Joe Pine: Products and services are being commoditized. Here’s how you create experiences.

PineColor2At a moment in which many companies are focusing on streamlining their websites, reducing the length of lines at stores with self-checkout, and cutting the number of clicks required to get their app to do something, Joe Pine has a counter-intuitive idea: Maybe you can win by getting customers to spend more time with you, rather than less. Pine is the co-author of the 1999 book “The Experience Economy,” which posited that people want to be engaged in memorable experiences, rather than just buying goods and services.

“If you look at convenience, convenience means spending less time with a customer,” Pine said on a recent conference call with Innovation Leader members. “What I’m talking about is spending more time with a customer, where customers actually value the time they spend with you. Instead of time well-saved, a commoditized service, they view it as time well-spent.

We spoke with Pine about how social media and virtual reality are changing the nature of experiences; new experience models like Story and Kellogg’s NYC cereal restaurant in Manhattan; Uber, Hilton, and Capital One; and the metric Walt Disney used to discern whether what he was doing at Disneyland was working with visitors. He would walk through the theme park at the end of the day, Pine says, and evaluate “the percentage of people that had big smiles on their faces.”

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