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The 3 R’s of Habit Forming Products

Fabletics.com sells workout outfits, with new styles coming out on the first of every month.

Netflix has fulfilled in us the need to binge watch entire tv show seasons on the weekends.

A stop at Tim Hortons is a morning ritual on your daily commute to work.

As you can guess, these brands have high customer lifetime values, therefore, they can project high profits every quarter. They have essentially created habit forming products that increase the likelihood and frequency of purchase.

There are a variety of factors that can help in creating habit forming products and services, here are a few to consider:

  • Create a Ritual
  • Repetition in Product/Service Offering
  • Being Relentless


The Ritual

First off, it’s important to really understand your customers. How is your product/service going to fit into their daily lives? How can you make it fit? What time of the day? Where? Once, you have these particulars figured out, you can then build your product/service around your customer’s day. You’ll notice by the examples that all three are based on a particular time when the product fits in conveniently in the customer’s life, which creates a sort of, ritual.

  • First of the month = new gym outfits straight to my inbox.
  • Weekend = House of Cards new season straight to my TV.
  • Morning = coffee on my way to work.

Often times, it may not be possible to make buying funky t-shirts a ritual, however some of the marketing strategies around selling the t-shirts can be ritualistic. An example of this is email campaigns that are theme based or feature a particular type of design/designer/theme once every month.

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A ritual becomes a ritual if it’s repeated, so now you have to figure out how to keep customers coming back. Fabletics offers a decent discount for your first 3-piece outfit and you become a VIP member. The VIP status means you have access to these discounted outfits every month, it also means Fabletics keeps your credit card on file and charges you after the 5th of the month, if you don’t waive the charge. This brings you back to the site every month to not only check out the new styles, but also waive the charge on your credit card. In most cases, you’ll end up buying something.

For a smaller retailer, this enticement could be free shipping or a small gift during a certain time of the month, like every Third Thursday. The point is to create something enticing to keep customers coming back to your site.


Be Relentless

Creating a habitual product or service creates an emotional group of customers who will most certainly ask for a fresh coffee if there is cream in it instead of milk, or write bad reviews on Twitter, Yelp, and Google Plus if there is a small inkling of your product/service that rubbed them the wrong way. In this case, you need to be relentless in providing a quality product/service and exceptional customer service. As much as this group can be ruthless, they can also be powerful ambassadors. Your most habitual customers will start coming back to your store even during off times as well as spread the word to their friends about how awesome you are.

Creating a product and service that has a high likelihood of frequency of purchase is what will create a sustainable business model. This is done through building a ritual that fits conveniently into your customer’s everyday routine, promoting repetition by having something enticing so customers return to your store, and lastly, being relentless in offering a superb product/service and customer service.

Do you have a product or service that you have made into a habit for your customers?

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