What SaaS Companies Can Learn From The Wine Industry

Pre Scriptum: I’ve stated before that because one S in SaaS stands for service, let’s move our attention to what services businesses — their mistakes and their lessons.

A lot of people have coffee every day. They prefer having it in a mug. Having it in a glass would feel… weird? Different? It wouldn’t be a proper fit.

We, as humans, have advanced. We’ve developed a lot of glasses. Glasses for water, wine glasses, champagne glasses and so on. For wine, they’re even different given red or white wine. Connoisseurs will note that there are glasses for full-bodied red, light-bodied red, rose, sparkling (not champagne! got to be careful not to discriminate) and light-bodied white wine.

I’m not one but even for me, I can slightly tell the difference between the red, white and sparkling wine glass.

And then there’s tea. There are full tea sets with all their cups and plates and so on. You won’t pour tea into a wine glass. You could, for utilitarian value but hey, once we’re past that point, we can be choosy.

We can get so choosy to the point where we won’t actually have that drink if it’s not in the right recipient — at least people do. We can skip a beverage because of the square peg in a round hole problem.

I’ve had it once. I was liking my energy drink and as much as it sounds very weird, I only did so because of the packaging. Why? Once I poured it into a mulled wine glass (just for the sake of it), it “tasted” like some cough syrup I was probably having in my childhood.

Did it taste different? Science and common sense say no. Something inside of me said yes.

The experience was different. Ever since then, I’ve never had energy drinks. I didn’t cast a spell upon me that I would never ever touch them but I simply didn’t feel like. Just because it was poured into a glass and I haven’t had it out of the can.

What’s your point?

My point is this: after a certain threshold of utilitarian value, people can get picky. That’s not the case if there’s no competition — they can choose what you do or nothing at all. And if you’re in that position, you better start widening the gap between your company and the next contender, whenever they might emerge.

But that’s something I’m not stating for the first time.

My other point is this: the internet reduced the costs of entry for a lot of things. Social media’s cost of entry versus TV or radio. An online shop vs a brick and mortar. Thousands of examples.

Because of that, we’re heading towards a society that will have more and more niches for more and more refined audiences. If before we had “solutions for cars”, we’ll eventually have “solutions for 1962 to 1970 Jaguar E-Type female owners” — so there’s a community that’s filtered by: gender, car make and model and year of production. My idea is that it’s pretty filtered.

Before, there was not enough “space” for this kind of filtering to happen. Now, there is. Solution can be a blog or a car parts shop.

As a consequence, and here’s my idea in a sentence),

We’re dividing more and more into smaller assemblies/tribes. The more we do that, the more we’ll differentiate by personality.

As voice becomes more and more integrated into our society, yes, companies will have voices — and then it will be easier for us to grasp the concept of personality.

Shopify is providing e-commerce solutions for business people. It’s a “what you see is what you get” solution. Bigcartel is making it clear from the first second that it’s for the “artists and makers”. Their most expensive e-commerce solution is capped at 300 items — does that mean that you have to prove you’re one of the two to use it? No. And not all Bigcartel clients are artists.

That’s Bigcartel’s personality and they do that in order to connect to the personality of the artist. And by speaking so strongly to these people, somehow it happens that non-artists use Bigcartel as well.

Are you still serving “everyone”? Is your product “for everyone”? Chances are, if you’re reading this, then no.

You’ve gone past the hurdle of “I want my product to be bought/utilised by everyone”. Let’s double down on that — personality.

About Ch Daniel

I run chagency, an experiences design agency that specialises on helping tech CEOs reduce user churn. We believe experiences are not only the reason why users choose not to leave but also what generates word of mouth. We’re building a credo around this belief.

If I’ve brought you any kind of value, follow me and get in touch here: LinkedIn | Twitter | Email

I’ve also created an infinitely-valuable app for sneaker/fashion enthusiasts called Legit Check that impacted hundreds of thousands over millions of times – check it out at chdaniel.com/app

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