Yours, Free! A Business Model To Revolutionize E-commerce
You live in Concord, New Hampshire.
You've bought the TV of your dreams — the 85" 4K Ultra High-Definition Sony Bravia online from Crutchfield in Charlottesville, Virginia.
[See the first image in the media player.]
Your Visa card was hit for $19,999.00 — but shipping was free.
A day later, you come home from the office to find your glorious new toy has arrived.
You and the family are in ecstasy as you unwrap it.
With help, you gently set it on a dazzling new teak credenza.
It looks fantastic — beyond your wildest imagination.
To hook it up, you open the Sony instruction booklet (or go online) . . .
. . . and are smacked in the face with pages of techie gibberish.
[See the second image in the media player for a sampling.]
Welcome to the ultimate nightmare of online marketing.
The Happiness Loop
Consider the process of making a purchase as a loop:
Step 1: Buy something.
Step 2: Read the instructions and install it.
Step 3: Relish it.
Step 2 — instructions and installation — frequently turns the loop into a noose with which you're ready to hang yourself.
Whether you buy a Casio watch, kitchen appliance, IKEA furniture, ObamaCare, software, a laptop, a cellphone on up to a giant TV or an automobile, the accompanying written instructions are almost always unreadable.
Ron Johnson to the Rescue!
What triggered this column was Farhad Manjoo's May 6 New York Times' story: Two Retail Veterans Take Aim at Amazon's E-commerce Reign
"Ron Johnson, who, with Steve Jobs, created Apple's lucrative physical stores, has been working on something out of left field — a selective online store called Enjoy, which, for no additional cost, will send an expert to hand-deliver tech products and spend an hour helping people set up and learn to use their new things. "
Ron Johnson's Dumbass Backers
"[Ron Johnson] has sold some big-name investors on his vision. Enjoy has raised $30 million, including a recent $25 million funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Oak Investment Partners. Andreessen Horowitz is also an investor."
Common sense dictates this is a deeply flawed business model.