one of the major differences between shopping in asia and shopping in america is that in asia, consumers are often getting fun freebies with purchases. many retailers have a little reward system set up that allows you to earn gifts on the spot — bigger the purchase, bigger the gift. i’ve gotten umbrellas, bags, all sorts of high quality, practical items while shopping in korea. my friend luna got this awesome green shopping cart by spending 88 yuan (about $13 USD) on P&G products here in China (seriously, when’s the last time that P&G gave YOU anything free in america?!). and unlike limited-time offers like “Clinique Bonus Time,” many of these freebies are offered all-year round. i imagine this kind of reward system is probably effective for driving impulse purchases (and yes, yes, it’s very effective on people like me).
this is quite different from the system that many american retailers have set up, which seems to be based more on loyalty, repeat purchase, frequency of visit, etc., etc. stores are always offering membership cards, and you can only earn your freebie/gift/whatever after making purchases over long periods of time. for someone like me, who is loyal to very few brands/stores and is always losing reward cards, it is very rare that i get around to claiming my rewards. one exception would be credit card rewards, which are completely different, in my personal, humble opinion.
there must be a significant difference between asian and american consumer behavior that motivates companies to choose immediate rewards (asia) vs. delayed rewards (america). but what IS that difference? are asians more impulsive shoppers? are we less likely to be brand-loyal? TELL ME!