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 am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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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