Apple goes one notch further and designs an end-to-end consumer experience for its products, store and on-line experience, customer service, support, product manuals and packaging.
That passion for meaningful details in every aspect carefully crafts the Apple consumer experience to produce the “whaaow” effect.
The disjointed PC world cannot compete on that dimension.
I recently ordered a TabletPC from Buy.com. The price was right and it got delivered on time. The problem came when I noticed that I needed to order a high capacity battery and a desktop base to get a CD drive and DVD reader. I needed these products for a business trip to China and paid for a 2 day delivery. Not only did the delivery miss me by 2 full days but, when the order came in, the battery did not fit my TabletPC and the base contained a dummy CD drive. I then tried to order the correct battery and CD drive by phone from Buy.com. I waited an hour in a call center queue and was told to talk to the manufacturer to get the part numbers. After getting the part numbers, I waited for another hour in a queue and was told by the call center that “the system was down ” and “is it OK for us to call you back in the middle of the night?”. To make a long story short, they did not sell these pretty essential parts and I wasted a considerable amount of time with clueless on-line and off-line customer service.
I expect that Apple will crank up its products, store and on-line experience, customer service, support, product manuals and packaging in new categories. That competitive advantage is likely to be leveraged in other markets. It is no coincidence that Apple can charge $390 for an iPod and commands a 70% market share, while Sony is at $300, Zen at $289, iRiver at $170.
Premium design of products, store and on-line experience, customer service, support, product manuals and packaging will always enjoy premium pricing and strong market positioning.
This segment is a part in the series : Apple