Unbox Move Day—novelty within a service

“The experience economy emphasizes that what customers buy are not only the benefits from the service offering, but also the experience around what is being sold.”
—Joseph Pine and James Gilmore

I remember cereal box prizes as a kid. That element of surprise during an otherwise daily routine was something I always looked forward to. Novelty components of a product or service aim to capitalize on creating memorability through unconventionality. What will we remember long-term about our experiences using a product or service? It’s most likely the unexpected bonuses that stick with us.

The moving industry isn’t exactly known for exploring clever tactics in enhancing its standardized service. Afterall, what can possibly be delightful about the moving process? Maybe a fresh start in a new city or a nicer place awaits you, but getting there comes with the burden we all dread — packing, unpacking, and uprooting your life.

At Bellhops, we’re tapping into the potential of introducing a novelty aspect to the moving experience through a new packing alternative. Instead of purchasing overpriced, wasteful cardboard boxes, we’re piloting a program that enables customers to pack in reusable/recyclable IKEA FRAKTA bags (liners). On move day, the truck arrives equipped with plastic totes (bins) that bellhops transfer the packed liners into. This method has proven to cut down on the expense of single-use, wasteful cardboard and is generally easier since no assembly or disassembly of boxes is required. We call this system of making packing less painful and the moving process more efficient, “Bins & Liners.”

“An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses the service as a stage and goods as props to engage individual customers in a way that is a memorable event.”
—Paul Bulencea

Bins & Liners Pilot (phase I)

An initial pilot was conducted in our HQ hometown of Chattanooga, TN. In this 8 month proof-of-concept, we gauged how viable the system was by offering randomly selected customers the opportunity to participate free of charge. In exchange, we asked them to commit to a 15 minute in-person interview prior to packing, permission to shadow and photograph their move, and completion of a post-move survey. This qualitative data and field observation gave us a good baseline understanding of its performance potential and perceived value in market.

“I liked how quickly it allowed me to prepare for my move and unpack after the move. Boxes do not give you the flexibility of a bag and I feel there is often wasted space.”
“Packing the bags was easier than taping boxes together and packing boxes. The bags were easier to carry for the guys—they could carry 2 bags at one time.”
—(pilot participants)

Bins & Liners Pilot (phase II)

We recently launched this service in Atlanta as a next-iteration pilot program. The objective now is to gauge adoption rate when an out-of-pocket expense is required to participate. Essentially, qualifying customers will vote with their wallet and free-will.

Time will tell if this pilot is a success… will customers follow-through with buying liners over boxes and why? Which aspect of the service will appeal to them most? Is this novelty a memorable value-add, an organic customer review generator, and/or fodder for word-of-mouth referrals?

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