Thursday, March 27, 2008

Try and Buy

The "try and buy" policy has always made a lot of sense to me. A few years ago, knowing that I was (and still am!) a big proponent for satellite radio, an industry member wanted to pick my brain on how providers could attract more customers. My advice? Let people try the service for free for a month or two. It'll cost a pretty penny, but I'll bet a huge percentage of them would sign up after having become used to some of the neat features.

This instance is just one example of "trying and buying", but there are even simpler methods that exist: take active product demos in store or the ever-popular "get the first 3 months free" promotions, for example. But it's even evident in things like test driving cars, taste-testing wedding cake, and age-old return policies that let you bring something back if you "aren't satisfied".

As of late, I've seen some really, clear-cut evidence that getting a product into a customer's hands can not only sway someone toward a particular model or brand, but can also convince someone to buy something that he never would have purchased otherwise. This is especially true when it comes to the ever-growing gaming industry.

A female friend of mine is the last person I'd peg as a "gamer". Recently, she moved into a new place, and her boyfriend lent her his PlayStation 3 to use for entertainment until she got her cable TV and Internet set up. She figured "why not" and gave some game demos a whirl. A few weeks later, the PS3 is back at her boyfriend's place (to her dismay), and she's purchased her own Xbox 360 (after doing some research to find out which console would best suit her newly found "gaming" needs). I'm still blown away that the gal who often said guys who sat around and played video games were "dumb and lazy" is now battling her way through magical lands and dancing into her own revolution. Meanwhile, a colleague of mine had a Nintendo Wii at home on-loan from a friend for a couple of weeks. They played some games simply because it was there, but never would have thought to buy one. After bowling, golf, and a few rounds of tennis, a brand spanking new Wii has now found its home in his.

Of course not everyone will have access to a friend or family member that can lend him products to try out, nor will they see a gaming console (or other product) fall into their lap for a week. But if anything, this reinforces the fact that, not only should a person always be able to try something out before forking over dough to buy it; but we should never "knock it 'til we try it". You never know what might pique your interest.

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1 comment:

Jaybird said...

kind of like the game "Rock Band". As soon as you try it at a friends house you are hooked and have to go get your own copy.