Bonji Hot Takes: Volume 10
Strategy: Give It Away (Razor-Blade Business Model)
Hi all, welcome back to Bonji Hot Takes, where we address some of the opinions and knowledge that we've picked up along our journey in the industry. We are here to offer assistance, stories, and hopefully some value!
Giving away anything for free is generally not even a thought in many business owners' minds. There is this idea that if we want to offer the customers a good deal, we should implement discounts into our marketing strategy. Although discounts are an awesome way to get new customers in the door, they can also harm your perceived value if done improperly. In the realm of customer psychology, there are clear similarities and differences when something is discounted compared to given away for free. When something is discounted, customers sometimes feel like the business is taking on an economic strategy. The products may be cheaply made and it can harm your business's integrity. However, the customer still gets a boost of joy when something is discounted, which can be a powerful tool. As for giving an item away for free, the customer still gets a bolt of happiness, but there is more to it than that. They end up feeling a personal connection and think of the business as being a good person rather than just offering a deal. This all may sound like mumbo-jumbo now, so let's dive into some examples and show you how giving products away can be extremely beneficial to your brand and economics. It is always good to be conscious of your costs, but sometimes giving away a product or good can stem a budding relationship with the customer and further economic value. Take Gillette Razors for example. Gillette has a long history in business, but their strategy has developed into a major business model that many companies can learn from. Coined the razor-blade business model, or the leader-loss marketing strategy, Gillette gives away a free razor handle and singular blade to new customers. Although this appears like a complete waste and loss initially, those customers will eventually need to buy more blades. Simply by giving the product to someone, they created a cycle of customers buying blades on a weekly or monthly basis. It's a bit astonishing to think about selling a product for a loss, but this generates secondary sales and a budding relationship. Other companies like Sony and Microsoft have adopted this strategy in their own fashion; selling gaming consoles for a significant loss, yet by offering online subscriptions, software updates, and many other purchases they still make a profit. We think it's time for restaurants to start thinking about implementing some of the razor-blade strategies into their own business. At Bonji, we've given away countless menu items. This may seem like we simply lost money, however, that is not the case. There is truly something special about seeing a customer's face light up with happiness when they receive anything for free. Not only does it feel great and start a relationship, but you bet that customer is going to shout from the rooftops about how awesome your restaurant is and will definitely be returning. When a business is willing to take a monetary hit for the sake of a customer, it shows how much you care about them. If you run a local burger joint, give away some fries for the day or just to a few loyal customers. If you run a juice bar, give away a smoothie here and there. If you run a fancy restaurant, give the locals a free shot or glass of wine every time they stop in for dinner. That moment of pure joy for the customer totally outweighs the minor concept of getting a meal 10% off on a random Tuesday. Even if you are just offering a free sample of a new product, those customers will be sure to come back for more!
Instead of offering discounts, give away something here and there!
Creates a Relationship
Ignites Word of Mouth
Explodes Secondary Sales
Everyone gives students 10% off, why not give one student an item for free and get the whole high school talking
If an order is wrong, let them keep it for free! (if they want it) Obviously, give them the correct one too :)