Have you noticed that a can of Coke/Pepsi or any similar drink, costs different in a store like Costco , different in a vending machine and different when you are watching a movie in a theatre (it could be the fountain version instead of the can). For all practical purposes its the absolute same thing, except that in case of the fountain drink, its freshly made. But the price difference that you pay could be more than 10 times for the same volume of drink.
How’s that possible. Its because of the value in the eyes of the customer. If you are at a subway / metro platform and you suddenly feel very thirsty, you can’t wait to take a trip to the Costco/Walmart store and pick a pack of 6 cans. You know, that for the cost of the can from the vending machine, you can buy 6 cans, but you still buy it. The key is convenience. You are getting a chilled can , where you are, when you are thirsty, so you can quench your thirst right there.
Now lets look at the cost of the drink when you buy it at the multiplex, whether its a can or from the fountain. Its even more expensive than the vending machine. How come?
Its because of two factors – first, you are in a closed environment where there’s no other vendor selling the drink – so there’s no competition, its a monopolistic situation for that location. You cannot come out of the multiplex to find a vending machine near the multiplex, take a can and go back in. Most movie theatres don’t allow outside food and drinks inside their premises.
Now the second point – when you go to the multiplex, you are with your family or with your boy/girl friend on a date. You don’t want to be seen as stingy. You want to enjoy your time, you want to also want to show-off. So you buy the popcorn and you take the large drink because the popcorn will make you thirsty, even though you know its way expensive.
Now there are all kinds of customers you will face for your services as well. One customer may prefer to carry a can, in her bag, so in case she feels thirsty, she can take it out of the bag and drink it. It may not be chilled, but she is saving money. These kind of customers will always want you, to give them the lowest price of the services and say they will take care of the rest.
Then there’s another set who is okay with paying for the convenience if there’s a definite benefit. This kind of customer will expect you to do the “whole” thing for her on a turnkey basis even if it costs more on the components but she does not take a chance of something failing. A lot of B2B customers fall in this category because they don’t want to have situation where something doesn’t work because one of the separate components doesn’t work. You can charge a substantial amount of money because the customer values the fact that you will ensure that things will work. This is the concept of System Integrator in B2B companies or a media house.
The highest value is being in a kind of a monopolistic situation – but it can cut both ways. So, as an example, if you are the only company which can provide services on a specific kind of a product, then you get to charge a price which is much higher than the market. So if you are in a niche which is large for you to make money but small or fragmented for your competitors, then you can make a lot of money.
On the other hand, and this is the downside, if that product on which you are selling services, stops selling, then your business comes to an end. A lot of movie theatres had to close shop because of the Covid restrictions as an example while the Costco/Walmart or vending machines continued working.
If you are making enough profit then you can survive and have the marketing stamina to get into other markets if one market starts collapsing. So as a practice try to create your services such they are more convenient for the buyer or where you can be in a monopolistic situation.
Till next time then.