I was recently thinking about the changing business model for many brick and mortar stores, like Best Buy. Where Best Buy used to be price competitive, they now charge a steep markup in-store. People making these purchases seem to be mostly those unaware of the true price. I occasionally purchase from their stores as well, when I absolutely need a physical item and can not get it shipped. Chris had the pleasure of listening to me vent about the absurdity of purchasing a $25 ethernet cable the other day.
Basic economic theory holds that competition should put downwards pressure on prices to where they approach equilibrium, and are fairly close to the cost of manufacturing. Yet this is not happening for ethernet cables. Why is that?
When you boil it down, it seems to be convenience -- you're able to purchase the physical item when you want it, and examine it before you purchase it. Going further, though, convenience doesn't only apply to in-store items.
Weebly is a great example of the power of convenience. When we started off, we heard "Oh, web hosting... that's a commodity" quite a bit. Most people considered it a "solved" problem, and quite boring. But the problem of designing visually appealing content, uploading media, and hosting web pages was far from solved, and a simple, easy to use solution gained quite a bit of traction fairly rapidly.
Which begs the question: "How do you model convenience?"
When analyzing competition, it's quite easy to model out all of the service characteristics, such as features and price. In fact, if you compare Weebly to several horribly outdated web site creators, the feature list might not look that different. The user experience, on the other hand, would be. Where Weebly shines is its simplicity and ease of use. Or, more simply: convenience.
Hopefully, someone with experience could shed some light. How do you model for convenience?