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Don’t Fire-and-Forget Your Products

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Most businesses today operate in a fire-and-forget mode. As soon as the product is sold, it becomes a mere liability for the duration of its warranty.

While lot of resources is used to enhance production, sourcing and distribution processes, customer and consumer behavior and the product’s afterlife get surprisingly little attention. Yes there are the registration URLs and earlier the mail-in cards, but they’re usually designed as such nuisances that some one percent or less of customers fill them.

Fire-and-forget model is sticky, not least since it has become the norm propagated by countless business books and common practices since the industrial revolution. It is coming to an end, though.

Spimes will start a new era. Connectivity and sensing technologies are quickly becoming affordable even for the cheapest products, such as rooftiles and lunchboxes. Suddenly the tile manufacturer is aware of the status and usage of every single tile she has sold – providing her with several new ways to interact with and sell more to the customer.

This will not mean an ad bonanza though. Unlike annoying ads, spimes evolve to respect customer’s preferences to the finest detail, providing increasingly valuable suggestions using all available history, usage patterns and feedback.

Spimes will eventually become the primary merchandise, around which physical goods come and go. Many products, if not all, become services in which the customer relationship may last a lifetime or longer, provided that the vendor remains competitive. It’ll be all about the moment the customer gets an idea to purchase something more – the odds are not even, the spime holder will always have an advantage, unlike in the current vendor selection tradition.

Businesses now in the fire-and-forget mode should start transforming now in order to manage the biggest disruption in 150 years. The effects will be profound, and it’ll be too late when the competition launches a spimed product.

//Pasi

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