Why do people prefer to go to a supermarket, restaurant, or store instead of another, even when they offer the same products at the same price and in a location very close to each other? Perhaps for the attention of the staff? It may be, but what about when both businesses have good service?

Some people prefer it for the beautiful view of the place, others for the music, other customers in front of these questions have mentioned the smell (some supermarkets with poor air extraction leave customers with frying and cigarette smoke), the existence or not air conditioning, the hygiene of the place, fashion, the feeling of being in an important place (and feeling important), the music, the good atmosphere, etc. If we think about what customers mention as determining factors in the choice of the business where to buy, we will see that what customers are looking for is not only products, but a true experience, which provides them with sensations and memories that are interesting and innovative. Perhaps this explains why some businesses with regular products and mediocre care still have a good occupation.

Seen this way, everything seems to indicate that our business is not only to sell products, but to design and create pleasant and / or novel experiences for customers; positive experiences that exceed customer expectations and also leave them “something special”.


Working in a store is like working in the cinema or theater. Just as the scenography, set, lighting and of course the actors are important to create the planned scenes, in the store it is also the Physical Support, that is, the premises, the setting, the furniture, the lights, the music , etc., since it has a double function and often a real dilemma between its role as a showcase or scenery (means of communication with the client) and its role as a working tool (effectiveness and operational efficiency).

The Physical Support is the stage in which the actors (the store staff) will be put, and its objective is to facilitate the interaction between the Personnel in Contact and the customer, and to favor and motivate the attitudes and behaviors that condition a good service .

Just as in the cinema, the actors know what movie they are working on, they have a script, and they know how they should interpret it, so it is also important that the store workers know what kind of experiences they should make for their customers, otherwise we could find characters with confused roles and obtain scenes and experiences of the type “Nightmare 3” or “Friday the 13th”.

On the other hand, a store with a clear and defined Concept, logically will consider a scenography, that is to say, a suitable Physical Support for this concept, to facilitate the realization or production of the defined experience and guides the actors in the performance of their roles in each scene or service meeting with customers, in order to ensure not only customer satisfaction but that they have truly experiences Smart (they leave a knowledge to the clients; the client learns something) and Legendary (Incredible, significantly exceeding customer expectations).

Every service implies an experience, but experiences are a different economic offer than services, just as services are goods.

Today we can describe and identify this new economic offer because consumers undoubtedly want experiences, and more and more businesses are responding by explicitly designing and promoting them.

An experience is not an amorphous construction, it is such a real offer, as a service a good. Mind you, it's not just about wrapping up traditional offerings in experiences to sell them better.

Staging of Experiences that Sell

An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as a setting and goods as incentives to individually engage customers / users in a way that creates a memorable event. Goods are tangible, services are intangible, and experiences experiences.

The offers of goods and services - they are external to the buyer, the experiences are intrinsically personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been involved on an emotional, physical, intellectual and even spiritual level, therefore, there are not two people They may have the same experience, as each experience derives from the interaction between the stage event (such as a play) and the individual's state of mind.

Experiences have always been at the heart of the entertainment business - a fact that Walt Disney and the company he founded have creatively exploited. But today the concept of selling an entertainment experience is taking root in businesses far removed from theaters and entertainment parks.

New technologies, in particular, incentivize entirely new genres of experiences, such as interactive games, Internet chat rooms, and multiplayer games, motion-based simulators, and reality.

In a speech delivered by Andrew Grove, Intel President, at the COMDEX Computing Fair in November 1996, he said, “We need to see our business as more than just building and selling personal computers. Our business is to deliver information and interactive experiences similar to life ”.

En restaurants thematic, like the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Hollywood Park, Giant Studio and others, food is just an incentive for what is known as "entertainment."

Stores like Niketown, attract consumers by offering fun activities, fascinating displays, and promotional events (sometimes labeled "entertainment store" or "entertainment retail").

But the experiences are not exclusively about entertainment; British Airways uses its basic service (the journey itself) as a setting for a distinctive en-route experience - one that attempts to transform air travel into a break from the normal frenetic life of the traveler.

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The experiences are not solely or exclusively for consumer industries. Companies consist of people, and face-to-face situations also present scenarios for experiences. For example, those in charge of the cleaning service for offices or mail delivery, can dress as "space men" or in a suit of really special design, in order to turn a laborious activity into a memorable encounter.

No company sells experiences like their economic offer unless they charge the Client / guest an entry. An event created just to increase consumer preference for the goods or services that the company sells is not really an economic offer.

Even when a company refuses (for now) to charge admission for the events it stages, its managers should be wondering what they would do differently if they charged admission. The answers will help them see how the company could move towards the experience economy, since such an approach requires the design of richer experiences.

Theaters already charge admission to see the films they show, but the price of the film must be worth it to enter the theater.

Perhaps, very soon, with so many square meters of restaurants and stores that are added to the Malls, these will charge their clients entrance just to enter the complex.

Consider, for example, how many people (my daughters, for example) go to department stores, play with artifacts, try on clothes, play with toys, listen to miniature stereo systems, sit on massage chairs, and then leave without pay for what they valued, that is, the experience.

