My daughter just turned 10. Like many kids her age, she has been bitten by the "High School Musical" bug. So, I recently logged onto a popular virtual store to pick up the movie's DVD for her birthday. As I was making the purchase, I accepted the offer to click to chat with a service rep who-armed with my account information-let me know that several members of the "High School Musical" cast would soon be visiting a bookstore in my neighborhood. She offered to sell me tickets, and to arrange for my daughter and her friends to have dessert at a nearby coffeehouse before the show. Within seconds, my $27 purchase had grown to a $167 commerce experience. In other words, what began as a simple transaction quickly converted to what we call a commerce interaction in which both sides realized more value.
I'm sharing this story because it underscores how a company can capitalize on fundamental shifts in consumer expectations. At the heart of my transaction lies the understanding of the service provider that I wasn't just buying a DVD. Instead, I was creating a memorable birthday experience for my daughter, and the service provider helped to enable that experience. In effect, the service provider was clairvoyant to my intention, which went well beyond purchasing a DVD.