Are ‘free’ product days worth retailers’ efforts?
On June 2, “National Donut Day” also known as“National Doughnut Day” saw a number of large and smaller doughnut sellers give away free products to customers.
Among those participating, Krispy Kreme gave away one free doughnut with no strings attached. Both Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons offered a freebie with the purchase of a beverage. Wawa offered one with purchase to its loyalty card members.
Another popular freebie event is “National Coffee Day,” which occurs annually on September 29. Last year, 7-Eleven offered a free medium-coffee from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Krispy Kreme upped the ante by offering a free coffee and glazed doughnut. Preserving some margin, Dunkin’ Donuts, celebrating its 66th year, offered medium cups of coffee for 66 cents. Starbucks donated a coffee tree for every cup of brewed Mexico Chiapas coffee it sold in the U.S. and Mexico.
Ice cream, pizza, cookies and beer are also among categories celebrated with special promotions on the annual days.
On a more niche level is “Free Comic Book Day,” which celebrated its sixteenth year on May 6. Over 5.7 million comics were expected to be given away this year, according to Diamond Comics Distributors. Unlike other “National Days,” the vendors – comics publishers – supply the comic books and graphic novels at a nominal cost. Not so surprisingly, a survey of comic book shop owners by Diamond Comics showed that 92 percent were either “extremely positive” or “positive” about 2017’s “Free Comic Book Day.”
However, as detailed by www.bleedingcool.com, the survey found the percentage of those who were “extremely positive” was slightly lower than its 2016 survey. Although the question was worded differently, the comic book stores surveyed also felt they saw less new customers than the prior year. Concluded Rich Johnston, founder of bleedingcool.com, “Might we expect some changes next year?”
- National Donut Day: Free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts – USA Today
- Still time! Hurry! Score a free cup on Coffee Day – USA Today
- National Days – Track Maven
- Over 5.7 Million Comics To Be Given Away at Free Comic Book Day 2017 – Diamond Comics
- Rain, a god of thunder on Free Comic Book Day – The Citizens Voice
- How Did Retailers Feel About Free Comic Book Day 2017? – Bleeding Cool
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see annual free product days as a proven marketing tool to reach new and existing customers or are they largely ineffective in achieving those goals? How should retailers best approach such days?