In-store good or at-home good? 05 Sep 2006
23 comments Latest by TL
Stu is your customer. The problem is there are two Stus. There’s Stu 1: Stu before he uses your product. And then there’s Stu 2: Stu after he uses your product. Stu 1 and 2 want different things. Stu 1 cares about features and capabilities. Stu 2 cares about ease of use. The problem is Stu 1 makes the initial purchase decision. Stu 2 has to live with the consequences. The dissatisfaction that results is the subject of Feature Fatigue: When Product Capabilities Become Too Much of a Good Thing (PDF), a research paper published in the Harvard Business Review.
According to the paper, companies need to realize that too many features can make a product overwhelming for consumers and hard to use.
Marketers see every new feature their company dreams up as a point of differentiation (however fleeting) and every feature competitors dream up as a necessary parity point…If companies conduct market research by asking consumers to evaluate products without using them, too much weight will be given to capability, and the result will likely be products with too many features…Firms should consider having a larger number of more specialized products, each with a limited number of features, rather than loading all possible features into one product.
Smith Business summarizes the article and interviews Debora Viana Thompson, one of the authors:
There is a trend in the market to pack a lot of features into one single device, like cellphone which can do everything — take photos, connect to the Internet, manage your calendar. Based on our results, this may not be the best strategy, especially for firms interested in building long-term customer value…When it comes to keeping a client over the long term, product satisfaction may be more important than just having an initial sale.
Every company/product has to choose priorities: In-store good or at-home good? First-minute good or lifetime good? Stu 1 good or Stu 2 good? Going for the second option means sometimes saying no to customer requests and feature ideas, even reasonable ones. Caring for Stu 2 means you need to say no to Stu 1.