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‘Apple’ and ‘underdog’ aren’t 2 words you see together, nowadays. After all, it’s the world’s largest company by market value (a whopping $930 billion). It’s dominance, however, is in the hardware space, and iPhone sales are slowing.
This global leader has therefore been thinking what smaller businesses are constantly thinking, too: What do customers want from us and how do we give it to them?
Their answer at their March keynote conference: customers want easy access to quality content, and we’ll give it to them by entering the service space – streaming, games, finance and news.
Time will tell if going head to head with the likes of Netflix will pay off. But there are some lessons we can learn from the journey Apple has been on to reach this point.
1. Start with your customers
The streaming market is competitive. Netflix dominates, along with Amazon. Disney, the BBC and ITV are also dipping their toes in. And consumers will only pay for so many subscriptions.
So how do you seize market share?
By thinking about how existing customers behave – because it then becomes about leveraging loyalty and boosting share of wallet.
More than 900 million people use iPhones globally – 6 times the number of Netflix subscribers. Apple also made initial forays into the streaming space with Apple Music. And all this means there’s a ready-made audience if the offering and experience are right. Analysts therefore predict that 100 million subscriptions in the next 3 to 5 years is realistic (translating to $7 to 10 billion in annual revenue).
2. Consider how people actually engage with you
On this blog, my colleagues and I talk a lot about reducing friction across the customer experience (CX). From call handing and IVR to chatbots and wider digital transformation initiatives, the businesses winning with CX make it as easy as possible for people to engage on their own terms.
Apple is ostensibly approaching the new services from this customer-centric perspective. Its TV app for iPhone and iPad comes pre-installed and links to Apple Pay. This will be the access point for streaming, so people won’t have extra software to download, passwords to remember or payment information to input. From a user perspective, it should be seamless.
3. Make experience a differentiator
Apple is already known for its UX leadership – going back to the days of the old Mitchell and Webb adverts, not to mention more recent innovations like iPhone touchscreen. We won’t know what the Apple TV+ user experience is actually like until it’s released, but the launch set the tone for the approach for the type of overall experience they’ll offer.
The launch was designed to reinforce the impression that Apple is the best of the best. It was a star-studded affair with Hollywood royalty like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, who will be contributing content. Apple is banking will specifically appeal to its target audience.
Apple TV+ is also set to partner with other providers, such as HBO, Showtime and Britbox (the new ITV/BBC collaboration), to create a hub for content its customers are interested in. The idea is to give people one-click access to things they actually want to watch. We’ll have to see whether this approach competes with the array of licences its rivals have (and if people will pay for focused quality over quantity).
Apple’s new strategy is definitely one to watch
But this month’s launch-related publicity is a good opportunity to take a step back and think – is our business taking a customer-centric approach to everything we’re doing?