Experience Economy: Yeti

You know the Render Experiences team is all about the experience. And The Experience Economy (our manifesto) tells us you can charge a premium price for a product or service as long as you're staging an experience.

During our recent travels, we were able to experience the new Yeti flagship store in Austin, TX, which is thriving due in large part to their incorporation of many tenets of The Experience Economy.

Three things you should know about this space:

  1. It is the only place (physical or online) in the country where you can customize your Yeti cooler and products with your choice of buckles and latches.

  2. They don't just want to sell you a cooler but also the lifestyle of owning one of their coolers (the bar, cornhole, boat, etc).

  3. In a world where technology is difficult to manage and maintain, they threw people at their customers. Lots of staff around to help chat with you about their products and help you customize your experience.

Biggest missed opportunity: They didn't set expectations about how to best experience the store or why we should explore all the experiential pieces.

Memory we'll have forever: We overheard them tell a customer from Illinois that if he were to customize his Yeti cooler, he'd only be 1 out of about 20 people in the entire state of Illinois to own a customized Yeti. Talk about captializing on the values of discovery and provenance!

The Great Debate: Technology

Technology, technology, technology. Just because we can doesn't always mean we should. We field a lot of questions about installing technology into Welcome/Visitor Centers - the content that should be on them, the right size, etc.

In our experience, technology can be cool in a Welcome Center space if it's done well. Touchscreens are all the rage, but they are expensive to install and update. We also find families don't want their choices on a touchscreen revealed to a crowded lobby area.

So, consider kicking it old school if you're looking for a way to engage families. Recently on a trip to my hometown, Dallas, TX, my family visited the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. We saw a special exhibit with unique collections of items - collections of Pez dispensers, Stars Wars memorabilia, historic Texas currency, and more. The display to the right included sticky notes and pencils and invited guests to write down what they collect.

What did my 12-year-old say was one of his favorite things in the museum? Reading the sticky notes that other visitors had left on the board.

To the right: So easy and fun even Gigi (my mom) and 5-year-old nephews wanted to share what they collect.

Technology can be flashy, but that doesn't make it memorable. Keep it simple (for you and your guests)!

TL;DR - High touch doesn't have to be high tech.

Yes, his hair is blue/green. It was a summer phase. 

Yes, his hair is blue/green. It was a summer phase. 

The Fix Is In

No Quiz Show here, just clothes on clothes on clothes.

I recently opted into my first Stitch Fix. It's been on our experience radar for awhile, and it was time I took the plunge. As someone who travels often, hates clothes shopping, and lives in a somewhat rural area, Stitch Fix seemed like a good fit for me. (All the puns.)

My two favorite parts:

  1. Stitch Fix seems to understand that setting expectations is key. They reinforce their process several times - on their website when you sign up, again in your confirmation email, right when you open the box (see left) and again on your order form. You're never lost along the way.
  2. Part of the process of getting the right items sent to you is a labor-intensive, detailed online questionnaire. Aside from me putting in clothes sizes and determining how much I would spend per piece, there were a lot of questions about my personality. Am I a top & jeans or more a dresses kind of gal? Do I wear a lot of gold jewelry, silver or a good mix of both?

My favorite part was getting to look at clothes collections and rate them from "Hate It" to "Love It" (see example below). This is where I feel like I truly revealed my style and what I was looking for in clothes.

The last piece of the process was Stitch Fix asking to peruse my social networks (see below). What better way to get to know me than to look at social media that I've been curating for years? My stylist gets to see what I normally wear and the personality behind it.

From this experience, two questions for you:

  1. If you have a super-detailed campus visit, a cumbersome registration process or complex directions on how to arrive to campus, what else can you do to set expectations beyond a confirmation email? That's just one touch point - what are other mediums you can use?
  2. The registration process is often the same at every institution. Name, address, what year you intend to enroll, potential major... But are you really getting to know students? Should you be asking for an Instagram account or a LinkedIn profile to help make the visit as personalized as possible?

And just in case anyone is dying to know - I kept one very soft, cream-colored sweater from my Fix that is sure to keep me warm on winter campus tours!