Covid-19 Might Leave Limited Room for Product Experience

Covid-19 has made social distancing a household term. A term which probably no one heard of before the pandemic. Consumers are more cautious about hygiene and health than ever before. Marketers across the globe expect few irreversible changes in the consumer behaviour post-Covid-19.

Bose - The Champions of Product Experience

Bose Audio Store

Keeping post Covid era aside, there are few developments which caught my attention. A few months ago Bose Corporation decided to close off all their stores in the US and few more markets. Yes, the same Bose Corporation which has stayed pioneers in audio technology for years and is on the wishlist of every audiophile. The company took a call to sell products only via the online channel. This came as a surprise. A company which has a legacy of experiential products suddenly decided to do away with the experience part of it. If you visit any Bose store, which you still can if you are in the UAE, India or South Korea (they haven't closed the stores there, yet), it is all about the experience. I remember while I was considering to buy a Home Theater, the Bose sales guy took me to an enclosure which had all the Bose speakers placed at the right places and one it was switched on, it was magic. This dramatic shift on moving to online sale only for some of the biggest markets was taken much before the Covid crisis.

Contactless Product Experience amid Covid-19

Cut to Covid, as I flip the newspaper, mostly digital copies, all I read are stories on services going online to avoid physical connect. Few industries where the prima facie of business was built on a digital-first approach is understandable; the next set of services which were fence-sitters now jump into going digital. Here is what struck me. BMW and Mercedes selling the cars online.

BMW Contactless Online Sales in Covid

Buying cars is a high involvement purchase decision process and even more in the case of luxury brands.
The entire journey of owning a premium car, say a BMW, Audi OR Mercedes Benz has been all about delivering a great experience. Not only product but also the Pre and Post-Purchase experience. These brands trying to sell their cars online is almost an announcement of the demise of consumer/product experience.

Companies across industries are gearing to opt minimal contact sales processes. Most of them going for Zero Contact Delivery eliminating product experience stage altogether. The latest development which might just propel this further is the Jio Platform - Facebook Inc deal. Though, the deal focuses more on groceries which is less about experiencing the product on the shot front but can still hit not the 'shopping experience' at a nearby store out of the park.


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