Chapter 7: Experience as the DNA of a changed relationship between firms and institutions and individuals
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Based on the argument that goods and services have become or are rapidly becoming commoditized, Pine and Gilmore (1998) claim that companies need to focus more on the customer and offer experiences as distinct economic offerings to be able to differentiate themselves and gain competitive advantage. Although attention for the importance of experience has increased enormously in the last decade, the idea that the customer and how he or she experiences things as a very important aspect of consumption has existed for much longer (for example, Levy, 1959; Boorstin, 1964; Toffler, 1970; MacCannell, 1976; Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). The raison d’être of the experience economy is the need to de-commoditize economic offerings, thereby maintaining or increasing profit margins and making sure that customers choose economic offerings not solely based on price. The main reason that is given for entering a new economy is that since many economic offerings are nowadays similar in characteristics, features, quality and price, the importance of other differentiating aspects as an opportunity for competitive advantage in the marketplace increases (Dumaine, 1991). This development lies behind the current focus on experiences.

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