They absolutely adore your goods and services, but can’t get them otherwise. Now, how much they pay is a different story. By all means, you don’t want to target at the price-sensitive crowd. Yes, they are the majority. Yes, you can build on volumes. However, is your operating efficiency unbeatable among your competitors? You get a feel that you are going to war. It’s going to be bloody. You keep your business so lean that it’s next to impossible to squeeze out another penny. You are in the battlefield. Your goal is monopoly! Well, if that describes you, then yes, you definitely want to fight the price war. It will never last long. Even Walmart is transforming. If you dare to compare, Walmart is not exactly cheap anymore. When you are young, that’s okay, because you love the sweat and the blood. But, as you get older, you want to bring value to your customers. More often than not, the price-sensitive buy a lot and throw away a lot. It’s not exactly good for the Earth and its people.
Every industry is different, but one thing remains the same: consumer experience. Well, Microsoft is evil, because they don’t give you a choice. Every computer you buy, whatever the size, is preloaded with Windows that you can format away but have paid for none the less. Why should Microsoft care? You’ve already paid! Now, the question remains, why do you buy Office, which is rarely preloaded? Well, everyone else is using Office. I can’t be different. Stop! Are you a teen? But, I want my documents to look exactly the same for me and for my readers. Well, PDF is the technology to use. After all, you still have to guarantee that your readers are using the same version of Office, which is not exactly easy. So, what’s the problem with PDF? Well, I have to print, not to a printer but to a file! See, if that one extra button click is the excuse to pay for those extra 400 bucks, we are all doomed!
Windows is the #1 seller while Office is the #2 seller, worldwide, my friend! They are quite expensive compared to alternatives, but we still love them. Why? They are so easy to use! If you still remember that once upon a time, computing was in fact quite intimidating, especially in front of your girlfriend who seemed to know better than you because she used a Mac, then you know what I mean. Those are the good days when you were trying to figure out whether the command is “remove” or “delete” or “erase” or “dump” while watching your Mac friends dragging whatever they saw on their desktops to their bins. Fortunately, Microsoft learned to incorporate most synonyms in their internal commands to save you from those sweet embarrassing moments. A blush on a man’s face is priceless!
Still, why would consumers pay? In the software world, it’s simple: they think you are worth it! As a student, you have to write papers. As an employee, you have to write reports. If you save 2 hours a day while producing documents of higher quality and better look, all simply by using Office, then yes, paying those extra few hundred dollars every couple of years makes perfect sense. It’s utility. It’s value. When you have more time having a cup of coffee and looking outside the window for inspirations, you remember Office, unconsciously or not.
I am not saying that your apps must be as successful as Office, which we always pay for without hesitation. After all, we all have 24 hours a day only and it’s not easy to find another killer app that saves us 2 more hours a day by providing productivity. A need is stronger than a want. No matter how good your computer game is, it won’t beat that Office box.