In this culture, it’s easy to assume bigger is better. More stores, increased territories, bigger catalogs, more staff, bigger buildings. But there is a problem when being the biggest is the end goal (well, there are a lot of problems with this…). One problem with quick growth is how easily it forces you to sacrifice other qualitative AND quantitative measurables. Are your customers happy? Will they return? Are there clear and open feedback loops? What is your public perception? Are sales up? Are your product sales sustainable or will the cheap manufacturing be realized and one season of high sales die after online reviews?
There was a time when quality was the ruler of the land. Then, affordability became king of the consumer empire. But consumers are demanding quality more and more. In the last 20 years with lower prices, bigger reach, and more offerings driving development, quality took a hit. And now, the demand for quality is high. And it’s the same across industries. 3 real life examples:
I can’t afford to buy 4 cheap hoses in 2 years. Because they all ended up cracking, kinking, and breaking. The time, money, and frustration required to return, exchange, shop – its unbearable! I am now willing to spend more for a quality hose that will last and perform the way I expect.
I remember shopping to find the cheapest fly line tippet for fly fishing. After loosing a few fish because my cheap line broke, I never use that brand again. Sure, it costs 50% less than the good fluorocarbon line. But in the end it is a better value for me to use the good stuff, because over time it pays it dividend in fishy rewards.
Let’s get down to the garden level: zucchinis. You can wait and harvest those puppies when they are the size of a watermelon! They look pretty cool, and the wow factor is great when you are showing off your harvest, but are big zucchinis better? Sure, they have some good uses, like making tons of zucchini bread and impressing your friends. But in the end, they are mealy, tasteless, and don’t satisfy when they are cooked up. The key to zucchinis is harvesting when they are smaller than a cucumber. They hold their shape, are full of flavor, and are killer sliced into spears and cooked over the BBQ grill with salt, pepper, and olive oil. With zucchinis, bigger is certainly not better. The quality and reward is simply not there.
And it’s not just me. Folks are bouncing back from the economy crash and they are spending the money they have been holding onto. Perhaps affordability is still king, but it rules in a way that helps consumers realize they can’t afford cheap product anymore. No longer is the question, “What is cheapest” but it is rather, “What can I afford that will last the longest and have the best quality?“