What are they actually buying from you?

Consider the last time you went to the movies. Why did you go?
If you think about it, you might say something about the movie, but more often than not, when we go to the movies we’re buying an evening out. It’s not just about the movie, it’s about sharing with people that moment — it’s a live thing. It’s the popcorn. The smell. The incredible sound and screen. But it’s a shared thing, you (usually) go there with friends, family, partner.
Unless you’re really into it and go alone to the movies, when you go it’s a shared experience. That’s why you pay for, because if not you’d stay at home and watch the movie whenever you want.
Well, while in movies this is crystal clear, other industries just don’t get it. Businesses, especially retailers, too often forget the real reason people buy from them. Consider restaurants for example. When you go to a restaurant, you’re not just paying for food — otherwise you’d end up going to a buffet. You’re paying for the experience, for the human interaction. A waiter’s job is not to bring food from the kitchen to the table, his job is to make a connection.
As time goes along, automation and technology are making this even more clear. Businesses that want to keep playing have to understand why people buy (or why should) from them, otherwise they’d get replaced sooner rather than later.