Monday, January 21, 2013

Discounting a Discount

I saw a brief conversation the other day about whether someone should invest in a National Rail student card. It reminded me of a simple idea that I had for such a card, but one I have yet to see.

The card costs £28 for a year, and gives young people a third off all rail travel. Make a few journeys and it easily pays for itself.

The railway companies want to sign more people up for cards, as it helps encourage the holders to take the train. Yet they seem to be missing something very obvious.

When you book a ticket online, and a third of the cost of your total journey is £28 or more, it should give you the option to sign up for the card for 'free'. As in one journey the card will have covered itself, you simply send them the card and forms and you make the process of choosing to have one simple. It's free to the customer, and simply includes the discount in the first purchase.

If someone orders a cheaper ticket you can include the discount from that ticket in a lower price for the card.

If you are buying a set of tickets that cost £84, and you get a simple tick box option that gives you a third off all future fares... why would you say no?

It takes a decision of uncertainty (will I make the £28 back? how often do I use the train?) and turns it into a no-brainer.

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