“Time & Effort Investments” and the Brand Loyalty

“Our product has got 2,00,000 Signups. Now you could invest”

“No. Those numbers don’t mean anything. How many could you retain?”


“I look at Retention Rate to validate any product or concept. Retention Rate ensures customer loyalty and repeat orders/usage by consumer”

— A conversation between an entrepreneur and an investor.

Retention Rate of a product/service depends on engaging customers — Keeping their interest in the product or service. To sustain interest, we need to keep users occupied physically and mentally — It means you need to make users spend “Time” and “Effort” in the product/service. For any product to succeed, making users spend time & effort along with extrinsic &intrinsic rewards are needed.


A person naturally prefers to work in the core engineering field after studying the core engineering for four years — The reason — He had spent four years. Any change in the field would render those 4 years useless.

If you had found $100 on the street, you would spend without much consideration, but if you had earned $100, you would value it more and spend wisely.

If you had covered 30% of a book, though it might be boring, you would try to read the whole book — Since you had already invested your time and effort in covering those pages. It is called “Sunk Cost Fallacy”.

A cricketer who had struggled hard to score a hundred on a difficult pitch against a tough opposition values it more than scoring a hundred on a flat pitch.

If you are a painter or an artist, you would value the work which took more effort and time.

The More effort the users put into a product/service, the more they value it.

IKEA — Low-cost Household furniture manufacturer. Since IKEA supplies Flat Pack Furniture, the customers need to put considerable effort in assembling the product and this was one of the reasons why a customer values the furniture more.

iPod’s success was not only to iPod device’s styling or interface design — With the integration of iTunes store, Apple made users to invest time and effort in downloading, organising songs into album, customizing to their individual tastes — The more effort they put it, they did not want to shift to any other brand.

Farmville — They were a huge success — It was one of a good example to show how “Time and Effort Investment” and “rewards” play a major role in success. Farmville made users to invest time and physical effort in planting crops, watering them, harvesting them, re-plow the land, collect in-game money, buy houses, bigger plots, statues, gardens, cattle, fences, plan the financials, decorate the farm, share them to show a shared social identity, impress others and compete. The more effort they put, the more challenges they face, the more the rewards they earn — Better engagement.

Facebook — A user invests time and effort in writing posts, uploading photos, liking other posts, photos, reading, sharing messages. Each of these tiny investments provides data for facebook to tailor the content further and form a vicious cycle.

Pinterest — Pinterest users invest time in pinning their own uploaded images, repin someone else’s images, like or comment on other’s images.

LinkedIn — When you sign up the first time, you would receive a mail congratulating that your profile completeness was 25%. Then they would motivate you to reach 40% of profile completeness by adding one more detail(A simple job to do). Once you finish the required detail, you get another prompt to add another comparably difficult job to reach 80% and slowly you were guided to furnish all the details. LinkedIn makes you invest your time in small steps and guide you to add more information in your profile.

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Time and Effort investments in small steps turn unfamiliar behaviours into new habits.

References: Hooked by Nir Eyal, Influence by Robert Cialdini.

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at mmshah8@gmail.com. or https://www.shahmohammed.com

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