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Samsung's bundles are great incentives for buyers — so why isn't Apple doing it?
When faced with a dizzying array of smartphone options, consumers simplify their search by naturally looking for the best deal. When my wife bought a new Galaxy S21 FE 5G yesterday on the German Samsung website, she was persuaded to ditch her original choice of a Google Pixel 6 after Samsung dangled a free pair of Galaxy Buds 2 and a Galaxy Fit 2 to persuade her to click that Buy button. The whole package for a cool 729 Euros and sales tax.
Related: Galaxy S21 FE review
This is definitely a win for the Samsung sales and marketing team then — one loyal customer signed up. But it begs the question of why Apple is not doing the same for its products. Would offering freebies to persuade people to buy an iPhone boost sales? Or would Apple consider it to be damaging to its brand? There are arguments to be made for both sides.
Samsung's bundles are one of the reasons why the company is doing so well. Everyone loves a freebie, especially something as cool as a pair of earbuds.
Samsung’s bundles are one of the reasons why the company is doing so well. Everyone loves a freebie, especially something as cool as a pair of earbuds. To get a fitness tracker thrown in is the icing on the cake. That sort of thing starts viral social media advertising that money simply can’t buy. Giving these things away doesn’t affect Samsung’s profit margins too much if it focuses on the long-term bigger picture of cementing lifelong customer loyalty. It might even persuade Apple users to make the switch to Android if they can see they’re getting an extra couple of gadgets for their money.
Nice freebies trump the camera
My wife was originally attracted to the Pixel 6’s camera. Indeed, our colleague Jimmy Westenberg called the Pixel 6 camera “versatile” and “upgraded.” My wife takes a lot of photos on a daily basis, so much so that she now has over 3,000 pictures of our dog alone. So the camera was definitely a factor, and she was getting ready to buy the Pixel as a result. Google even offered her a pair of Pixel Buds to go with it.
These freebies will push buyers into Samsung's ecosystem, making it difficult to buy outside of the brand again.
But her head was turned when Samsung upped the ante and basically said, “I see your Pixel buds and raise you a pair of Galaxy Buds and a Fit 2 band.” It was almost like the two companies were competing for her money (which they should be). The much better reviewed Galaxy Buds and the fitness tracker — which will now motivate her to start that long-promised diet and fitness regimen — made her join Samsung’s camp once again. In fact, they will push her into the Samsung Health platform instead of Apple Fitness+, and will open her eyes to how everything works seamlessly together in the Samsung ecosystem, making it pointless to buy outside of the brand ever again.
What’s the best? Samsung Health vs Apple Health
Why doesn’t Apple go on the offensive?
So why doesn’t Apple play the same game — turn Samsung and Google’s strategy against them, and start offering something extra at checkout? Granted, expecting a free $399 Apple Watch is a bit much to ask for, but what about a pair of the older second-generation Airpods to go with that shiny $799 iPhone 13? At only $129, would it hurt the company all that much if it tempted Android owners over to the “Dark Side” and locked them into the Apple ecosystem for life? The Galaxy Buds cost just a little less, and Samsung seems to have no problem giving them away.
Read more: Apple Airpods (2nd gen) vs Airpods (3rd gen)
Apple would most likely make the argument that it doesn’t have to give anything away. Its products will always be in demand, people will always buy them at full price, and Apple might perceive giving away something for free as cheapening its brand. But if Samsung can do it successfully and get new customers, why is it any different for Apple? Why is Samsung’s brand not damaged by being generous at checkout time? If anything, Samsung’s brand is strengthened and improved, especially in the case of my wife. Now she’s telling everyone about the deal, and perhaps someone she talks to will decide to buy a Samsung phone too. A double win then for Samsung.
Samsung has discovered a winning formula for enticing new customers, and it appears to be working.
If Apple gives a free gift to thank someone for their custom, it doesn’t necessarily have to be immediately seen as damaging the brand. It can be seen instead as good publicity and a welcome gift for a potential lifelong customer. Give them a peek at what they’re missing out on by opening the door slightly. That may very well entice them to then come inside and buy the whole shop. Refusing to be generous like Samsung might come across to some people as snobbish and slightly arrogant. Samsung has discovered a winning formula for enticing new customers, and it appears to be working.