Last weekend I was sent to Wal-Mart to pick up three items.  As I stood there looking at the long lines waiting to pay, and all of the unopened registers, I thought…”I would pay an extra $20 to open up one of these lines for me”.  It sounds ridiculous that I would pay more for my convenience than for the actual items, but the fact is there was a football game I wanted to get home to watch, and I just didn’t have the time or patience to wait in Wal-Mart’s lines.  This is certainly not a knock on Wal-Mart, as they were moving people through the lines very quickly.  My actual wait was not that long.  However at that moment, my time seemed a lot more valuable than my money.

So this got me thinking…What is my convenience worth? Here is a list of scenarios that I feel confident I would be willing to pay extra just to avoid the hassle of the typical:

  • Renewing my license at the DMV
  • Using the restroom at the State Fair
  • Casting my vote on Election Day
  • Getting through security at the Airport
  • Traffic jams

What a great revenue source this could be for some of these organizations.  I’d be very happy to pay an additional $5 to the State Fair organizers to be able to flash my badge of honor as I passed the masses on my way to the port-a-potty.  Of course many organizations have already realized this.  Take for example my children’s school lunch program.  I have four children, and keeping up with how much is in their lunch accounts has always been a pain.  “Daddy, the lunch lady says I’m out of money and I won’t get lunch tomorrow.”  Recently the school system associated themselves with an online program.  I had to pay $10 to register, but now I can check the balance on everyone’s account.  In addition, I can make deposits into all the kids’ lunch accounts at the transactional fee of $1.95.  I do not think twice about paying that additional $2 to avoid having to give the children checks every other week.

Big Ticket events, such as concerts and sports, started charging for their online tickets years and years ago.  I’ve seen “service fees” in excees of $15 for some concerts.  When I heard about the extra costs, I always thought it was crazy and no one would be willing to pay it.  However as soon as that concert came around that I wanted to see, I didn’t think twice about the convenience of purchasing the ticket online rather than going to a box office or spending an hour on hold with the ticket center. 

In today’s technology driven world, I believe consumers are not only educated to expect to pay “service fees”, but are also actually quite willing to pay for their convenience.  Whether you are selling a movie ticket, an admission to your facility, a t-shirt and/or booking a party, adding a convenience fee to your online sales is expected, and can provide you with an additional revenue source.

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