Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Incentive to Buy (Plus Giveaway!)

Companies often come up with crafty plans to make us consumers buy more. Apart from promotions and sales (percentage off or buy one get one percentage off), they also give us "free" things! And who doesn't like "free" things?

One of the most ingenious ways retailers have come up with to draw buyers in is the point system. Be it virtual or physical points on a card, it feels rewarding to fill up a card and exchange it for gifts! Very common in Asia, this practice has spread worldwide (proof that it works!!). Right before I moved to Taiwan, even Hot Topic had implemented a points system to reward shoppers!

How does the point system work? Each store is different, but basically for every X amount of dollars you spend, you get 1 point. When you reach N amount of points, you can get gifts, discounts, or exclusive merchandise not available elsewhere. I remember struggling to fill up my Sanrio point card and pooling purchases with friends to meet the dollar criteria, just for one more stamp!

Metamorphose has a points system, though you must be a registered member of the website in order to accumulate points. Juliette and Justine also has a points system, though the translation is a bit difficult for me to understand - I believe you get a discount when you rack up enough points though. More physical Brand shops may offer point systems, but as far as I know their online shops don't. Sometimes I think that may be a good thing. I might go crazy if BABY ever offered point incentives on their online shop...

"All your money are belong to us!"

Anyway, recently the 7-11 in Taiwan point incentive gift was a mystery Hello Kitty charm. Usually 7-11 offers plastic toys that light up or appeal to small children, but this time it was a metal charm! If you could accumulate 24 points, you could exchange for one charm. Each point sticker could be earned by spending NT$66 at a 7-11. This doesn't sound like much money (less than US$4) but the number is odd enough that in order to make NT$66 you either needed to buy some cheap, candy/useless objects in addition to food/coffee, or you had to go over the NT$66, yet it wouldn't be enough to get 2 stickers. Quite annoying. Even so, by collecting point stickers from friends and family, I managed to get 5 full cards

Unfortunately, the event was so popular that there was a charm shortage so I was only able to exchange for 3 mystery charms, and then get 2 pick-up tickets for later dates. The event ended on 4/29. I picked up one charm on 5/11. The second pick-up ticket needs to wait until 6/17. More proof that people will fall for this point-collecting scheme!!!

I'm sure some of you are curious about the giveaway, so I'll get to that part now! I'm giving away 2 metal Hello Kitty charms! I have no idea what they are because that's a part of the game. You don't know what you get until you get it (oh so clever). More details on how to enter after the jump!

Rules of the Game
1. If you win, you must take a photo of your charm and post it, OK? I'm curious!! There are about 30 variations on the Hello Kitty charm ;)
2. Tell me how you found my blog!
3. Which Brand would you like to offer buying incentives? Do you like the point system with free gifts, discounts, or something else entirely?

Personally, I'd like exclusive merchandise by BABY if they ever did a point card. Discounts are nice, of course, but with the amount of secondhand sales that go on, I think exclusive merchandise would feel more special to me!

Here are the photos of the 2 charms I have now:
This is from the first batch where the color was applied on top of the metal, so the colors chipped a bit

This one is from the second batch where the colors are more protected, so it will not be damaged!

This giveaway will close on May 31st at midnight (Taiwan time) Good luck!