Recently I purchased a MinoHD Flip Video Camera and I was thoroughly impressed with their web site. So much so that I passed up the opportunity to save $30 by ordering on Amazon.com. Why? So that I could design the skin of the camera. Flip realized that in order to sell directly from their web site they had to create an experience and offer a service that couldn’t be replicated on other retail sites. An experience and service that people would pay for. And they did a great job too. They made it simple and the choices to customize were plenty but not overwhelming so that I would not balk about clicking “checkout”. I believe the days of competing on price for most companies are dead. Wal-Mart and other big box stores can continue down that path but for the rest of us you have to create something unique in order to get people to open their wallets. And if you are not selling a product, the folks who are interfacing with your customers must truly align with the brand and feel a duty to provide a great service. Otherwise, you just end up like the airline industry with employees who feel like pesky customers are always getting in the way of trying to do business.

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