As I rushed to the airport yesterday morning, the thought of the dwindling battery on my phone kept me anxious. More so, the nagging feeling I’d leave my charger in my truck as I flew from Bellingham to Dallas to visit my wife, where she has been staying the past 5 months during a career change.
“It’s alright, Andy,” I told myself. “They will have chargers you can buy if needed. If you forget, it can’t be worse than last time, when you forgot your prescription sunglasses.”
And it’s true. Airports have taken on a presence that provides pretty much anything you’d need. Except, maybe, a shower—my 3:30 wake up didn’t allow me that luxury and it was leaving me a bit self-conscious.
I was right, but not in the way I expected. Even a small airport like Bellingham International Airport carries your staple necessities. There it was: a Best Buy vending machine for headphones, chargers, and other frequently forgotten or upgraded digital hardware items for flights.
OUT OF THE BOX DIVERSIFICATION
It’s a smart move on Best Buy’s part, diversifying by spreading their recognized brand into new areas, and providing the consumer with added brand-name alternatives beyond the two, maybe three overpriced poor quality selections of the old days.
Here you could pick up products from Sony, Beats, and more, with typical price points from inexpensive to top-of-the-line.
Now, it’s probably not a huge revenue generator for the retail brand, but it’s definitely a smart move.
For the brand loyal, card holder, and rewards member, it’s the obvious choice when compared to the standard airport convenience store: go with the trusted name as opposed to the stereotypically overpriced airport store.
I may not be brand loyal to Best Buy, but I sure as hell know which one I’d pick.
SOLVING CONSUMER PROBLEMS
I remember the days of old; they weren’t that long ago. If you forgot something, you’d have this sinking feeling in your stomach: now you’d have to go into an infamously overpriced airport convenience store.
The thought even now curls my stomach.
Something as simple as a bottle of water can be up to three times the price of the same item outside the microcosm of the airport.
That’s anything but convenient. But it’s the reputation these spots have given themselves, and it is becoming their demise.
Granted, as I looked over the Best Buy vending machine, something as simple as product prices were nowhere to be found. What stood out, on the other hand, was a call out about price matching.
Still, as someone relatively savvy when it comes to technology, I wondered how easy it would be for the end user to get a discount from a vending machine based on price comparisons.
The fine print states “See Policies screen for details,” but 4:30 AM was too early for me to try it first-hand and find out.
THE CONVENIENT TRUTH
The consumer push for convenience is everywhere, from how we rush through the self-checkout at grocery stores to how we buy cars.
Businesses like Best Buy these days are more apt to position themselves in a manner that provides a quick sale. For box chain brands like Best Buy, it makes sense with the scope of options at consumer fingertips.
And the result is that it’s more and more rare to find businesses geared toward creating brand community. They exist, but even they are hopping on the convenience bandwagon. After all, it’s what consumers demand.
So, for the small business owner or mid level marketer, the question must become: how can I position my company to make it easier for my customer? Be open to try anything and think outside the box, because the answer may not be what you expect.