More Customers can get what they want... even Bri
I read stories about two familiar companies recently, and I've been preoccupied with what they have in common.
The first is Coca-Cola, which has a machine it calls a "Freestyle." Freestyle dispensers are in pizza parlors and other venues. They allow customers to mix and match flavors themselves, choosing from dozens of options. Brian Moore, the teenage son of Inxeption's COO Mark Moore, has created a recipe combo he calls Bri-juice: "Coke; root beer; orange soda; lemonade; cherry limeade; and grape soda. Mix in that order. More Coke and orange soda than the others."
The Freestyle is not new: Coke has 40,000 of these units across the U.S. today and they dispense 14 million drinks a day. But Coke is about to start rolling out bottles and cans of beverage flavors called Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero.1 It chose those flavors for mass production because of how frequently customers created that combination at the machines (not everyone is as creative as Brian). Coke crowd-sourced the flavor by keeping track of what customers pay to mix and drink.
The second story involves Adidas, the athletic shoe company.2 Adidas is about to release the AM4LDN on October 19. If you're like me, your first thought is: what a terrible name. But the origin of this shoe is intriguing. Adidas sent designers to several large cities to better understand local runners and local running. Turns out there are regional differences. In London, for example, a lot of commuters run to and from work, early in the morning and late at night, and in the rain. So AM4LDN - Adidas Made 4 London - will have performance features consistent with high-end running shoes, but also focus on being highly visible (but not white!) for dim light and rainy conditions. AM 4 Paris, Sydney, and Shanghai will have their own unique features and hit their markets next year.
To create these smaller, more custom roll-outs, Adidas is using a robotic factory and changing its supply chain so it can be profitable even with relatively small volume runs. That would have been unthinkable in the past. And company executives say the ultimate idea is to let customers design their own shoes that can be sent to them in a matter of weeks.
At Inxeption, we call happy customers who participate in the design and manufacturing process and get what they want fast, the X factor. Both these companies are waking up to its power.
Stories like these will become more common. Companies that have competed with a limited set of product features that they sold in huge volumes, are finding that customers like having more input. You customize your Facebook page; you pick a phone case that reflects your life; and if you're Brian Moore, you like a six-flavor, custom soda cocktail. As consumers, we're becoming more conscious, and we want products that are perfect for us. We're willing to partner with companies and provide information and feedback in order to get exactly what we want.
Now the race is on to make that partnership much, much easier. That's why I founded Inxeption. Inxeption is a software platform that helps transform manufacturing companies of all kinds into online and on-demand businesses. Now, you can bring your customers into every aspect of your business so you can be sure you are building exactly what your customers desire, delivered the way they want, at a price they will love. Today's giants are slowly waking up. Tomorrow's giants will have Inxeption.