You’re hungry and craving pizza. A quick Google search shows there are two pizzerias nearby that share a parking lot. You pull up to see a long line coming out of both restaurants.
The pizzeria on the left has a basic design on the exterior and offers some outdoor seating. The inside doesn’t look too special, with a few pictures of Italian landmarks on the wall and a counter separating the customers from the kitchen.
On the right, we have a pizzeria with pizzazz. The exterior is showered in bright colors. Upbeat music is playing inside. They have their social media handles written on the wall, in case you’re inclined to like, share and subscribe (you know the drill)
But what about the pizza? By all standards, the quality is about the same. The only difference is the pizza from the flashy shop is much more expensive. For frugality’s sake, you could forego the pageantry and go to the simpler, cheaper pizza place.
And while many people may agree at first, research shows that many will go for the flashy, more expensive pizza. Why? Because the experience comes with their product. Unless they are Michlin starred, companies need to account for the how, in addition to the what. Sliding a pizza across the counter isn’t the same as the in-person, sit-down “let’s get to know you” experience.
What Is the Experience Economy?
The experience economy is the focus on the consumer’s experience with a brand, which is at least as important now as product quality.
Customers are looking for a memorable experience they can associate with their purchase. So
brands now have to focus on selling customers on the experience as much as the product itself. This might involve jazzing up a storefront or, in the digital experience economy, making the online customer experience more interactive, engaging and true to their brand.
The Evolution of the Experience Economy
Although millennials can be given the credit for fueling the experience economy, many generations have come to expect it. The experience economy market size is actually massive, with virtually every demographic shifting from an interest in goods to experiences.The experience economy is the result of years of changes in consumer behavior.
We began with simple supply and demand, with people buying available products solely based on price. Then, companies started to package and manufacture products, making them more accessible, abundant, and economical.
Adaptation continued, and companies started combining a service with a good. Those services became increasingly customized until we arrived at our current state: consumers looking for highly personalized experiences that meet needs exactly when they are expected.
Technological advancements have also made the digital sphere even more experiential. Virtual classes allow anyone with an internet connection to learn from the masters, and interactive websites let customers have unique experiences with their favorite company.
Examples of Brands That Utilize Experience Economy
There are plenty of companies who have already excelled at creating memorable moments for their customers:
- Amazon uses same-day delivery and personalized product suggestions.
- Airbnb uses client experiences to create a world-class travel community.
- McDonald’s uses interactive kiosks that allow customers to customize orders.
- Alder uses easy-to-use microapps to give a more effective sales pitch.
Technology in the Experience Economy
New technologies have made it easier to nurture customer interactions at every step of the buyer’s journey. Here are a few of the experience economy tools that are making the biggest waves.
By far the most influential and talked-about tech in the experience economy is virtual reality (VR). That’s because VR can allow customers to see and interact with a product with their own eyes.
For example, you can see the room in Cancun you’re renting for the weekend before you even step out your front door. The implications for the virtual experience economy trend are staggering.
But VR isn’t useful for every company. For products that stimulate other senses like taste and smell, VR won’t seem as appealing.
Microapps use simple no code design and content to transform dull, static content into memorable brand content experiences. As customers interact with the content experience, valuable data is gathered on the customer’s interaction with the content experience giving more insight into common questions: what excites the customer and leads a prospect to convert to a customer.
Because microapps are not only for online use, many brands use them to extend (and supplement) the conversations for their in-person interactions like, trade shows, sales pitches, in-retail product catalogues, and event engagement solutions. Much like Skullcandy.
If you need to answer a customer’s question or address their concerns in real time, chatbots can be the answer. They use a mix of artificial intelligence and customer service agents to quickly and accurately assess customer needs.
Plus, this is a great way to seem non-invasive. You don’t have to ask for someone’s email address and communicate through an endless chain of emails, which isn’t enjoyable for either party.
As reliable internet becomes more available all over the world, there will be greater opportunities for connection. All those technologies we mentioned, especially VR, can be more easily used from anywhere in a world of 5G. That means that an impressive digital presence will be even more important for every company.
In the end, the experience economy is all about using technology to put customers at the center of your focus. Are you ready to bring your company to that level? Find out how other companies used Tiled microapps to transform their customer experiences and are more future-ready and remain customer-first in their experience delivery. What’s your plan to move into the future of marketing?