Ryan J Lee
Hi Yukako, this is such an interesting post! I enjoyed reading your post, while this article kept me thinking of the Korea’s eCommerce giant “Coupang”.
The company “Coupang” also brought innovation to change conventional delivery people, who were non-permanent employees, to permanent employees, which made the quality of service much better and faster. Changing perspective from the public notion and conventional conception about cleaning job was probably quite hard, but that was the point the company TESSEI found the difference and improved to the outstanding model!
Hopefully all of us can be entrepreneurs who can bring simple but meaningful innovations in people’s lives.
Hi Ritika, thank you for your comment and sharing your own experience of using Fitbit!!
I think the customer base of Apple Watch and Fitbit became different – due to the difference of retail price. Compared to Fitbit’s $99-$149 price range of products, Apple Watch’s price starts from $299 to $699 and even more for a few exclusive models. For me, Apple’s product positioning seems “Affordable luxury”, while Fitbit’s product positioning seems “Value for money”. In the short term, Fitbit can be a beneficiary of Apple Watch because it attracts many people to the wearable devices and even absorb a few of them to pick Fitbit, the lower-priced one.
I think in the long term, I am worried about Fitbit’s future, as exactly what you mentioned. Personally, I think the best way for Fitbit to survive is do partnership or collaboration with other large companies such as Amazon or Google, that do not have hardware lineup like Fitbit. M&A with those companies can be an attractive option. Until then, Fitbit may have to survive with its accumulated customer base and optimized hardware lineups.
Thank you for this interesting post!! I am interested in sports industry and back in my job I used to research Wearable products related to sports industry too, so I am curious about the future of Nike!
It seems “so far so good” status for Nike, but I think it is hard for Nike to grow even further from now on. Nike tried to expand its product line with Fuelband but it officially closed the business, firing members of the division, while Adidas keeps trying to expand towards product innovations such as “Smart Ball” and “miCoach” trackers. What do you think about the future of Nike? Will they just go for the Nike+ application? or Will they introduce more innovative hardware products in the near future? I really want to hear just your opinion, as the one who has experienced in sports industry for years!
This is a great article about the India’s largest eCommerce company. Thank you for the writing.
Many actions taken by Flipkart seem quite familiar to me because it might borrow some idea from Amazon, like fast delivery and 30 days warranty. I am curious about the penetration of Flipkart in Indian market – is it the dominant player in the country? or there are some competitors that can threat Flipkart’s position in any time?
In Korea, we have a company which is quite similar to Flipkart.(Maybe Flipkart is much bigger in size though…) The name of the company is Coupang, and the company’s valuation exceeds $5 billion, so the company is called as “Korea’s Amazon”. (This company is founded by two HBS students, and one of them is now an EC this year.) However, one-day delivery costs a lot of money, which made this company in the red for a while. How the company maintain profitability while continuing these one-day delivery and 30-days warranty? It is possible with economy of scale? I am curious. 🙂
Thank you for such an interesting article about a company with disruptive changes in the conventional area.
It is very clever to perform just like free-of-charge platform providers such as Facebook and Google, getting revenue from the other parts of the business. And the industry the company dived in seemed pretty conservative to me, and that’s why the company has aggressive sales force over than 100 people. I think even it would be possible to be a broker for various services with lower price, too.
What I am curious about is, do you think Zenefits can expand its market share as they have done so far? I think other competitors in the business or conventional brokers may try to apply the company’s model, even though the profit level may decrease. What would be the biggest threat for the company?
Hi Emma, thank you so much for your comment!
I had the same thought that you have. Because Wearable products are not that popular among people, they are willing to stick to native wearables like products in jewelry and watch categories. Actually it is very easy way to do market sizing because companies can set their goal like “taking 1% share of the entire watch category”, simply comparing the size of the conventional market. However, I think now it is the time for players in the wearable industry to collaborate more frequently with companies in different industry, just like TagHeuer smartwatch with Google and Intel. Wearable industry is divided into four major categories – Fashion, Medical, Fitness, and Infotainment – so collaborating with players in different categories can be an option to take.
As my last comment, I think the success of wearables is relying on the success of the next generation Apple Watch. If Apple Watch 2 can’t attract enough people again, then I think nobody can guarantee the success of wearables in the near future. 🙂
Thank you so much for the comment, Sidharth! What you mentioned is the fundamental question and doubt of the business like Fitbit and other startups with only small number of successful products. Personally, I think Fitbit should pursue strategies as below.
– According to the Michael Porter, the prominent professor in HBS, there are four stages in the development of Internet of Things – Monitoring, Control, Optimization, and Autonomy. I think most newly launched products in the market are starting from the first stage, playing role as a data collecting and gathering information through precise sensors. After accumulating relevant data, companies can provide more services, providing better user experience and more customized services. I think Fitbit is in the second stage, introducing more customized services like premium service, simultaneously trying to go to the third stage, which requires more complex algorithms that is optimized for each user of the service. And the differentiation may be possible if Fitbit successfully introduce their own algorithm to the market.
– This is the tricky part and I know this part very well. (I’ve worked as a high-tech product manager previously.) It is hard to differentiate with hardware features because there is nothing “superior” feature for wrist-band sized products. There are four focuses – fashion, sports, medical, and infortainment – and the winner would bring something powerful from these categories. For example, if a company can bring up “Hermes band” focusing on fashion part, or if a company successes in incorporating a important medical function into this tiny wrist-band, then it would boost the sales. As a hardware standpoint, I think general products like Apple Watch and Fitbit would take certain portion in their price level, while other specified products come up and get customized needs of customers.
If I am a Fitbit, I would try my best, but I would talk to other large tech giants such as Amazon or Google about the M&A. Still, hardware is very attractive area for many software companies, especially B2C companies because hardware is one of direct access points to the actual customers.
Thank you very much for your comment, Daniel!
You’re right. Under Armour and other players keep searching for the opportunity to dive into the industry. However, it is hard to be successful in the industry in the short period of time because, 1) in the high-end segment, Apple Watch came out but not attracting as many customers as it used to capture with iPod and iPhone, 2) in the low-end segment, Chinese makers like Xiaomi provides value-for-money products less than $20 dollars… 3) And players like Fitbit has been in the business for a while, accumulating significant amount of data. So I think it would be hard to differentiate as a new player in the market. However, one opportunity side for UnderArmour is introducing the fancy or functional hardware with its strong brand, like an upgraded Nike Fuelband with cool design, that fits to UnderArmour’s other product lines.
I am so into many kinds of sports, so let’s keep discussing about things… 🙂