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Offer Discounts, or "free" in times of need.

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

  • Offering discounts or free resources, products or services is a great way to build customer loyalty and to keep your business afloat during uncertain times like the one we face as a global community.

  • According to a survey of over five thousand consumers conducted by Canadian review site Chick Advisor,84% of people said they want to see ads for free product sampling, and 58% said they like to see discounts for products they already like.

Human beings naturally gravitate towards free stuff. This is especially true of Americans. We love our "free", and when we cannot get something for nothing we go for the discounted, or value. Whatever term you are more comfortable with. Point being, value is what we do, as human beings.

This fact has become even clearer as we face down this COVID-19 global pandemic. We see it every day on the news, the blogs, etc. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat, millions of workers at home in limbo or downright laid off.

We all find ourselves in a position where we must plan for an uncertain economic future, at least in the short term. For this reason, folks are looking for ways to save money even more so than in the past. Companies ( the ones still in business) are finding out that one of the only paths to growth in this new Coronavirus-infused reality is to offer value.

According to a survey of 5,531 consumers conducted by the Canadian product review site Chick Advisor, consumers right now are overwhelmingly looking out for companies that offer discounts or free products and/or services. Taking a closer look at the results of this survey will help guide you through the process of sending out advertising to consumers in this time of need.

That being said, here is what the survey found.

1. Give them what they want… but lower the price

If you can drop your price or even give something away for free, you have people’s attention.

The results were very clear about this: 84% of people said they want to see ads for free product sampling, and 58% said they like to see discounts for products they already like. Consider where these people are coming from: Many of them have been laid off or had their salaries reduced — in fact, 84% of them said they’re concerned about their finances — so they’re looking for ways to buy things they enjoy without straining their budgets.

2. The magic discount number is 30%

The survey asked people: “What is the minimum discount you’d need to convince you to shop?”

The answer: Almost nobody wanted a 10% discount, a handful of people were fine with a 15% discount, and nearly a quarter of people were compelled by a 20% discount. But the big winner was a 30% discount — with nearly half of all respondents saying that the number would convince them to shop.

3. People really love free shipping

“If a brand you liked offered you an incentive to shop their online store for items you enjoy but aren’t necessities,” the survey asked, “which incentive would you need to see in order to make the purchase?”

Here’s how people ranked the incentives, from most to least desired:

  1. Free shipping with no (or very low) minimum spend

  2. Flat discount on entire purchase

  3. High-value gift with purchase

  4. “Spend more, save more” (with a higher discount for bigger purchases)

4. Now’s a good time to get consumer feedback

Lots of people have time to spare, and they’re willing to give you some of it: 79% of people said they’d be happy to fill out a brand’s online survey so long as they have the time. In fact, you might even get overwhelmed with responses. A few weeks ago, Seamless sent out an invitation to fill out its survey in exchange for a $5 Amazon gift card, and the response was so strong that many people couldn’t access the survey.

Little incentives like that $5 card might drive more responses, but it isn’t actually necessary, according to the Chick Advisor survey. Only 12% of people said they needed an incentive in order to give their feedback.

5. Reach people where they are.

In the survey, most people said they don’t mind seeing advertising on television, online, in social media, or on radio. So if that’s where you were reaching consumers before, it’s a good place to continue.

One big potential change: If you weren’t producing videos, now's the time to start. Of people surveyed, 60% said that they don’t mind seeing video tutorials or other video content that tells a brand’s story.

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