Design thinking, the underlying mindset and philosophy behind design: the mindset of creating something new and useful (DiMeo, 2019). When designs are complex, they can be overwhelming and confusing. This complexity makes the design unusable to the consumer, which negates one of the core purposes of design: to make something useful. Designs, therefore, should be simple and focused (Wu, 2019). In the technology industry, design has changed from overcomplexity through packing in a ton of features to now focusing on simplicity (Yen, 2014). Companies are grasping onto this idea. Philips Electronics, for instance, advertises “Sense and Simplicity” and Bank of America advertises “Clear, easy-to-understand products.” In a more complex and unpredictable world, there is an increasing desire from consumers for simple products without complications that work quickly and easily (Ashkenas, 2011).
Simplicity in design is sought after and offers a key competitive advantage. The simple design of Apple (iPhone, etc.) and Google (Google.com, Nest, Pixel, etc.) echo this consumer desire. A high level of achieving excellence through focus has meant incredible success for Google and Apple. Steve Jobs even said “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains” (In quotes: Apple’s Steve Jobs, 2011).
Value is the monetary worth of a product in the eyes of the consumer. It is also something that the customer would pay for. A products’ value can be measured by how much it exceeds the expectations of the customers. Things that add value to a product are new features that improve user experience, improved packaging and design, improved customer onboarding, after-sales service and support, and speed of delivery (Yu, 2022). Anything that makes customers’ lives easier or more beautiful adds value to a product. Anything that allows a customer to do things quicker or more accurately adds value to a product.
One thing that I have experienced that is a good example of a service adding value is Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime has several value-added features. Access to movies, expedited shipping, music, and photo storage are some of them. The way that Amazon supports clients AFTER the sale is extremely valuable with me. They take the risk out of purchasing. I have ordered items with a warranty and the seller and manufacturer never responded to my warranty attempts. I was unable to process a warranty claim at all through the seller. The seller effectively ‘ghosted’ me. Amazon support reviewed my message attempts to the seller and immediately refunded me my money. Amazon took the risk out of buying because they turned a potentially bad situation into a situation with a satisfied customer.
I have had similar experiences with PayPal in the past as well. Online sellers failed to ship or acknowledge my order after taking my money. PayPal refunded my money each time. PayPal took the risk out of purchasing. Because of this support experience, I now use PayPal on every site that supports it. I know that if something goes wrong, PayPal has my back.
Both these examples of Amazon and PayPal are examples of companies adding value to their service through after-sale support. The level of service and support that they give their customers creates loyal customers. Even though Amazon is usually not the cheapest source for something, I often still use Amazon because of the after-purchase support, similar to how I use PayPal with other online purchases. The after-purchase support is extremely valuable and differentiating. Credit cards and banks have never given me that amount of consumer protection. Every time I have called a credit card or a bank, they told me that it was between merchant and myself. PayPal and Amazon raise the bar for that level of support.
Anderson, J. and Narus, J. (1998, November). Business Marketing: Understand What Customers Value. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/1998/11/business-marketing-understand-what-customers-value
Ashkenas, R. (2011, February 16). Simplicity Sells. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ronashkenas/2011/02/16/simplicity-sells/?sh=1954f9a96a67
DiMeo, A. (2019, January 22). Design Thinking vs. Design Process. Retrieved from https://www.trig.com/explore/design-thinking-and-the-design-process-whats-the-difference
In quotes: Apple’s Steve Jobs. (2011, October 6). BBC. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-15195448
Wu, C. (2019, October 15). Simplicity in Design. Do You Know What Makes Product Design Great? Retrieved from https://thrivethinking.com/2019/10/15/simplicity-in-design/
Yen, S. (2014, August 11). How Design Thinking Drives Competitive Advantage. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/08/11/how-design-thinking-drives-competitive-advantage/?sh=75b4f2da504a
Yu, E. (2022, September 12). 5 Ways to Add Product Value & Increase Market Share. ProfitWell. Retrieved from https://www.priceintelligently.com/blog/bid/183460/5-ways-to-boost-product-values-with-your-pricing-strategy