A Glovely Idea

Clorox Premium Choice Gloves incident highlights importance of user experienceDear Clorox:

I am an avid user of your Premium Choice Gloves which are “Neoprene Dipped for Extra Durability and Protection.”  Though I was not searching for neoprene-dipped gloves, I have become a loyal user of them as they are the most durable rubber gloves that Target sells to protect my hands as I scrub pots and pans.

Otherwise my hands would resemble those of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Usually I buy two pairs at a time, so when the first pair fails – via a tear in one of the gloves – I have a back-up pair ready.

Here’s the thing though.  It’s always the right glove that goes first. 

Yes, I am right handed.  Often the tear is at a fingertip worn from use.  Yesterday it was mid index finger because the blade in my blender pierced the glove.  But it did not pierce my finger and I am grateful for that.

Must be that neoprene dipping.

As a large consumer products company, I bet you are always looking for new product ideas or extensions. 

So how about this?

I would LOVE for you to sell a package with two right gloves and one left.

Throwing away a perfectly usable left glove irks me.  But storing the new left glove when I am forced to open a package for a new right one means I have to remember where I put it if the old left one ever gives out.

That’s too much to ask from a product I buy to protect my hands but not complicate my life.

I would pay more for a package with two right gloves and one left than for the usual pair.

How much more?  I knew you’d ask.

Well, more than the cost of a single pair but probably a little less than the cost of two full pairs if you insist on keeping those on the market.

Get cracking on this idea, will you?

One more thing.  For my left-handed friends, please consider a package for them with two lefts and a single right.

Otherwise I’ll be forced to create a Meetup group of Clorox rubber glove users so that right-handed users and left-handed users could swap their extras.  That is NOT a good use of my time.

Sincerely,

Evelyn Starr

Tap User Experience for New Product & Product Extension Ideas

This product extension idea came to me while I was washing dishes one night two weeks ago.

Not in a focus group.  Not in an interview.  But while I was using the product.

How much have you observed customers using your product?  Have you ever talked to them while they are using it?

As you can see from the letter, this is a good idea.  Pain points and frustrations are hard to recall in retrospect, but easy to experience and describe in the moment.

The more you understand your customers’ experience using your product, the better you can make it.  And uncovering deep pain points, frustrations and wishes can be a boon for new product ideas and product extensions.

Moreover, this kind of research – called ethnography and best done where the customer uses your product – can resonate more deeply with you.  Asking disjointed questions in a survey about when and where a customer purchases your product and how they use it makes it hard to get a clear picture of this experience.

But when you walk through their product experience with them, it becomes a cohesive story.  Just as it is easier for customers to bond with your brand via storytelling, it is easier for you to understand their needs and wants from their story.

Plus, it’s fun!  I’m all for fun in research.

Make time to explore your customers’ experience and you’ll be surprised at your deeper understanding of how your brand and products fit into their lives.  And at the ideas the research prompts.

What do you think?  Should Clorox create a three-glove offering?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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8 Responses to A Glovely Idea

  1. I think it is more useful and practical for them to create a one-glove offering (less than the price of a pair but a little more than half the price of a pair – packaging and all). Because you never really know which one you will tear first…..

    • Evelyn Starr says:

      You must be more ambidextrous than I am. I’ve never torn a left glove. But I see your point. What I liked about the three-pack was that for me it would be not only more convenient but less packaging to throw away over time.

  2. Jay Baum says:

    You, good friend, are brilliant. I suppose the one-glove option would work as well, but the goal would be to balance purchasing to usage. I do this when I buy a 5 pack of toner cartridges, C,M,Y plus 2 black, but If I need a single color or black cartridge to balance usage, I can get that, too. It seems that gloves should work the same way.

    • Evelyn Starr says:

      Wow, thanks. Yes, my goal was balancing purchase to usage. I am convinced that I’d only need that one left glove for the duration of the two right ones. And I too have found the ink cartridge multi-packs helpful.

  3. Great illustration of the consumer-centric approach! Another possibility would be to double dip the right hand glove so that it twice as durable than the left glove.

    • Evelyn Starr says:

      I like your thinking Victoria. I do wonder though if consumers would go for a product where one half was deliberately designed to be weaker than the other. Perhaps it would have to be marketed as a pair for right handers and then a separate offering for left handers.

      • Turning your point on its head, I would position it as a product where one half was specifically designed to be double strength, using the consumer insight that you so skilfully uncovered. I guess our discussion leads to the difference between strategy and implementation… Nice to “meet” a fellow BC MBA.

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