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Of Carrots and Added Value

Most products or services are like carrots – a commodity. Every so often, a company with vision, creativity, or just dumb luck, takes a commodity and turns it into a differentiated, value-added product… and customers get addicted to it.

For an example of a differentiated, value-added product, let’s talk about carrots. Specifically, those bags of miniature, peeled, ready-to-eat carrots for sale at the supermarket at a substantially higher price over normal, “you-peel-em-and-cut-em” carrots.

For those of us on a “healthy eating” regimen (trying to control my waistline here!), those carrots have become almost as binge-worthy as a sack of salty potato chips, and once I got addicted to them, I found it so much more convenient that they were unpeeled and cut, that the extra cost was offset by the ease of use.

These carrots are no longer normal vegetables. By being cleaned, cut and peeled, they have been transformed into a healthy snack. They don’t compete with broccoli and green peppers for a place in your salad; they compete with potato chips and popcorn for your “munchie” cravings.

Consider the products and services you sell. What can you do to make your customers rely on your products and services? How can you add value and differentiate them like the carrots?

 

  • Can you create a “Club” that offers extra services? If you do it right, you can even charge for membership, like Amazon does with Prime.)
  • Can you give them extra advice or personal service that they can’t get elsewhere?
  • Can you give them preferred appointment times, better seats, the desired table, the “complimentary” little gift? (Like the car dealer that washes your car for free? Like the tire store that will check inflation levels at no charge?)

Online retailers have been tripping over themselves to offer extra-value services at little or no cost, working to get us addicted to their pricing, convenience, and selection. That battle is intensifying and continuing to put more and more brick and mortar stores out of business unless they fight back aggressively.

 

Unless you can figure out how to make your clients addicted to your company, your products and services look just like those undifferentiated bunches of carrots in the grocery – yes, they are great as cooking ingredients, but not so great as snacks. Today, no matter what you sell, your customers want more – more convenience, more speed, more style, and more safety, and they are often willing to pay more for these “mores” if you can figure it out.

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