We are already inside the experience economy and it took a long evolutionary process to get us here. After all, the principle of any economy is always about supply and demand. However, if in the past the supply and demand process was first linked to the production of durable goods, then products and then services, we now have a new challenge on our hands. What is on offer nowadays has grown a lot and is greater and more varied than demand, which is why companies must find effective methods to attract the attention of potential customers.
The key concept in the experience economy is time. Time is, in fact, a limited resource, as is people’s attention. If a company manages to engage customers, they are more likely to spend time looking at the company’s offers. So a business’ primary goal is to be able to entertain potential customers and hold their attention. How? By creating specific experiences, which convince them that their time has been well spent.
Lego and Disney promise much more than just an object, they represent a value linked to the experience of spending time in a ‘world-setting’.
The best way to understand whether or not an experience works, is to look at the profits. We can use the case of City Walks in Los Angeles as an example; it is a place that brings restaurants, shops, theatres and cinemas together. Customers pay for parking. In Los Angeles, people get around exclusively by car, so they do not find it unusual to pay for a parking space to spend a day shopping, whereas they would find it strange to have to pay an entrance ticket for a simple walk. However, the parking money is then refunded to people who buy products in shops and restaurants in that area. This strategy is simple and effective. The goal is to get people to come in and spend money.
There are many types of experiences that can be created, but all of them must be engaging, interesting and incredible, to be considered a part of the experience economy.