Posts Tagged ‘Product Differentiation’

Why Google should buy Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Article first published as Why Google Should Buy Barnes & Noble on Technorati.

The media is abuzz with the news that John Malone of Liberty Media has made an offer of $17 a share for 70% of Barnes & Noble, the last remaining bookstore in the US.

In the Financial Times the point was made that, being the last man standing, Barnes and Noble has the advantage of no competition, and the Wall Street Journal emphasized the value of the Nook software that could become prevalent across Android-based tablets.

There could, however, be a broader opportunity for a company with vision. In one of his recent blogs, Seth Godin challenged the concept of the current library as being a warehouse of dead books to being a place where “people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together”.

Why not extend this concept of reinventing the library to being a reinvention of the bookstore? Apple’s concept of successfully mashing 3 things together – a community (Mac / iPhone users), a platform (iTunes) and an experience (Apple store) – could be built upon to create a powerful viral marketing experience and exceptionally loyal fans.

If Google were to buy Barnes & Noble they could enhance the Apple model by blending communities (Android, Nook, YouTube) with platforms (Nook, Google Search, Chrome and Android), and provide opportunities for new experiences of learning, creating and discovering in an amazing distinct new mashed-up retail forum.

It could become the perfect living laboratory for integration of digital and real-world resources, and at the same time provide a mechanism for interaction with consumers; it would make the Google brand incredibly tangible across all its ventures.

Coincidently, it could provide the perfect forum for facilitating a nationwide open innovation environment that encourages the growth of entrepreneurism. In this new digital age, the Barnes & Noble Café could become the innovation catalyst, similar to the old coffee houses of Europe that used to facilitate the bringing together of creative and inspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. The Android and Nook platforms could be extended to enable a social networking community focused on education, innovation, creativity and fun.

The retail aspect of the B&N facility would also evolve offering a broad array of products and services that real and virtual associates could advise on and show virtually, while suggesting suitable additions that could be purchased locally or online with their Android devices and delivered when they want. The facility would then morph into a hub that brings Adwords to life, with context and location both physically and virtually on Android devices in the store.

In a single move, Google could totally revolutionize the face of retail, turn the tables on the Amazon business model by emulating and enhancing the Apple model – all for less than $1bn. Sounds like a deal to me!

We at KeySo Global understand the importance of reinventing business models and we’d be delighted to show you how converged technologies can be used to help your business run more efficiently and effectively. To set up an appointment, call us at +1 847-478-1633, email us at info@keysoglobal.com or visit our website at www.keysoglobal.com.
Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

Is iPad off target and Nook Color in the sweet spot?

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Has Barnes and Noble accidentally stumbled upon the sweet spot in the converged space between PCs and smartphones?

Their Nook Color device, with its Android operating system, is a significant step above just being an e-reader but it doesn’t have the pretension or the price of some of the tablets that are due to arrive, or are already, on the market. The device, in addition to providing excellent reading and media experiences, can also act as a storage facility for sharing presentations and other material. I’m a convert! It’s lightweight, easy to use and read and, as I have said before, has instant-on capability, so ideal for the moments when you feel compelled to share that key slide in a quick sales pitch!

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group implies that Barnes & Noble could have a real winner. BCG’s report, released just before Apple’s announcement of a second generation iPad on Wednesday, finds that the consumer’s growing preference is for multi-use tablets over e-readers but says that the “sweet spot” for pricing will be below $200. The fact that the Nook Color appears to be an enhanced reader and is priced at $249 indicates that it’s very close to that sweet spot.

The ability to access the online bookstore, participate in magazine subscriptions and have special offers focused on reading and leisure interests is supplemented by a growing number of applications that are available on the Android market. The Android application developer community is the secret weapon and truly enhances the value of the Nook Color to its users. According to an Engadget review, Barnes & Noble plans to launch its own Android tablet app store in the first quarter of 2011, providing a consistent, compatible application experience.

Barnes & Noble could also have the upper hand due to the fact that Apple is increasingly leveraging its iTunes store’s quasi-monopoly to extract value from the ecosystem. The most recent announcements of the 30% tax on all media content sold via the store means that the company is penalizing consumers and increasing the total cost of ownership for the iPad experience.

Barnes & Noble, with its existing books, magazine and media distribution capability, is in a strong position to offer a compelling and competitively priced reading and entertainment experience on a device that also provides Internet access and a wide variety of online applications. Combine this with an opportunity to create an enthusiastic community of users who also like to frequent the bricks and mortar stores for coffee and special offers, and the Nook Color could be the best thing since the invention of the paperback for the publishing, media and bookstore industry.

If you would like to learn how to holistically assess the market place and take advantage of Digital Life opportunities, contact us at +1 847-478-1633 or visit our website at www.keysoglobal.com.

Can PCs keep up in this accelerating world of tablets?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Zero to sixty… if you drive a car, this is the measure of how long it takes you to experience the thrill of speed! More exotic vehicles accomplish this in less than 3 seconds, performance machines in less than 5 and most family cars in less than 7. If you’ve gone green, it may take around 10 seconds.

What’s my point? Gone are the days of turning a crank handle, warming the engine, engaging first gear without the aid of synchromesh… now it’s simply press the start button, engage the drive and you’re off!

People using tablets and enhanced e-readers are now experiencing the same thrill of speed as they access and surf the web. Most manufacturers and commentators are referring to device size, display size, color resolution, processing capability and power consumption to differentiate between these new products. The new reality is that the tablet fills the converged space between smartphones and PCs – its differentiation is about “instant on” and instant connection with simple readability.

The real rush of excitement I get from my new Nook Color comes from the fact that I press the button, it lights up, I enter a security code, select the browser and I’m instantly connected – all in just under 32 seconds. Try doing the same on your PC and “instant” doesn’t apply!

For this reason PCs operating on hard drives alone are bound to go the same route as cars with crank handles. The advent of low cost, solid state drives (SSDs) is revolutionizing the experience of the mobile Internet, tablets and PCs, and satisfying the desire for instant connection.