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Retailers Offering ‘Freebies’ to Get Customers in Stores [AUDIO]

The holiday shopping season isn’t quite here yet, but that’s not stopping retailers from doing whatever they can to get people in their stores. J.C. Penney recently gave away free haircuts.

Freehold Raceway Mall
Flickr User LancerE

Other stores are offering free workshops and classes, birthday clubs, baby-sitting, food and drinks.

“They need to give things away right now,” said Brian Sozzi, Chief Equities Analyst at NBG Productions. “Even though the economy has improved a little bit, you still need to entice the consumer to get them in the store.”

“The best example was J.C. Penney offering free hair cuts,” said Sozzi. “The idea is to get customers interested in the store at a time when they don’t have to shop like for back-to-school items and holiday gifts. So, instead of marking items down and doing it that way, they figure they can give the consumer a better overall experience. So, they go in for something like a hair cut that they don’t have to pay for, they browse the store and may actually buy more than they initially planned.”

Many stores are doing more to integrate their online service with the store itself and they are also using mobile apps.

“I love what Foursquare is doing. They are targeting their ads, so when you walk past a store, like the Gap, your phone will be hit with specific promotions. So, you’re seeing a lot more targeted promotions and you’re not necessarily seeing 30 and 40 percent off. You’re seeing 10 to 15 percent off on an item that has been heavily tested and the retailer knows it’s going to sell, so it’s probably at an inflated price,” said Sozzi.

“Technology has come to a point where something like Foursquare can use geolocating to know where you are. So a retailer that works with Foursquare can put out their ads and drive more awareness,” said Sozzi. “It works great for retailers because instead of marking down the entire assortment, if they know I’m walking by a particular store, they can target a specific promotion to me and they will have known that I’ve shopped at that particular store in the past month. If I bought a sweater, they can send me an ad for sweaters because chances are I might buy it.”

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