Kindle Brand Loyalty

There’s an extremely interesting discussion going on at the kindle forums – How Strong is your Kindle Brand Loyalty?

There are two things in particular that are worth looking at -

  1. How much better would a product have to be to steal Kindle owners? 
  2. What’s the impact of the Internet Mass Media’s relentless attacks on Amazon and Kindle?

The Raw Numbers on Kindle Brand Loyalty

First, let’s do a poll –

The discussions at Amazon had these rough statistics (out of 35 or so people) -

  1. Very Loyal due to Amazon Loyalty – 6 people.
  2. Very Loyal – 7 people. 
  3. Somewhat Loyal – 6 people. 
  4. No Loyalty – 9 people. All these people said they would pick the best eReader.
  5. Anti-Amazon – 1 person.
  6. Lost Loyalty due to Amazon’s actions – 1 due to the 1984 issue. 2 due to lack of Folders.

Interestingly, the single biggest feature request is folders (8 people actually mentioned it as their big ‘make kindle better’ feature).

This is probably the most unscientific survey ever (on a self-selecting group no less). However, it does detail something interesting -

People are not going to leave the Kindle and Amazon unless a clearly better product comes out.

Three Big Walls that Amazon has created

Based on the discussion, and what people have written at the forums in the past, there are three big walls Amazon has created -

  1. Loyalty to Amazon – Customers trust Amazon.
  2. Kindle = best eBook Solution – Kindle’s Wireless Network, Cheap Book Prices and Range of Books really separate it from every other eReader.  
  3. Kindle lock-in and the cost of switching – Being first to market, getting a lot of kindle owners, and kindle’s proprietary format means that there are multiples costs to switching.

There have been a lot of studies on how owning a ‘member’s card’ at a grocery store drastically increases the probability of shopping there.

Its a principle called committment and consistency where you see yourself as a member and it becomes part of your identity.

Owning a Kindle definitely would have some similar effect, and probably more of an impact.

Impact of all the Negative Publicity

It was interesting to see just 1 person (out of 35) mention the 1984 issue.

Wonder whether there’s more to the relentless attacks on the Kindle than just a lot of slow news days – 

  1. Have the media decided that Amazon is becoming too powerful and public opinion needs to be turned against them?
  2. Is it that there’s an extremely vocal minority that’s totally out of touch with what customers actually want.

It just seems that what people really care about is convenience, and not DRM. Yet the big sites keep harping on about DRM.

The Real Threats to Kindle and Amazon’s Brand Loyalty

 It seems that there are only two real threats to the Kindle in the near future -

  1. Not improving the Kindle.  
  2. A markedly better eReader from a trusted company like Apple.

The two important questions in Kindle Owners’ minds seem to be -

  1. How much better will Kindle 3 be? 
  2. When will Folders be added to Kindles?  

If Amazon answers those correctly it has little to fear.

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