The Kindle: A Great Example Of Online Infusion

Kudos to Amazon.com. My prediction: The Kindle will revolutionize how people read books, newspapers, and magazines. This new product represents a great example of online infusion (designing offerings that natively incorporate online capabilities as part of the core product definition) which is one of the five disruptive customer experience strategies that I’ve discussed in the past.

I recently had the opportunity to play around with a Kindle…

While it has a few usability miscues, the Kindle gets enough right to establish a new paradigm for reading. It’s a great combination of product design and online capabilities.

What makes the Kindle a great disruptive product?

  • Appealing form factor (smaller than most books)
  • Simple core interactive buttons
  • Immediate access to media (books, magazines, etc.) through cellular network
  • Good readability, including font enlargement

The bottom line: There are many opportunities for an online infusion strategy; what’s yours?

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

6 thoughts on “The Kindle: A Great Example Of Online Infusion”

  1. Bruce, your take is interesting because I’m just not sold on the Kindle like you are. First, as has been well publicized, people just don’t read that many books. Will people pay $359 to read one book, or less, per year? And that flows into my second point: Why do we need the Kindle?

    The Kindle wasn’t developed to fill some great need or void, it was developed to sell more books for Amazon. Wrong reason. The Kindle promises “instant access to more that 145,000 books, blogs, newspapers and magazines.” Who needs that? Definitely not most normal people.

  2. Jay: You raise some very fair questions. Obviously there’s no guarantees about any new products, but let me share a bit more of my thinking. As I discussed in the post called “Customer Experience Innovation: As Simple As 1-2-3,” I rely on a model called “Real-Win-Worth it” to evaluate these types of situations. This framework looks at three questions: Is there really a demand for the product?; Can the company win in the market?; Would it be financially or strategically worth it?

    Rather than go through an entire analysis here, I’ll just deal with the first question: Is it real?

    While I’ve only seen a few people using the Kindle (and they all love it), I’ve observed that they were not technology “heat seekers.” They’ve been Boomers and Seniors who like to read. So my assessment is that Kindle meets a core need; it’s not just a novel technology.

    Kindles won’t replace books, or become as widespread as MP3 players, but I think there is a significant population of people (starting with 30+ year olds) who will buy a Kindle to make reading much easier. Will there be widespread adoption at $359? I don’t know. But I have to believe that Amazon’s long-term strategy is to drop the price significantly to drive revenue from the sale of media (books, magazines, etc.).

    Hopefully this sheds a bit more light on my thoughts.

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