With Halloween upon us, we recently went to a pumpkin patch as a part of having some seasonal fun. The weather was pretty decent, so it was a good day to go out there and enjoy the experience. It’s fun for kids, fun for doting parents, and it’s generally inexpensive. What a deal, right?
Now, up front I’ll say that it was a lot of fun going – and I don’t have regrets. I got some great pictures in, and made some memories along the way. It’s priceless seeing a kid enjoy taking part in fun fall traditions, and carrying out a pumpkin!
Good times, indeed. Worth every penny for the reasons I mentioned above. This in spite of being expensive, due to being taken in by the creative use of a loss leader by the pumpkin patch!
A loss leader is of course a product that’s sold at a low price, in order to entice the purchaser to buy additional, more profitable products. I always think of the razor blade model as an example – razors are sold for a low price, but the replacement blades are pricey. Perhaps a better example might be the super cheap, $0.01 two-pocket folders I bought during back to school sales. These incredibly low prices probably didn’t offer a profit margin for the store, but it got people in there to buy other, more expensive items while already there. Supermarkets doing this quite frequently as well. We’ve all seen this in play.
At this pumpkin patch, the pumpkins are all up front near the entrance gate. It’s actually at a farm, which has a ton of space. Anyway, the place is known to have low prices on pumpkins, relative to the local area. It probably draws others in that way too – we picked up 2 decent sized pumpkins for about $3.50. Not a bad price.
Of course, there was a catch!
As you looked past the pumpkin area, ahead of you was what amounted to a big autumn carnival. They had all kinds of rides for little kids, animals to pet, and other seasonal activities. They had fresh corn on the cob, as well as a makeshift dining area where you could buy lunch. Additionally, they had a kind of country store in a big barn, with apple cider for sale and a ton of gifts, candies, and things of the like. This was much more than a simple pumpkin patch, in reality.
The prices for these other activities were not low. A kid’s ride? $2.00 to $3.00. A bottle of water? $1.75. How about this: want to feed some parakeets (yes, they actually had this): $1.00 – I think. Might have been $2.00. You get the idea.
Bottom line is, we spent over $25 extra, beyond the cost of the pumpkins. We were lured in. It’s way easier said than done to say no to excited kids during that time, and I wanted to give them a good time anyway. It was worth it.
It was also a good reminder of how a loss leader can be used to draw you in to spend more than you originally expected to.
My Questions for You
Have you ever fallen for any loss leader pricing strategies?
What strategies do you have for either avoiding or taking advantage of such enticements?
Do you have any examples to share of loss leaders that you’ve encountered?