A natural ecosystem


Step 1 is to get a prospect to buy, therefore becoming a customer. Step 2 is retaining that customer for long term profitability. That can be done in many ways, but they basically boil down to giving the customer a good experience and not giving the customer a reason to look elsewhere. One could argue that these are one in the same.

So I buy an iPhone. And then I buy an iPad because my iPhone works well. I buy some apps. They work well and they have a similar interface. And they work almost the same on my iPhone and iPad. Cool. I’m happy. No reason to look elsewhere but if I do, I find that things aren’t as smooth as I’m used to and I might have to deal with multiple vendors. Then I buy a Mac, because it’s made by the same folks who made my other devices. And I’m hooked. As long as the ecosystem that I now have continues to handle my needs in a reasonable way, I’m not going anywhere. The inertia gained over time is difficult to overcome. Things have to become really bad before I consider a change.

Sound familiar? Maybe you started with a Mac and then picked up an iPhone. The sequence doesn’t matter. It’s the end result. It’s quite possible that this could happen with an Android or Windows device, but the complete ecosystem isn’t there and it’s harder to gain that inertia that keeps customers from leaving. Bob

Bob is so much better at this stuff than me.

6 thoughts on “A natural ecosystem

  1. Yeahh – there are some minor details you could add – like maybe you also buy a Mac because it felt like the de facto standard for a lot of creative or hip types, and/or the styling is pretty sweet and it’s free of “intel inside” style stickers…

    Also for some people the path started with iPods. Not much of a factor now, but up til 2010 or so is when people might have started down that same path, and for the same reasons got an iPhone.

    I suppose the rise of streaming weakens the lockin a bit; your music “collection” can more easily cross-device in a way “great piles of mp3s carefully rated” can’t.

  2. Even within a product type, Apple’s policy of “we’ll provide you a product line with industry leading (or damn near) tech and make sure the upgrades are painless” was a big sell for me. Android has tried to make having multiple manufacturers its strength (at least till the rise of the Samsung Galaxy line) but I never knew what it would take to re-establish a new phone as my home, in terms of apps and music.

    I’ve seen some glimpses that if you stay within Samsung, it’s pretty easy too, but what about to/from other Android manufacturers? Or does it vary, like how much each maker sticks to Google’s basic stuff vs adding their own “differentiators”?

  3. PS now we have to worry that we’re all writing comments in order to get promoted by Shaun 😉 Mostly I just like to hear myself type…

  4. By coincidence Daring Fireball has an article very related to this:
    tl;dr: One challenge for Apple in China might be that a phone is mostly a “WeChat” delivery mechanism, so there isn’t the same sense of loyalty and lock-in.

    I think back to early days of the iOS app store, and also Apple’s rejection of Flash. There were a lot of reasons for Apple to nix flash- power usage, security, look-and-feel, etc, but one thing was preventing a kind of conceptual competitor for the app store. (I half remember other rejections with similar rationale.) It sounds like they lost that fight with WeChat, and it probably has big implications for their growth/stability there.

    (As a side note, this may mean the rest of the world gets featured a bit geared to the Chinese tastes that often run a bit flashier than most of the wealthy West – I think some of the “Rose Gold” colors etc reflects positioning there more than it does appealing to consumers here.)

    1. Come to think of it, the FB app is going down this path as well in the USA. I remember hearing what a tremendous part of mobile usage it represents, back when I was working in mobile advertising… but it sounds like WeChat is far beyond in terms of providing services.

      (I wonder how WhatsApp compares in various markets…)

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