This Is What Smart Businesses Actually Sell: Time.
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
I plug in my headphones and tap on the Podcasts app. The chosen podcast of the day is Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. Oprah's voice starts playing in between my ears as she greets her listeners with her usual opening sentence:
I'm Oprah Winfrey. Welcome to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast where I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time. Taking time to be more fully present in your journey to becoming more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us.
In this day and age, I've noticed a significant cultural shift towards being more mindful of how we spend our time. Even Oprah is talking to us about time as a concept, cleverly noting on how much her listeners value time. And Oprah isn't the only person. There's also an article on Forbes saying that successful people think that time is their most important asset. Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media argues that businesses that are able to sell back our time are the ones that are prospering.
If you really think about it, it's amazing how companies who are able to use time as a selling point have done so well for themselves. Take app-based services, for an example. With the tap of a finger, you can get food delivered to your front door when you order from UberEats, Deliveroo, JustEat, etc. Don't want to go grocery shopping? Ocado offers grocery delivery services. With Uber, Lyft, ViaVan and Kapten, you're able to arrange for a car to come to your house without having to wait for a cab. I'm also very reliant on my online bank, Monzo because I don't have to visit an actual bank when I can manage my accounting online. One of the fastest-growing health apps, Babylon Health ensures that you can video call a doctor from your phone without having to wait at the hospital. Similarly, TalkSpace makes sure you have access to a therapist if you don't have the time or energy to visit one in real life. The apps that I mentioned are just a small example of the giant ripple effect that online retailers have stirred in the waters. And here's the thing: smart businesses are constantly finding a way to sell back time to their consumers through new product development. For example, Amazon recently developed Amazon Go, a convenience store without check out points where you can take items from shelves, fill them in your shopping bags and walk out. Cashless, quick and easy. And perhaps that's the greatest value proposition you could have in 2019: paying back your consumers with the currency of time.