The idea for having ways to give back to customers is not very new. Merchants have long sought for ways to give back to customers. In the past that has been done through bargaining with the customer. Merchants have tried to give back to customers by allowing them to set the price for whatever they have wanted to buy.
Why the push to give back to customers
As the practice of bargaining went out of style, the customer lost a certain amount of control. At one time, merchants in the U.S. used to operate with the thought, “buyer beware.” Such merchants had zero interest in finding a way to give back to customers. Gradually, such an outlook put some customers in jeopardy. Merchants gave the customers a “raw deal.”
After enough customer complaints, the merchants realized the fallacy in their approach. They realized that they needed to find ways to give back to customers. Salesmen began to factor into their sales talk ways to give back to customers. Marketing classes also touched on ways that the seller of an item can give back to customers, the purchasers of that item.
Funny ways to give back to customers
When merchants first started to give back to customers, they had no guidebook to which they could refer. As a result, some of the merchants chose to give their customers rather odd things. For example, in the late 1960s, many service stations gave customers free glasses after they purchased gas. They chose to give back to their customers an item that had nothing at all to do with riding in or caring for a car.
Gasoline companies were not the only companies who used glasses as a way to give back to customers. At least one manufacturer of cheese spread chose to give back to customers by selling the cheese spread in a small 4 ounce glass. The customers could then use this glass as a drinking glass. This tactic seemed to work well for the cheese makers, but it created problems for other merchants.
The cheese makers had chosen to give back to customers a very small glass. Customers started to use those small glasses as juice glasses. The merchants selling orange juice then found that their sales suffered. This introduced a new thought into the world of marketing: What one company does to give back to customers can affect the sales of another company.
Quality offers a way to give back to customers
At about the time that gas stations were handing out glasses, someone did a survey of American cereals. They found that many cereals lacked a sizable number of nutrients. This brought on a push for improved cereals. Better quality cereals became a way to give back to customers.
And the cereal makers keep on giving. Within the past three years, cereal manufacturers have increased the fiber content of their cereals. They felt that high fiber cereals would represent an important way to give back to customers. They combined their announcement of this quality change with notice of reports that suggested a strong need for fiber in the diet.
Extras as a way to give back to customers
Many times stores offer something called a 2 for one special. Such a special provides the store owner with an added way to give back to customers. This is a marketing technique that has not yet found favor all around the globe. In fact, its mention can bring a look of wonder to the face of some customers, who must do their buying and living beyond the U.S. borders.