How can shift from selling a product to selling an experience?

Are you selling a product or an experience?

A cup of coffee is, all things considered, probably worth less than fifty cents. How then does a company like Starbucks get its customers to pay upwards of five dollars for that same cup? The answer is that Starbucks is not simply selling a cup of coffee; they are selling an experience. Starbucks provides an environment and a culture that makes a simple (or not so simple) cup of coffee worth that much more.

This idea is explored in the book The Experience Economy: Work is Theater & Every Business a Stage by B. Joseph Pine II. Alongside Starbucks, The Experience Economy examines the work of Walt Disney who created the world’s first theme parks which provide guests (never “customers” or “clients”) a living, immersive cartoon world with rides that not only entertain but involve guests in an unfolding story. Disneyland and Starbucks both provide more than a simple commodity; they provide an experience.

Businesses that have caught onto this idea of experience economy have learned they can charge more for their product. People want don’t just want to buy stuff anymore, they also want to be entertained. Restaurant theaters have caught on to this, being able to provide a meal and a show, involving the audience in the experience. Movies have become that way with 3D. Some take the stuff out of the equation altogether; owners of corn fields have learned that they can make a much larger profit by creating a corn maze than by simply selling the corn for consumption. Something that has been around forever, like corn, can be turned into an experience for a much greater profit.

It is this same notion of the experience as a commodity that has gotten us so interested in working with Sub Zero. Sub Zero is not your average ice cream shop. On the Sub Zero website, it states, “Our secret is Cryogenics, the science of ultra cold where we use direct contact freezing. Our process takes a matter of seconds. This is the best and fastest ice cream you will ever see or taste.” Sub Zero has turned ordinary ice cream into extraordinary ice cream. “Nothing is frozen before you order.”

Ice cream is a product that has been around forever, but with Sub Zero, they are selling the experience. Couple that experience with an amazing product and that is what will be successful.

Sub Zero


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