How Can You Find New Ways to Add Value?
On a business trip to New York City this week, I stopped in at the newly opened Whole Foods Market at Bryant Park.In case you don’t know, Bryant Park sits smack dab in the middle of midtown Manhattan. It’s about as bustling a spot as you’ll find anywhere in NYC.It looked like everyone and their cousin was going into Whole Foods. The place was packed. Every single aisle was filled with customers.As I went through the produce section, I saw a line up in front of me.That's when I saw it.I literally heard myself say out loud, "Wow--that's clever!" The line in front of me snaked up to a counter, with a sign overhead: Produce Butcher.It took a moment to register. At first, it made no sense. A Produce Butcher? It's nothing I’d ever heard of before. Or even every imagined before. What would that be?It is exactly as it sounds. The concept is quite simple. After you finish selecting the produce you want to buy, you bring it up to the Produce Butcher.At the counter, the "butcher" will cut your produce the way you want it: julienned, minced, sliced, diced, or chopped.There’s a small fee for the service: $1 per pound of bulk veggies, or $1 per item.Then, when you get home…voila! Your vegetables are already prepped for cooking. One less thing for you to do.Pretty clever.Whole Foods has been in business since 1980. The Bryant Park store is their 468th store. Yet, the Produce Butcher is a brand new innovation for them. This is the first store that has one.Now, I realize, you probably aren’t in the grocery business.But you are in the customer business. What lessons can you take away from the Produce Butcher?How can you approach your customer with fresh eyes? How can you consider the complete customer experience? What additional ways can you add value on their experience continuum?How can you make their lives easier? Simpler?How can you save them time? Effort?How can you build a stronger relationship with them?How can you get your customers to say "Wow--that's clever!"How can you create a “Produce Butcher” in your near future? Where will you start?