Saturday, June 12, 2010

Packaging Vehicles Added Value: The L'Or Espresso Case Study

I wanted to share with you some thoughts about a discussion I had with a friend of mine about the new l'Or Espresso capsules that have been released to compete with Nespresso's on the Nespresso coffee machine. Indeed, for a decade, Nespresso owned a pattern that gave them exclusivity on the productions of capsule for their self designed espresso machine.

Now the pattern deadline is over, and therefore some competitors have started to release some new caps. I have been very interesting about this story, because it is very interesting how nespresso, which had a 100% control over its business model (also due to the fact it was the only one to actually distribute its caps) will see the arrival of new competitors, and also to face a new distribution channel (traditionnal retailing) which the brand has always refused to consider.

A friend of mine own one of those machines, and as a coffee lover, I have been very interesting about the topic. We have been looking for several weeks for those caps, as in all the store we visited we could not find those new caps.

We finally did. I believed for quite a while that the quality of Nespresso coffee came from its high pressure which delivers all the flavors from espressos. But actually, as we could see with those new capsules, they have nothing in common with Nespresso's one.

Hence, the capsules are packed in a plastic cover, as the plastic capsule is already pre opened to allow the coffee to spilt. As you might imagine, there is hence a true difference between they experience you could get with the real nespresso caps, and those ones.

This story shows out once more the importance of packaging. Indeed, as a matter of fact, the first step of customer experience is bad due to the lack of quality of the packaging. Also, the price difference between the two products does not explain the difference in packaging quality.

Once again, first customer experience is the second moment of truth. It is therefore very important to think as a customer which would open for the first time the product, in order to keep this moment magical.