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Would you buy a fridge that had apps?

January 25, 2011

Here’s a thought. Imagine if a fridge ran the droid operating system. And it had a scanner. When adding items to the fridge, one scans the barcode. When something is used, scan the barcode and delete the thing. Then, the fridge contacts the local grocery store (through the app).

The person then uses a meeting app to invite the grocery store to the meeting. When the store gets the invite, it sends out a picker to pull the items the fridge says are always added.

High tech?

Useful?

An app on a fridge (and a fridge connected to the internet) would cost more. But would it add value? Conversely, if the fridge talked to a grocery store and told it what a consumer wanted, that would only not be creepy if the value achieved (ie, time saved) outweighed having someone pick the staples.

And that’s really what it’s all about as we think about apps. Apps are programs that add value to consumers. But they can’t just be apps for apps sake. They have to provide some sort of value.

Incidentally, everything we do for brands online should provide some sort of value. If it doesn’t, then we’re wasting time.

So what do you think? Would you buy a fridge that ordered your groceries?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 11:51 am

    My first response was “Hell Yes!”, but then I sat back and said the real question is “Are you and early adopter or not?”

    American society, and western society in general, is littered with examples of technological advances applied innovatively with uses that it was never originally intended for. Just imagine in the 1960′s if the Ford / Lincoln brand managers were queried if they wanted to place a pre-order for microprocessors for their cars. Today each of their models can have as many as 30 CPU’s in them performing a variety of tasks.

    But as for you question of increasing brand value, how about this scenario:

    “Power-user Mom or Dad” is away from home and wants to make super when they get home. One their smart phone they identify the recipe, the smart app talks with the Fridge inventory app, to identify all perishable items already at home. It then helps build a shopping list. When they come home the menu and instructions are on Fridge LCD waiting for them. Now couple this with a non-perishable inventory system installed in the kitchen cabinets, now all the apps can also recomend a meal menu based on what is in the house and you are only left with a couple of items to purchase.

    Now as interesting as that sounds the actual brand benefit lies in the appliances ability to diagnose and report problems to the owner or contact a service rep if the problem is severe enough. How much would a brand benefit if $800 of food wouldn’t spoil because the app determined a compressor went out and notified the appropriate parties while the family was on vacation?

    Either way, this will happen. Elextrolux introduced an smart fridge in the last 90′s early 00′s and it worked ok in heavily populated, dense metro’s in which the stores did deliver to people because they were in very close proximity to the customers.

    Good Hunting.

    • January 26, 2011 12:01 pm

      I’m an early adopter. But Wired Magazine used to have a feature called “What the Japanese Schoolgirl was doing” because she was buying Cokes from the machine with her mobile 3 years ago.

      Your scenario is exactly the kind of thing we should be thinking about. That fridge would add value to busy parents with young kids. Any brand who delivered an app that added this value would get more trust, which would result in more brand advocacy and more sales.

      It is about adding value. Across the board.

      That’s what brands are hunting for, right?

      • January 31, 2011 3:16 pm

        I tend to follow the “Marketing Warfare” discipline. Based on that I tend to think brands want to win on the battlefield of the consumers mind. Value is part of that but so are other things as well. I know there is a push to avoid price wars but that might need to happen as well. Unless you hold a leader position, the fact that a competitor is eroding your sales with price and the economy is destroying the buying power due to inflation, companies need to look at all options.

        I tend to look at it based on if the brand is in position 1, 2, 3, or other in the consumer’s mind. That determines what the brand should be hunting for.

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