Dissecting The True Price of “Free”

Redemption Plus
Jun 13, 2019 · 6 min read

We all like getting things for free! Think about the last thing you received for free in a transactional relationship — meaning not as a gift from your friends or family. How did it make you feel in the moment? Probably pretty good, accomplished. Now, think about how you felt about the same thing an hour later… what about days or weeks later. Did you even think about it at all? Did it still hold a high perceived value in your mind? Is this item still held together and functioning properly?

In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely says this about free: “people change their behavioral patterns when something free comes along. Free isn’t just an indicator of price. It’s a powerful emotional trigger that’s often irresistible.”

This happens because when something is free, the concept of risk is removed. When an item is not free you are taking a risk and spending your hard-earned money. Perhaps you won’t be pleased with your purchase, in which case you would be losing your money. No one likes to lose money. Therefore, the free option is perceived as a higher value because there is no risk involved. When in fact, it may truly be a lower return on investment in the long run.

Read the full book excerpt here.

Marketers use “free” to reel you in! The problem is, like Dan mentioned, “free” provokes an emotional response in our brains making us think unclearly about a choice. The word “free” also doesn’t necessarily depict the quality of the good or service. By going with a free option, consider how much will you pay and sacrifice in the long run. Many of us have shopped Craig’s List and Facebook Marketplace for cars or furniture. If you see a couch that’s for free, you probably assume it smells pretty bad and could be housing some critters. But often our own businesses fall victim to answering the free ad because we don’t fully understand the value of every investment.

Why is Redemption Plus charging for design services when they’ve historically been free?

Well, for starters, you’ve just read all about how free isn’t always an indication of long-term value and satisfaction. In order to provide our customers with the best designs that output high return on investment, we have to employ the best resources and personnel in the industry. It’s our standard to deliver unique looks that will still be timeless (and standing strong) for years to come.

How many cut-and-paste redemption counters or rooms have we seen? Quite a few. They’re free, we get it! Costs are very important but don’t lose sight of long-term brand appeal. The big brands, like Dave & Buster’s, that perform the best understand that every element of the center (bathrooms, bowling alley, party room, redemption counter) are all part of the overall brand experience customers remember. A game room that flows in the redemption area and vice versa create an experience for your customer that can’t be found down the street. It’s custom to your center and that’s worth an investment that can pay off for many years.

Your redemption room helps create a complete experience for your center and is vitally important in making sure your monthly merchandise investment is displayed and supported in the best way possible. After all, no one wants to be stuck with inventory they don’t need.

We’re not saying you have to go with a paid design option, but here are 5 things to ask your redemption vendor when considering their design services

1 | Does your redemption vendor create a redemption experience completely unique to YOUR center? Or is it copy-and-paste?

2 | What are the support services they offer after design implementation? Merchandising is a must. But do they help you with a merchandising strategy to maximize your investment?

3 | Do they provide ongoing training options for your staff to ensure your redemption room doesn’t start looking rundown after your investment?

4 | Can they provide examples and references of custom, unique designs that they’ve done?

5 | Do they design outside of just the redemption area? Can they give you a cohesive look to your redemption, game room and beyond?

The Redemption Plus Service Package Solution

We understand the design fee can be an unexpected sting. Especially when it wasn’t considered in the initial conception and loan of your new business or remodel. That’s why we include value-add services with the purchase of design. Our intent is that these extra benefits help you lessen the overall risk of your design purchase.

  • Branded web portal to house all your center’s resources
  • Merchandising toolbox
  • Custom merchandising plan — because every custom design needs a custom merchandising plan to go with it ;)
  • 30/60/90-day program review — this happens after your design/merchandise install
  • Rapid Reorder™ setup
  • Redemption introduction training course
    plus ongoing training topics published every other month
  • Two custom planogram refreshes per year of subscription
  • Quarterly product and spending reports

Altogether these added benefits would be a yearly cost of $2,630.

Other Service Package Options

Empowering your employees to manage your redemption area with confidence can be a challenge. Our service packages allow you to reap the benefits of expertise and customer support no matter where your business is in its maturity. The Advanced and Pro (included with the purchase of design) service bundles are unmatched by any other redemption provider in the industry. They allow you to get the support you need when you need it.

Gain confidence in your redemption program knowing your employees are taking advantage of benefits like exclusive redemption training, regular planogram refreshes, product performance and spending reports and much more — all accessible from an online portal customized to your business.

And of course, if all of that isn’t up your alley, you always receive a free, basic service package just by doing business with Redemption Plus. 😁

Learn more here!

If we have you intrigued, stop by our Bowl Expo booth.

Redemption Plus will be in booth #423. Look for our giant hanging purple sign right by the Pepsi booth.

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Summer items are here! Check out our Sun’s Out Fun’s Out storyboard for all the summer must-have’s! If you don’t have enough room for a full storyboard option, try implementing just a few new, summer items into your display.

Our proprietary Storyboards are a series of pre-designed merchandising layouts, backed by analytics. They’re created with a specific theme or category in mind to engage your guests and make finding the perfect prize a piece of cake.


Insights Empower

Elevating the Family Entertainment & Bowling Center industry with progressive and innovative best practices for bettering businesses and communities. Also updates from Redemption Plus, learnings included

Thanks to Tabatha Bender and Mike Tipton

Redemption Plus

Written by

Insights Empower

Elevating the Family Entertainment & Bowling Center industry with progressive and innovative best practices for bettering businesses and communities. Also updates from Redemption Plus, learnings included

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