I have purchased The Godfather Trilogy six different times. Twice on VHS, once on laserdisc, once on DVD, once on Blu-Ray, and now – finally, I think – via the iTunes store.
Why so many times? Most obviously because I love the movie. Actually, it’s the Godfather parts I and II that I love. I usually only buy part III because it’s packaged with the other two.
But the other reason I’ve purchased it so many times is because the format keeps changing. With each release the picture and sound get a little better, and I love the films so much that I want to watch and listen to them in the absolute best presentation.
Which brings us to the most recent purchase on iTunes. If I already owned it on Blu-Ray – why bother?
They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Apple has “future-proofed” movies via their iTunes store. As we move from 720 to 1080 to 2160 and whatever format comes next, Apple has stated that for any movies (or TV Shows for that matter) purchased in HD format via the iTunes store, your purchase will automatically be updated to the newest format whenever it becomes available. You’re now buying a movie, not a resolution-specific version of a movie.
Though I prefer to own a physical copy, they have made a strong case for me to make all future movie purchases via iTunes. If I had been able to do the equivalent when I made my initial purchase back in 199-, my copy would have been theoretically updated over the years. Though, admittedly, I would still have purchased the Coppola Restoration version.
Now the question becomes, how can you do the same with your offering?
Offering a warranty or guarantee will come to mind for a lot of people, but that’s something a little different. A warranty is a different type of promise, and one that’s hard to offer for content. A guarantee only comes into play if someone doesn’t like the content. This promise is for someone who loves the content.
What if an author offered a registration option when you purchased one of their books? By registering your copy directly with the author, you could receive any updates or additional content free of charge, delivered via download or streaming like the iTunes model.
This concept can be taken beyond content as well. When I purchased my last vehicle, the final deciding factor for me was the dealership’s offer of free oil changes for 3 years and throwing in that they would come get the car from me at either work or home and bring me a loaner any time an oil change was needed. For me, that “future-proofed” the next 3 years of potential hassle regarding my transportation choice.
No matter what your main offering is, invest time in brainstorming how you can future-proof it for your customers, giving them a compelling reason to choose you.
If you get it just right, maybe you’ll be bigger than U.S. Steel.