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The act of giving

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 | By Oliver Milman

Business start-up idea on giveaways for marketingGiving away free samples to consumers is nothing new, but a business in Japan has taken this concept to new levels.

 

Free Café Harimaya Station in Toyko offers a variety of free drinks and snacks to anyone at any time. Punters can indulge in coffee, tea and rice snacks with the only catch being that “people treat each other with courtesy and respect each other’s views.”

 

There is a business strategy at play here, rather than an act of pure benevolence. The company behind the café is rice cracker brand Harimaya Honten. The company launched the concept in an attempt to lure younger consumers to its product.

 

While most start-ups can’t sustain such generosity in their early days, a short-term move similar to Harimaya’s could prove a worthwhile marketing exercise.

 

Why not launch a café that deliberately rebuffs large, expensive chains by offering free produce to consumers? It will build loyalty and your army of customers will be happy to pay for other products that you wish to push.