The international company Trendwatching have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to trends in business – which is great, because keeping up with trends is a full-time job! (Sometimes I just get my head around one and by then the hipsters have already moved on!) Trendwatching’s latest discovery? UPGRADIA. I think this trend is pertinent to pretty much all companies that sell products – you just need to figure out how to apply it.
Essentially, customers always want the newest and the best. I always find it a bit weird when products have a label that says “New & Improved” because surely new versions should always be an improved version of the previous one?! But marketers know that those two words are very important to most of the general public. Traditionally, consumers wanted their products to be new. And they want them to be better than the last one they had.
But… consumers are also becoming conscious of what this relentless search for new and better is doing to the environment. They’re starting to feel guilty about tossing aside working phones, printers and cameras simply because there is a better version out there. As much as they want new technology and better products, they also want their products to have a longer life. They want to end the throwaway culture, the culture of endless replacements.
It can also be disheartening for customers to see a product they own relaunched not long after they make the plunge to own it. Doesn’t it grate you when you invest in a product, only to see a much better version released the following season? My son had a XBox – a few months later XBox launched the new XBOX360 with a big hiss and roar and my son was devastated. Why? Well not only was his XBox “old” now (at less than 6 months of age!), but it was pretty much obsolete since XBox started making their new games in the new platform format, which meant he was limited with which new games he could buy. What’s the use of having an XBox if you can’t play games on it?! It also affected his on-sell value – no one was shopping for a XBox on TradeMe once the XBox360 was out. Plus, if he were to buy the new XBox360, he would have to toss all his library of XBox games since they weren’t compatible with the XBox360. Nasty. You have to be careful that your new and improved products aren’t putting your loyal customers’ noses out of joint – they won’t rush back to buy another item off you if they think it will be passe before their warranty is!
What does it UPGRADIA mean for your company? Have a think about your products – instead of constantly reinventing and relaunching a new and improved version, could you instead gear towards selling upgrades? That way your customers get to make the most of what they own and they won’t feel they’ve put their eco-warrior status in jeopardy.. True, you won’t sell as many new units – but you will get a more loyal customer base.
Trendwatching says UPGRADIA most applies to customers who own your “old” products, hardcore makers (those Kiwis who still love a bit of DIY) and the eco-conscious who still want the latest. And to be honest, in this day of innovation and technology, if you don’t offer upgrades or add-ons, someone else will – so you may as well be making the money from it.
* Can you release an add-on or a bolt-on that makes last season’s product as good as this season’s?
* Can you turn a “dumb” product into a smart one by pairing it with a mobile app?
For example… Do you own a regular bike but want the latest-and-greatest hybrid (electric assisted) bike? You can, simply by attaching a Copenhagen Wheel onto the wheel of your regular bike. Wish you could afford a campervan but have made do with a regular van? Upgrade it yourself, with a Renault Kangoo Camper modular kitchen unit. Have last year’s TV? Bring it into 2014 with the Samsung Evolution Kit hardware add-on. Use the Google Chromecast dongle to make your regular TV into a smart TV. Or upgrade your camera by buying a device that allows you to take time-lapse images. There are tons of examples out there (Trendwatching.com has a few more online) – but the question stands, how can your business embrace UPGRADIA?
Always here if you need ideas or inspiration or business coaching know-how! firstname.lastname@example.org