Should RATs be free?


I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. I wanted to do a COVID test but I only had one RAT left. So my dilemma – should I use it or should I save it for another day? Well, I decided to use it. I wonder what the result is? Ah, that’s a relief! Good news. I don’t have COVID.

So you might ask why do I only have one RAT? Well the Chemist downstairs and all the chemists nearby have sold out.

There is not enough RATS to go around.

It doesn’t matter whether the price would have been $5, $10, $20, I don’t give a rats.

I would have paid any price to get another one of these. So in this environment of constrained supply where there is not enough RATS to go around, I have to ask should chemists be giving away RATS for free because that’s what a lot of people have been calling for. Well, if chemists gave them away for free, then we would have even a bigger problem because many people would use them when they don’t need them and other people would hoard them because the price might go up in the future. So they want to get as many as they can for free now. And it would exacerbate our supply problem. So I think for the moment, it’s the right decision not to give RATS away for free. Even though there is a community benefit in everybody being tested because when you give something away for free, what happens? More people use it, more people buy it.

So let’s look at the implication of that for our businesses. Many of you in your business might have an opportunity to create a product which is a cut down version of your existing product and give it away for free. It could be a sample, for example. Or it could be a free piece of content. Something so that your customers and potential customers get a taste of what you and your business and your products are all about in an easy way without too much friction because putting a price on things creates friction so without friction they can get a taste for it and they can see if they like what you are about. If they do like what you are about then they’ll come back in the future, they’ll build relationship with you and they’ll purchase more products at full price in the future.

So the question for you to ponder is, what is it that you can give away for free in your business?

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