We all know the digital economy is changing the way we buy goods and services. But if it wasn’t enough for brick-and-mortar businesses to keep up with internet purchasing, now they are fending with consumers choosing experiences (i.e., anything that Amazon Prime can’t ship you) ahead of “stuff.”

People are hungrier than ever for things that don’t come packed in Styrofoam. Consumers are now treating their money as a more valuable, finite resource and are choosing to spend it on items that won’t rip, shrink, or decay.

Perhaps MasterCard’s “Priceless” ad campaign was ahead of its time. No matter what people purchased in the commercial, it paled in comparison to the experience, whether it was making someone feel better or enjoying childhood innocence. Anything you couldn’t easily put a price-tag on was revered, and people instantly connected with the advertisements. (Of course, it took a credit-card company to tell us this. I know!)

Groupon’s ads – whether for Mother’s Day or summer vacation – are themed around experiences. Something like: Don’t just show mom you love her with some overpriced candies; pamper her with a spa day or a brunch date together! Sure, they are selling you “stuff” on their website, but Groupon’s pitch is highly customized and emphasizes sharing things with those who matter most.

If you haven’t been swept up in the changing economy, just look at vacancies in your local downtown or shopping mall. What it boils down to: You can buy most items you need online, and people would rather spend their precious free time with friends and loved ones, experiencing the world around them, instead of hunting for a parking space or waiting in line.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the shift in our behavior than the experience of eating.

You can’t go 10 miles without running into a gourmet food truck selling you trendy Korean tacos or upscale chicken and waffles. They’ve turned the whole business paradigm on its head. Why pay ridiculous rents and overhead to keep the lights on during non-peak hours when I can create an in-demand dining experience out of a 1986 Chevy?

But while passive window-shoppers have given way to well-informed clientele searching out unique experiences, the profile of a strong Customer Service team member has remained constant. Whether people are looking for artisanal cheese or a white-water-rafting excursion, the service employee’s behavioral competencies for serving them are the same.

When it comes to those whom you entrust to engage with your customers, Caliper’s equipped with scientifically backed competencies that let you know if employees are going to be focused on your guests’ enjoyment and satisfaction above all else.

Caliper can also help you pinpoint whether you are meant to be your own boss and how we can augment your leadership style. While we can’t help you find grandma’s tamale recipe or the secret ingredient to a killer BBQ sauce, we can help you best serve your customers in this “food-truck economy.”