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What race promoters can teach us about e-commerce sales

You have signed up for a 10k running race. As a part of the race, you, the runner, will get a gift bag as you cross the finish line. This gift bag includes a t-shirt that promotes the race. Imagine a t-shirt that says, “Santa Cruz 10k”

A while back, it was customary to include the race t-shirt in the price of race admission.

However, a lot of runners didn’t want to pay for the t-shirt as a part of the admission.  This was a reasonable request, given many runners join so many races. An additional t-shirt is just not needed in their dresser drawer.

What should these race promoters do?

One option is to stop including race t-shirts in the price of admission.  Another option is to give the runner the choice to buy a t-shirt, at the point they are signing up for the race.

What did they do?

A little of both. Race promoters are still including the t-shirt in the price of race admission. If you do nothing, the price of admission does not change. But, to appease the ‘t-shirt-haters’, there is now an option to subtract $5 and take the shirt out of your shopping cart. While the runner has the choice to buy the shirt, it’s still included in price of admission.

This is a very nice solution. It sets the social norm by having the t-shirt remain a part of the admission price. And, it works to discourage the behavior of opting out of the $5 t-shirt by adding an extra step.

While we don’t know the actual t-shirt purchase rates for these race companies, Irrational Labs personally can admit to always getting the race t-shirt since it’s included in the price.

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