i received an offer in my inbox recently that i would receive a free product if i made a purchase from a particular web site. without much hesitation i leaped over to the site to see if there was anything i needed/wanted. in reality, i just sort of wanted that free product. so it occurred to me that if i wanted the product, i could just use the money the site wanted me to spend on extraneous things to buy the product, or some equivalent that was perhaps even better, and of my own choosing, rather than follow the offer like a dog would a bone.
but it must be noted that they did get me over to their site. so i know that little incentives to buy, little enticements do work on me. i was never in denial about that. free shipping always gets my attention (though i do not like it when there is a minimum total to qualify). it is important, of course, to put impulse aside and take a moment to decide whether the offer is better serving me or the company. if it's a win-win situation, that's fine, like a percentage off if i buy 3 pairs of socks, and i need 3 pairs of socks. but if the bait is more appealing than the fish (please don't think to hard about this metaphor, i suspect it doesn't really make sense), there is a problem.
sometimes the expectation of a bonus can gum up the works, like when i don't have a free shipping code so i don't make the purchase, denying myself something i actually want just because the practice of rewarding customers is so common that i feel disgruntled when it isn't presented. i recently forced myself to override my own impulse and paid about $13 (rate based on purchase total rather than weight - can anyone explain to me how that makes sense?) for shipping. i love what i got (i should add, in the interest of full disclosure that the item was marked down...), and that should really be the only reward i need.
does a gift-with-purchase or some other reward ever tip the balance for you? are you ever a sucker?