Commodities are basic, everyday goods that are interchangeable with other commodities of the same type. Therefore, the prices for most commodities of similar type are pretty much the same across the global market.
There are ways of differentiating commodities and thereby uncommoditizing them so that the most basic commodities can be upsold. Companies have been doing this for ages with things like coffee, cocoa (organic, fair trade) or beef (Coby, Alberta). Most recently, David’s Tea has differentiated an everyday commodity by making the purchasing of tea into an experience that consumers want to pay more for. David’s Tea sells you not just the tea, but the experience with the option to touch, feel and smell flavored tea leaves prior to the actual sale. With something as simple as gelato there are different ways of making it, flavoring, and presenting it which enable differentiation and provide a unique selling experience. Add to that a well-known brand, like Haagen Dazs, along with the superior flavor, ingredients and you have uncommoditized a commodity which you can then charge a premium for.
Look around and take notice of what commodities are in your life and in your work environment. Now, tell me, how can you change them, add to them, enhance them and make them exceptional?
Remember, consumers are willing to pay for being wowed, for creativity, and for special experiences.
Museums and tourist attractions have been on board with this for a while by charging their customers to be able to take pictures during their visit. Take the Opera House in Budapest, Hungary as an example – where you pay for the tour with the option to pay extra to hear an opera singer sing a few songs and then pay extra to be able to take pictures with your own camera.
One way to identify what you can uncommoditize and how you can “wow” clients is by looking at how your end client uses your products and services.
Design thinking focuses on empathizing with end users as the first step in its process. Understanding how they are ultimately using your product, how they are feeling, thinking and hearing as they use your commodity. This process should lead you to identify any unmet and unarticulated needs. This becomes your springboard for innovation! Providing a great starting point for determining how you can increase your end users experience and revolutionize your commodity to offer something that sets you apart from your competitors.
What are additional experiences you can add or sell that would provide a unique value to your clients?