Appify Your Appliance
As a coffee aficionado, I never thought the day would arrive that I would love an automatic coffee machine. But it’s true. I love my Nespresso machine. I bought my first in Hong Kong when I struggled to find a decent coffee anywhere on the island. And I’m embarassed to say, I sometimes even choose hotels based on whether there is a similar machine in my room. But if Nespresso, owned by Nestle, represents the past triumph of applying the Gillette ‘razor and blade’ business model to beverage consumables - it also points to the present failure of appliance brands to capitalising on their captured consumer base.
When you buy a Nespresso machine they ask you to provide your details to join their coffee club - ostensibly so that they can keep track of your consumption and prompt you to service your machine at the right time. Not a bad premise, and certainly a smarter engagement tool than the standard warranty database coupon. But what if there was a Nespresso app store that sold apps that let you customise your brew strengths or program automatic functions? How would that change the economics of the business? White goods manufacturers would certainly stand to benefit from similar thinking. You may buy a new washing machine only once every 5-10 years, but what if you could get consumers to upgrade their software applications that controlled energy usage, spin cycle programs and other features once every quarter? Turning durables into consumables was a neat magic trick for many appliance brands in the last ten years. But for the next stage in the game, they need to be thinking about the broader information ecosystem that surrounds their physical products.
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