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The crux of raffles, sales and discounts

In retail, we are used to raffles, special sales and discounts. Many of us cannot imagine retail without special deals any more. In this blog article I want to tell you about my own experiences with raffles – from a business point of view.

Example no. 1 - B2B

In summer 2015, I celebrated five years of HCG corporate designs. For this nice occasion, I organised a raffle with great prizes (see more about it here). You didn’t even have to answer a difficult question, you only had to share a link on Twitter (the raffle took place on Twitter only). The five prizes had a total value of 925 euro.

However, at the end only prizes worth 125 euro were redeemed by the winners. The winner of the first prize worth 500 euro did not get back to me ever since. Prizes worth 925 euro minus 125 euro redemption equals 800 euro of prizes that were neither picked up nor redeemed.

Example no. 2 - B2C

It gets even more odd. The organic muesli manufacturer Verival did a raffle with Tirol Boxes. The raffle took place on Facebook and was among the top 3 of their most successful raffles ever, according to Verival’s PR department. This might also have to do with the fact that most other Verival raffles have about only 20 % of the value of the Tirol Box raffle, when you compare the value of the prizes you can win. Having more than 40,000 Facebook fans, Verival counted 900 raffle participants within only one week. There was also a huge hype among the participants. Ashley Wiggins, myself and Verival were overwhelmed by the numerous encomiums for Tirol Box.

It was then very surprising that the winner almost had to be forced to answer Verival’s winner note. About a week and more than one email and Facebook notification later, the winner still had not given her address. Then, Verival said the winner had to email them her address by that night, otherwise another winner would be picked. Within minutes there was an answer.


Also a worldwide renowned glass/jewellery producer that I worked with in the course of Tirol Box, showed their doubts about the success of raffles in general.

Incredible, no?

As these examples show, raffles seem to attract people that just want to have anything, as long as it’s for free. An incentive to actually buy into a certain product or company? Probably not.

But according to my experience there is something that comes into this even more: the thrill of if you win or not. 800 euro prize value (example 1) were not picked up and a free Tirol Box (example 2) needed several approaches to actually get to the winner.

I don’t think that most people actually want to have the prize. I believe most people do it for the kick.

In my opinion, people like the thrill, the tension, if they win or not. You can compare it to roulette when the ball rolls around. As soon as the ball stops, the game is less interesting. As soon as the thrill is over and the winner is announced, the prize is uninteresting for many people. Does this explain why lotteries cash so much money in? Even though people instinctively know that they will probably not win? The thrill and the hope remain and keep the interest in gambling high. That’s it. A thrill that doesn’t cost much.

And: What you get for free, you don’t treasure because you didn’t have to work for it. Maybe this is also why prizes of raffles are often considered of "less value".

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