Minibars are the purest form of capitalism. I seldom use them, but I applaud them in theory. While using a minibar isn't exactly an exercise in thrifty purchasing, it is a perfect example of hotels understanding their clientele and applying those insights for monetary opportunity.

A can of Diet Coke is rarely worth a few dollars, but the convenience of not having to leave your hotel room to get one could very well be if you know what you're getting into.

As a consumer, I personally get frustrated when I see businesses miss opportunities that will increase my satisfaction and generate extra revenue. It's irritating to go through the decision-making process of selecting a vendor and having credit card in hand only to be unable to complete the transaction because they failed to provide a particular premium option I needed.

Take Fandango: I pay a few dollars more for advanced tickets and, in return, I'm guaranteed a seat at the hottest movie instead of waiting in line, hoping tickets don't sell out before I get to the box office window.

I like to call this the "Minibar Philosophy," and it starts by mapping out your customer's journey, looking for friction points, which you can then address by charging a little more.

While price will often be the pivotal decision-making factor for the majority of your customers--especially in a commodity-driven market--there may be a smaller portion that you can win by offering value-added services or convenience for a little more money.

Premium Options Can Increase Efficiencies At Every Level

This Minibar Philosophy wins on two fronts. Firstly, it provides incremental revenue from customers who, without the option to pay for the added convenience, would have dropped out of the sales funnel. And secondly, it adds satisfaction for customers who want the option even if they choose to forego it.

One of my personal examples of putting the Minibar Philosophy into practice happened when I was on the governance committee of an 18,000 seat concert venue that hosted 1 million people annually.

At rock concerts, we would be slammed with 30-minute lines for patrons wanting to buy $10 beer from our taps. Beer costs roughly 50 cents for a giant 24 oz. cup, so the markup was crazy high, yet people would only buy one per show because no one wanted to wait in that insane line twice.

We addressed this problem by adding premium beer and wine-only lines at $15 per glass. The result: Shorter lines all around, happier customers, and an additional $50,000 per concert in concessions. And, hey, with the average beer drinker having two beers instead of one, they enjoyed the show twice as much! 

Now ask yourself, "What are the friction points within my business and how can I test customers' willingness to pay a little more money in order to remove them?"

Price-Sensitive Consumers Still Need Options

The most applicable example for any ecommerce business with a physical delivery element is expedited shipping. Testing this is as simple as offering next-day shipping.

We didn't initially offer this at Ultra Mobile (where I serve as CEO) because we cater primarily to a price-sensitive customer but eventually realized that even with expensive marketing and impressive value proposition drawing consumers, we still lost a significant portion who wanted overnight delivery at checkout.

A customer's idea to switch providers would typically crop up as their monthly service was coming to an end, so our free 2-3 day shipping just didn't cut it. This resulted in many purchasing an alternative product or heading to a shop where a salesperson might push a competitor.

We decided to trial a $16 charge for next-day delivery, and it translated into extra sales--not hugely significant, but it cost us nothing extra to avoid losing customers we'd already paid to attract. Ultra doesn't make any more money on overnight fees but why not make our customers happy by selling them that proverbial $6 Coke?

As an entrepreneur, I've always prided myself on buying the best and selling the cheapest, and the idea of people paying more than they could for my product was completely foreign to me for a long time.

However, the Minibar Philosophy has turned out to be an extremely important lesson to learn, and one I now practice as at least a thought exercise in each of my businesses.