Free – The price of free.

Free – The price of free.

Free is not another price and is not a zero price either. 

Interestingly, you cannot buy something for free.  We get an emotional charge when something is free.  It is very hard to truly comprehend, but with free there is no loss. 

With every transaction there is an upside and a downside.  There is no downside with free, because there is no financial loss.  If a free purchase was a bad decision for instance, a poor choice perhaps – it doesn’t matter.

The gap between zero price (Free) and 1p is huge.  Would you use Google search if they charged you 1p per search or even 1/2p?  Free can make us behave in unpredictable ways.  Take the following scenario.

Choice from the two offers below, which you would like to take.  Don’t spend too long thinking about it, let your emotions or gut instinct drive the decision.

1. Would you prefer to receive a £10 Amazon Voucher for Free, or a £20 Amazon voucher for £7?

Most people would choose the £10 Voucher in this scenario.  Now let us add £1 to each.  

2. Would you prefer to receive a £10 Amazon Voucher for £1 or a £20 Amazon voucher for £8?

Interestingly, many people now see the £20 voucher as a better deal (which it is of course).  This demonstrates how ‘Free’ can distort our perspective of what is and isn’t a great deal.

How can you use free to steer customers in a particular direction in store?  Share your examples below.



Written by

Corin Birchall is a Retail Sales & Marketing Consultant and founder of “Kerching Retail - helping to make your till ring”. His consultancy works throughout the UK and Europe. Corin is an active writer, coach and public speaker, helping to develop and grow a wide range of businesses & business leaders from Leisure and Retail sectors

1 Comments to “Free – The price of free.”

  1. Appreciated the share!

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