Color and Commerce

i’ve searched for months for an effective alternative to Pantone‘s color kit, which i can’t afford. but this morning, whilst shopping at home depot i picked up several amazing color guides for FREE in the paint section. sure, they don’t have the computer or printing codes on them, but they do suggest color schemes, which takes several steps out of my process.

it got me thinking, too, how harmonious it all was. here was a situation where i received FREE color consultation in exchange for viewing suggested products. and i loved it. the experience was kind of like shopping at, where i get free reading suggestions just for doing so on their website. i like that concept–merchants are so eager to sell me product that they give me service.

i’ve been starting Tim SandersLove is the Killer App, in which he cites Joseph Pine and James Gilmore‘s The Experience Economy. Pine and Gilmore see the arrow of economic history going from first a commodity phase, then a goods phase, on to the service economy, and then today’s experience economy. but what i witnessed this morning was the opposite–the service provided for free so that i might buy the goods.

how can this be? perhaps it’s because today’s electronic boom is providing services at ever-lower prices, while the goods are getting more and more expensive. electronic services tend to have a high setup cost, but run with a low cost of maintenance. then again, witness the trend of cell phone service providers to give away the goods in order to make you pay for the service. a recent article i read argued that as cars get more services integrated into them (web browsing, streaming audio and video, interactive directions), manufacturers will give them away as well.

it’s a brave new economy we live in–who knows what tomorrow will bring? if you do, let me know.