexpectedly! Yes, most unexpectedly!

Suddenly, my impression about Girias had changed. From being just another store, it had acquired a meaning. It was now a nice store, with decent people and honest approach. The store could have easily avoided offering me the chance to win the dinner set. After all, it left the store poorer by a couple of thousand rupees.

Because,

  1. I had absolutely no inkling of the offer.
  2. I didn’t step into Girias in response to the offer. I’d have bought, offer or no offer.

Yet, the store chose to give me the offer.

 

I want to spend some time debating the merits and demerits of Girias approach.

 

If I were owner of Girias, I’d probably fire the guy who chose to remind me about the offer.

“Unnecessary expense,” I’d have screamed. “Don’t you know how little our margins are?”

 

If I were the guy at the store who reminded the customer of the offer, I’d have defended myself.

“I’ve made the customer feel good.

“He’ll tell about the offer to others. That’s free advertising. And, who knows, it may even get us an additional sale.

“Moreover, were the customer to learn about the offer sometime later, he’d have returned belligerent, ready to strangle everyone in the store! All this for a few hundred rupees. Such a story would have surely given us a bad name.”

 

Satya vachan.

 

Stop for a moment, and think like a customer – what do you expect from the store when you go shopping?

A good experience. Right?

What is a good experience?

Helpful, knowledgeable and courteous staff.

Honest, transparent approach, with nothing hidden.

A good deal.

And, something extra thrown in?

The last one – ‘something extra’ – is like a meetha paan after a sumptuous meal. Somewhat akin to a little parting kiss! It makes the experience memorable, leaving you smiling inside.

When was the last time you had such a shopping experience where you left ‘smiling inside’? Please do share: I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks!

6 Comments

  1. Raj Bhatia said:

    Thanks Navneet for sharing your wonderful shopping experience and the learning’s as well – avoid exclusive brand outlets!
    Regards
    Raj

    June 16, 2011
  2. Raj Bhatia said:

    Manu, I really love your story. I hope marketers can pay attention to it and learn.
    Regards
    Raj

    June 16, 2011
  3. Raj Bhatia said:

    Shiv,
    Not having a story to tell about a great shopping experience simply means that there aren’t too many such experiences to have. Brands seem to be busy doing ‘smart’ things, but forgetting to kiss!
    Regards,
    Raj

    June 16, 2011
  4. Shiv said:

    Great article sir 🙂 Cant remember the last time i had an experience like this with a store but i did have a brilliant experience with a coolie at a railway platform a few days ago who just with his sincerity and way of speaking made me have just a great experience that i paid him 200 rs extra.

    June 15, 2011
  5. Manu said:

    Nice, thanks for sharing. I usually have this smiling experience whenever I have a meal in any ITC hotel. They actually tell you if you have over-ordered ! try complaining about a meal, you will get free desert, apology email for weeks ,..till u respond.

    June 15, 2011
  6. Navneet Bakshi said:

    Very True Raj,

    Had a similar feeling when I got a chance to buy a Digital Camera for gifting to my sister. This was a great deal + great product + great price; experience for me.

    While I kept visiting Sony; I could find the required model from Kodak at Reliance Digital in Shipra Mall Ghaziabad. I got a better configuration + accessories like Tripod/Cover/Charger Absolutely free. Also I got a repeat voucher of 1000/- discount in case next purchase is greater than Rs. 5000..

    This even prompted me to go out of my way to check the ACs available with them in order to cash in the voucher..

    The other thing which I also have felt is probably organized retail chains do not provide great offers to their customers. I can vouch that a Multi brand retail store at preet vihar market would offer better deals than any mall in the near by area. Similarly for big bazaar does not offers the cheapest as they claim to be doing. Any whole sale market gives a 10 to 12% of discount in the bill value basis the MRP mentioned on the product

    June 11, 2011

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