This interesting article in the New York Times revisits the Radiohead experiment of allowing its fans to pay what they want for a new album from the band. (I write about this in more depth in the upcoming Brand New World).
According to the article:
The experimenters, Ju-Young Kim, Martin Natter and Martin Spann, persuaded three small businesses in or near Frankfurt — a buffet restaurant, a movie theater and a delicatessen — to adopt pay-what-you-want schemes. On average, customers across the three businesses (who were not always aware of the products’ regular prices) paid 86 percent of normal rates. Customers were stingiest at the movie theater, where they seemed to think the posted prices were inflated. They were most generous at the deli, where they paid 9.8 percent more for hot beverages than the going rate, a finding that seemed linked to the amount of face-to-face chatter between customers and the deli owner. (Emphasis is mine.)
By providing a unique and beneficial experience — choosing a price instead of having one dictated to the consumer — we are able to experientialize the purchase decision. Check out the sidebar. People are into it. And when you personalize it with one-on-one interaction, the generosity flows.
Herein lies, perhaps, a significant step towards an experiential approach to retail beyond the physical experience of the store, the product and the message.