Supplements. It’s a loaded word with lots of applications. In the context of our business discussion today, we are going to stick solely with a narrowly defined meaning.
When your customers buy your product or service, are they required to, or is it helpful for them to buy something in addition to what you have sold them? For example, my wife recently purchased a car. It had beautiful carpet on the floors and we didn’t wish to destroy it with heel marks, grime, moisture, etc. We bought after-market floor mats custom sized to fit the vehicle, thereby protecting the carpet. This is a supplement. Simply stated, it is a product or service that is supplemental to your product or service.
Most of you have thought of these issues. However, most have not thought of these issues in the context of blockages to use of your product or service as it pertains to the customer experience or the levers on the vertical axis in the image below.
If the supplements required affect utility and the buyer’s experience in use of your product or service, you likely need to know why, how, and when in the use of your offering these blockages take place.
If you don’t control the buyer experience around supplements, i.e. there required use, their parameters, and how best to choose and access them, then you don’t have the ability to communicate or control the buyer experience. You’re at risk.
Questions to ask:
- Does one need other products and services to make your offering work?
- If so, how costly are they and where does the user find them?
- How much time does it add to satisfactory use?
- How much pain do they cause? How much pleasure do they add?
When you ask these questions around buyer experiences while keeping them in mind relative to the six levers above, you risk finding numerous shortcomings in your offerings. You also uncover opportunities for value innovation, new markets, and ancillary products or services that enhance your current offering.
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Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Certified Blue Ocean Strategist residing in Nashville, TN.