Could these stores charge entry? Not in the way they are being managed today. But if they charged entry they would be forced to stage a much better experience to attract paying customers. It would be necessary to change the merchandise mix more frequently - daily and even hourly. Stores would have to include demos, explanatory cases, contests, and other attractions to enhance the customer experience.

With its Niketown stores, Nike is almost in the experience business. To avoid distancing itself from its current retail channels, Nike created Niketown as an exhibition to market. It is supposedly for samples - to build the image of the brand and stimulate purchase in other retail stores - not to sell. And if so, why not explicitly charge customers for the Niketown experience? Would people pay? They say people are currently lining up to enter Niketown on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. A ticket value would force Nike to stage more engaging events inside. Stores could actually use the basketball court, for example, for one-on-one games or rounds with NBA players. Customers could then purchase tailored Nike T-shirts, commemorating the date and the outcome of the event - complete with an action photo of the winning group. There could be more interactive kiosks for educational exploration of past athletic events.

A businessman in Israel owns the Café Ke'ilu, which roughly translates to "the Cafe of Fantasies." The manager, Nir Caspi, told a reporter that people came to cafes to be seen and to meet people, not for the food; Ke'ilu coffee follows that observation to its logical conclusion. The property serves its customers empty plates and bowls and charges guests $ XNUMX during the week and $ XNUMX on the weekend for this social experience.

Charging entry - demanding that the customer pay for the experience - does not mean that companies should stop selling goods and services.

Disney generates significant profits for parking, food and other fees for services in its parks and also for the sale of souvenirs, but, without the experiences staged in the company's parks, cartoons, movies and television shows, customers they would have nothing to remember - and Disney would have no characters to exploit.

The organizers of Events and fairs or Shows such as the Expogourmand in Santiago de Chile, charge admission for the experience they create; individual companies can do the same: charge customers for selling them, for example, as we do with the holding of Administrators, in which attendees paid to attend because what they gain - fresh insights, self-discovery, and engaging interactions - are worth it. Nobody cares that after the Seminar we greatly improve our chances of selling follow-up consulting services.

The Characteristics of the Experiences

Before a company charges, it must design an experience that the customer judges is worth its price.

One way of thinking about experiences can be through two dimensions:

The first corresponds to the customer engagement. (more passive or more active).

The second may correspond to the degree of involvement or commitment.

(Watching a movie in a movie theater, with an audience, a big screen and stereo sound is more involved than watching the same movie in the video at home)?

Experiences, as well as goods and services, have to meet the needs of customers; they have to work; and it must be possible to deliver them. Just as goods and services are the result of an interactive process of research, design and development, experiences are derived from an interactive process of exploration, description and assembly - skills that aspiring service providers will need to master.

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It is essential to have a CONCEPT or THEME Central, to guide the Design and subsequent delivery of the experience.

Harmonize impressions with positive directions. While the concept or theme makes the foundation, the experience must be delivered with indelible impressions. Impressions are the "takeaway" of the experience; they complete the topic. To create the desired impressions, you must introduce cues that affirm the nature of the guest experience. Each statement should support the theme and none should be inconsistent with it.

An experience can be unpleasant simply because an architectural feature has been underestimated, it has not been properly appreciated or it has not been coordinated. Unplanned cues or inconsistent visual or aura cues can leave the client confused or lost. Have you ever felt unsure finding the room in a hotel, even after the reception staff gave you detailed instructions? Better yet, clearer directions along the way would have improved the experience. The Alto Las Condes Mall in Santiago decorates each of its Parking Areas with icons that represent different figures and each level has its own color. "I never forget where I parked."

Eliminate negative indications. Ensuring the integrity of the customer experience requires more than relying on positive feedback. Those who mount experiences must also eliminate anything that diminishes, contradicts or distracts from the subject. Most built spaces - shopping malls, offices, buildings, or airplanes - are filled with insignificant or trivial messages. Since customers sometimes need instructions, service providers often choose an inappropriate medium or form of message, for example: garbage cans at fast food facilities typically display a sign saying “thank you”. True, it is an indication to customers to remove their own trays, but it also says, "There is no service here," a negative reminder. Experience editors could instead turn the garbage man into a talkative, garbage-eating character who announces his gratitude when the lid is opened. Customers would receive the same message, but without the negative indication, and removing their trays becomes a positive aspect of the dining experience.

The easiest way to turn a service into an experience is by giving poor service - thus creating a memorable nightmare three or Friday the 13th encounter.

"Over service" can also ruin an experience. Airline pilots interrupt customers who are reading, talking or napping, to announce "Aconcagua is to the right of the Plane."

In hotels, reception staff interrupt face-to-face conversations with customers to take phone calls. In the rooms, service reminders are piled on tables, nightstands, and desks (if you hide them, the maid will replace these annoyances the next day).

Include memories. Certain goods have always been bought mainly for the memories they bring. Tourists buy postcards to remember cherished sights, golfers buy t-shirts or hats with an embroidered logo to remember a court or circuit, and teens get t-shirts to remember a rock concert. They buy these souveniers as a physical keepsake of the experience.

