Although all four companies compete in different markets and in different ways, they have posted double-digit revenue growth throughout the pandemic, and two with more volatility. Their Net Promoter Scores also vary along with their pricing power. However, one impressive similarity does exist: They think outside the box. Or more accurately, they all created a new box.
Alan Kay, best known for creating the window interface for computers while at Xerox PARC, is often credited with saying, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” These four companies have done that by creating new rules that rivals must now follow. These rules provide them with the uniqueness that drives more pricing power. The more powerful those rules, the more customers are willing to pay a premium when buying there.
The Costco “triggers and treasures” approach uses a series of rules that the company follows. For example, Costco wants to provide exclusive member services and a wide selection of merchandise, all offered with shopping convenience. Omnichannel retail is near essential today, so a Costco e-commerce site was a no brainer. But herein rests the dilemma: Costco respects exclusivity and offers a select assortment of SKUs, so it’s impossible to compete with Amazon, Walmart, and others on the same playing field.
Enter a new way of thinking about customers. When assessing which areas for Costco customers possess pricing power, innovation is the highest. After overlaying the Zoom customer profile on the Costco customer profile, a few key differences emerge. Zoom customers expect more innovation and curiosity, and they get it. Is it possible to raise the bar on Costco customer expectations for innovation while still remaining authentic to their “triggers and treasures” approach?
While still not very well-known, the Costco Next program does exactly that. The program provides members with access to extremely limited time-deals (days) direct from suppliers at Costco discount prices. The result for customers is more innovation, more curiosity, more treasures. And as more members use Costco Next, they should become as happy as Zoom customers in all these areas.
To see other pricing power opportunities for Costco, Crocs, Tractor Supply and Zoom, we’ve made The W Report free to download for a limited time.