Samsung fast followed (euphemism for inspiration) Apple’s iPhone & made tons of money. But business history tells us that ‘fast following’ strategy can never be sustainable in the long run. History caught up Samsung Electronics & it’s third-quarter operating profit more than halved from a year earlier.
Can Samsung achieve success without fast following? Of course it can. It will have to build a strategy by offering a ‘determinant’ benefit to its customers – benefit that customers want, competition is not giving & Samsung gives. Does Samsung have a determinant attribute? Indeed it does & it resides within itself.
Samsung, arguable the world largest appliance maker with a strong technology backbone, can build a 'differentiated' business strategy around Internet of Thing (IoT), where smart appliances “speak” with each other - machine-to- machine communication, over the internet. This is how it will work.
Smart homes of the future will be populated with smart appliances – air conditioning system, refrigerators, security devices, lighting system & many more.
Let’s take the example of milk stored in the smart refrigerator in your smart home. Just as the milk is about to get over, the refrigerator will sense that & send messages to 2 people: 1. You on your smart phone, informing you to pick up milk while returning from office in the evening. 2. Grocer over his smart phone, informing him to keep a carton of milk ready to be picked up in the evening.
In the evening when you set your car’s GPS to your home address, the smart phone will sense that you are headed home. It will send a reminder message to you to pick up milk on your way home & a 2nd message to the grocer to keep the milk packet ready for pick up. When you reach your gated community after buying milk, your smart car will speak to the security device to gain access inside your building compound. As you get out from your car, your smart phone will communicate with your home air conditioning system to start so that by the time you enter your home in the next few minutes, the temperature would be at 23 degrees – the temperature you like best. On reaching your main door, you do not have to fish for keys in your pocket… your smart phone will “speak” to the front door security device to grant you seamless access. The smart lighting system will sense your presence due to your body heat & will switch itself on.
By pursuing the IoT based strategy Samsung will deliver a seamless & memorable experience to its customers. This will delight them. And once that happens customers will seek out Samsung instead of the other way round. And Samsung would have realised its dream of becoming an ‘Apple’ of the appliances world! Do you agree with the strategy that I have proposed for Samsung?
In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here