People currently spend a lot of money a year on souvenirs, these goods are generally sold at a much higher price than those of similar items that do not represent an experience. For example, a regular at the Rolling Stones concerts will pay a premium price for an official shirt stamped with the date and city of the concert. This is because prices are a function not so much of the cost of the goods as of the value that the buyer gives him when recalling the experience.

If service businesses like airlines, banks, warehouses, and insurance companies find they are in no demand for souvenirs, this is because they do not stage involving experiences. But if these businesses offered themed experiences covered in positive indications and devoid of negative indications, their guests would want and pay for souvenirs to commemorate their experiences (if guests didn't want it, it would probably mean the experience wasn't great).

Engage the 5 senses. Sensory stimulants that accompany an experience should support and enhance the theme, the more senses an experience involves, the more effective and memorable it can be. Smart shoe shine operators increase the smell of the paste with cloth lashes, scents, and sounds that don't make the shoes brighter, but the experience more engaging. Elegant hairdressers apply shampoo and lotions not just because the hairstyle requires it but because they add tactile sensations to the customer experience. Similarly, supermarkets can inject bakery smells into their aisles, and some may even use lights and sounds to simulate tropical storms when they moisten their vegetables.

Not all sensations are good, and some combinations do not work. Book store designers have found that the aroma and taste of coffee goes very well with opening a new book. But I learned that a self-service laundry chain failed in its attempt to combine a bar with a coin-operated laundry. Apparently the smells of phosphates and hops are not complementary to each other.

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HLet us now rely on innovative experiences. The emerging complexity of values ​​and lifestyles has shaped a increasingly demanding demand, that is, more conscious, with greater intellectual and affective knowledge of things, people, fashion and the behaviors of employees - actors.

Today's clients are people who reason, perceive affects and defects, are capable of making judgments, of defining qualities. Even more, They are people who are in a position to value their own shopping experience through their thoughts and feelings. Very often it is possible to discover among the customers of a store an awareness oriented to the knowledge of the world around them or to the preservation of the environment. It can be said that it is an awakened need for social and cultural development.

Any experience of qualityThat is, that it satisfies the aspirations of the clients, it must be designed considering the indicated considerations. In the context of modern markets, businesses, to achieve high levels of competitiveness, quality and productivity, must promote the design and development of segmented Service Systems, to successfully meet a conscious demand for the value of what is different, of what unique, and of the individuality of its members.

Post industrial stores, second generation (or third wave according to Toefler), who by definition take on these challenges, they hold their management in the intensive use of information rather than in the use of capital, as was the case with companies in the industrial phase, where customers had few options and little learning, a faithful reflection that the information offered by the environment is not used in shaping the experience more than in part. Instead, post-industrial stores incorporate the maximum amount of information to configure an innovative and different experience, an example of this is the Tricot store, where the client gets a remarkable learning experience by observing and contacting elements of decoration, fashion, music , the dress of the staff and the attention of the sellers (if the customer, when buying a tie, also learns new knots that the seller taught, it is that he has had a Smart experience).

Considerations for crafting and developing smart products / services / experiences.


  1. A service is a response or anticipation of complex needs and expectations of individuals. There is no service without action.
  2. A service can be considered as such when it has the capacity to provide effective responses.
  3. The provision of services is supported by material elements (products, physical support) and a large amount of information.
  4. Every service implies an experience.
  5. Serving means identifying with the needs and expectations of who requests the service:
  • There is no service if the provider does not make the problem and the dissatisfaction of a third party their own problem.
  • The problem of a third party is solved with full identification of the individual and the problem.
  • This requires that there is no great difference between the capacity and the knowledge of who provides the service and who receives it.
  • Communication between people can raise the support of appropriate material elements that facilitate it.
  • Operational and Relational Aspects of the Service.

Products / services / experiences must be Smart (loaded with information and in response to the need of today's customer, to know, know, experience, improve their quality of life) and Legendary (Aimed at exceeding your expectations, leaving a positive and unforgettable memory that ensures your loyalty and fidelity to the product / destination, making you an "apostle" or promoter of the product / service / experience).

The common denominator of the strategies outlined below is the generation and administration information from the crucial elements involved in the structuring of a product / service / experience.

  1. Engaging demand in the elaboration of the product / service / experience. Traditionally, surveys aimed at potential customers focus on collecting information on consumption patterns, motivations and their socio-economic characteristics, compared to a previously designed product / service.

    It is also necessary to configure and understand the values ​​and lifestyles of the members of the demand, identifying personal development needs and their expectations.

    Actively incorporate the demand, so that it evaluates its experiences regarding the use and consumption of the products / services / experiences that the company offered it. In this way, distortions are avoided from the work of a third person, who with his own ideas has to assess the behavior of demand.

    An intelligent product / service / experience is not only the one for sale, but also the one that also offers the possibility of personal and group development.

    2. Involve employees.

    3. Involve the values ​​and objectives of the local community in the design and development of products / services / experiences.

    4. Every smart product / service / experience spreads and develops culture in which it is manifested and operated (beware of “Disneylanding” the Product / service / experience).

I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
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