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Peter Merholz: “The experience is the product”

This morning I received Adaptive Path’s newsletter in my inbox, which had a link to a very nice short interview with Peter Merholz, one of the founders.

Peter talks about how companies can create new dimensions in customer relationships. They should stop thinking of products as seperate objects and start realising they are part of a larger entity of experience. It is important to change the perspective of looking at what people have in their hands into an approach that starts with wondering what it is that people really want to do.

Retailers can use this by setting up better cross channel communication with customers. As an example, Peter mentions the famous Apple Store, where people can go to and try Apple products, get advice, talk to other users, etc. According to Merholz, Apple sees the importance of real-life customer contact. Where other retailers see customers running to the online stores, Apple uses this to its own benefit. They have set up a store concept that only focuses on the benefits of having a physical place: contact, atmosphere, trying, help, community feeling… A great example is the G-nius bar, where you can go for help with problems you have with an Apple product. Peter explains how clever it was of Apple to instead of ignoring that things go wrong, embrasing it. People go to the store, talk to people, get help and also have a look at the other products while they are there anyway. “I can buy that iPod for my daughter who is graduating”

Of course, we have heard this before, but what I like is that Peter makes it sounds so easy. I think it is great to see the popularity of agencies like Adaptive Path, who play a very important role in changing the tunnel-visioned companies that are stuck in filling-shelf-space type of ideas.

Another thing, isn’t it time to think of other examples than Apple? Or is it time for other companies to become more like Apple?

[tags]Peter Merholz, Adaptive Path, experience design, experiences, Apple[/tags]

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