Amazon’s drone deliveries may not see the light of the day anytime soon but value-added services from our favorite brands keep us going back to them over and over again. From the free toy inside a Happy Meal to the all-wheel drive on a Subaru, the little things can ever so easily set a brand apart from competition.
Many businesses that offer value-added services to their customers view these as a cost center. Whether a free car wash at your local gas station or free coffee at your corner store on the first of every month, value-adds are often just another expense on the long list of bills to be paid every month. However, not all value-adds are a drain on your pocket. Here’s a selection that will bring you direct returns on your investment while putting a smile on your customers’ faces at the same time.
1. Future purchase coupons.
In January of 2012, JC Penney decided to do away with discounts and coupons by introducing "fair and square" pricing. Prices were slashed by as much as 40 percent across the board and the weekly coupons that had become a JC Penney tradition were done away with. However, the move boomeranged pretty badly for the retailer. The first quarter results for the year showed a dip in sales of around 20 percent. Eventually, JC Penney realized that its users were too dependent on coupons to consider shopping without them, no matter what the tag prices and went back to the old game of cat and mouse coupons and discounts.
Dip into this deep psychological preference for coupons and you find a great deal by offering your customers a definite percentage off on their next purchase. Create a sense of urgency with limited period coupons. An attractive discount satisfies the customer’s deal-seeking behavior, while the quick repeat visit helps build customer loyalty for the business.
2 - Free Wi-Fi access.
One of my favorite things about Starbucks, besides the coffee, is the free Wi-Fi that I enjoy while sipping my favorite cuppa. More and more retailers jump onto the free WiFi bandwagon with every passing day. Why wouldn’t they? By downloading a simple hotspot management software you can allow users inside your establishment to access your existing Wi-Fi for free, without trespassing on your secure data.
A recent study showed that among stores that offer free Wi-Fi, 61 percent had customers spending longer periods of time in the store. Over half (50.1 percent) saw customers spend more money per visit compared to their pre-free Wi-Fi days. OnDeviceResaerch found that 74 percent of users appreciate getting targeted offers from retailers while they use free in-store Wi-Fi.
The lure of free Wi-Fi brings you more footfalls and higher sales and helps you know your customers better. When they login to your network, you capture key bits of data in exchange for free Internet access.
3. Free store pickup.
A huge reason for customers to prefer shopping at physical stores vis-à-vis online shopping is the added cost of shipping items to their doorstep. The compromise is for shoppers to order online but get their purchase at the store, without a delivery charge. According to Econsultancy, 80 percent of UK shoppers have used this option already, with 20 percent of them opting for it at least once a month. At Argos, a leading British retailer, nearly a third of their total sales for Q1 of 2012 come from this new breed of "click and collect" customers.
While it’s understandable that users love free store pickups thanks to the savings on shipping costs, this is a gold mine for retailers. Kathee Tesija from Target reveals that 35 percent of customers who shopped online in 2014 with the free store pickup option bought additional items when they came in to pick up their original purchase. Kohl’s found similar results with store pickups. Up to 40 percent of customers who picked up their orders from physical stores made additional purchases in-store. Shipping savings for the customer and additional sales for the retailer, what’s not to like here!
These are three of the easiest and simplest value-adds that you can offer your customers without spending half your annual budget. Why not implement them right away and reap the benefits?