Experience Arbitrage: Your Customers Are Improvising Their Experience

Experience Arbitrage

When customers take advantage of difference “experience” costs/benefits for the same company.

Reflecting on my history in customer facing automotive, retail, and fast food projects and the customers – I’m thinking about how they use technology and the resulting experiences – and their experience is an improvised totality.

Customers are cobbleing together the experiences. They are engaging in “experience arbitrage” and taking advantage (the best they can) of the different costs and benefits of these experiences for the same company. Because companies have difficultly coordinating across channels, the one obvious constant is the customer themselves. A simple example is they are taking the knowledge they gain in one channel and using it in another channel. A more sophisticated example is when functionalities differ from one channel to another. One channel does not have a lock on the future.  Omni-channel is an aspiration from the corporate perspective. It’s not the experience of the customer. Customers switch channels not necessarily from a “preference” they have for a particular channel but from something larger (perhaps its somethign they want to do, a feeling they want to have, or a way they think about how the world works).

Ask yourself

  • How well do you understand the customers you have right now? Their needs and buying behaviors?
  • What is the pain they have in one channel that is driving them into another?


Definition of arbitrage

The simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.

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