Nothing lasts forever…or does it?
If something could last forever, what would the business model look like? Products may include a lifetime warranty with a marketing message saying, “Buy it today and never have to buy it again.”
Think about it. If the marketing message is true, you will never have to spend a penny more on this product. It’s a tempting proposition for the customer, but it doesn’t seem as appealing to the company offering this lifetime warranty. If the company keeps its promise, it will never find you as a regular customer. This is a one-time sale. Where is it?
Everything I talk about and write about is based on a customer experience that gets people to say, “I’ll be back.” But perhaps the goal shouldn’t always be to bring the customer back. It may be a product that the customer buys only once. And this product does what it’s supposed to do, but the experience during the buying process was so good that even if the customer doesn’t come back, they tell everyone about it. This means that one customer can equal many more customers.
Google the search term “products that last a lifetime,” and you’ll find plenty — everything from All-Clad cookware to Zippo lighters and everything in between.
These companies create products that last a lifetime. Because the quality is so good, either the customer tells others about it (great word of mouth marketing), comes back to buy the product as a gift for someone else (then maybe there is an opportunity loyalty program) or returns to buy other products offered by the company. The point is that the warranty builds trust. Experience creates trust. This combination makes customers want to come back.
I bought a set of Cutco steak knives. They have a lifetime warranty. The seller said I would never buy another set of knives again. The seller was almost right. I didn’t buy another set of knives for myself, but bought a few as gifts. Not done!
But it goes further. Cutco sells more than steak knives. It sells bread knives, paring knives, carving knives and more. I may never buy another set of steak knives, but I need more knives – and I bought them, all with similar lifetime warranties.
Speaking of Cutco, my friend, John Ruhlin, is the world’s No. 1 seller of Cutco knives. He’s also the world’s foremost gifting expert and best-selling author of Giftology. He recently wrote about the Centenary light bulb, which inspired me to write this article. For those unfamiliar, this is the oldest light bulb in history. So far it has lasted over a million hours, that’s over 121 years! Ruhlin says, “This light bulb is proof that manufacturers can make products that last. But they don’t. Because where’s the money in an iPhone that lasts forever? »
In fact, there’s a lot of money in an iPhone that lasts forever. Let’s say Apple created an iPhone that would last forever. You would still buy accessories such as screen protectors, headphones and more. That’s fine, but there’s a bigger picture. Apple is not going to stop with this version of the iPhone. He will make updated versions. While some people will be proud to carry around an old phone, others (like most) will want the latest and greatest, despite the lifetime warranty.
While Ruhlin’s angle is about creating a giving experience that builds a relationship stillI approach this subject with the idea that with the right experience, customers come back or talk about you still! As a business, even if you don’t offer your customers a tangible item, you offer them an experience. OK, make gifts may not be the right word. What would you say giving? The customer wants and expects this experience, and when you give to them they return. Even if your product is a product that lasts forever, sell it with an experience that gets customers talking about you and, even better, makes them say, “I want more.”