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LESSONS FOR NEW PRODUCTS

July 16, 2014

Recently, Amazon unveiled a new phone, the Fire, packed with a range of fun but not necessarily useful features. Wall St. Journal’s Christopher Mims (DIGITAL) penned an editorial that I think has some great words of wisdom for any firm bringing out a new product. Here’s my take on the factors that Chris believes, “will kill Fire sales as surely as they have held Windows Phone to single digit market share in North America…”

People are loath to switch from the phones they already have, and in the process abandon all the apps and media they’ve bought.”  If you think you have a better product, make sure it is not a hassle to switch. For most of us, changing phones is a big hassle. In fact, I am surprised how many people I talk to who don’t have smartphones because they don’t want to go through the pain of changing something so personal to their lifestyle.

The North American market for smartphones–and especially the market for high-end smartphones like the Fire — is heavily saturated, which means there are hardly any new users out there who might adopt the Fire as their first phone.” One of my core POWERSHIFT MARKETING principles is if you are first to market, you make a ton of money. If you are last, it will take a ton of money to buy market share when a market is saturated.

Fire can’t access the existing pool of Android apps. It’s missing critical ones like Uber (Bezos says it’s coming) and Snapchat (no word on when it will appear).” If you are introducing a new product it is essential that you understand how people use the existing product(s) that you want to replace.

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