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Customers are the last hurdle to remove for a smoother supply-chain

The Nespresso Prodigio case shows that companies are trying to remove the last uncertainty factor to maximize loyalty. This factor is the customer himself.

It’s not a bad idea indeed. Rather than building complex algorithms to predict customers’ behaviors, why not just remove the human factor from the equation ? If the proposed added value is sufficient it may well work.

Prodigio’s value proposition : enough to automate customer’s decision process?

That’s what Nespresso probably thought when they imagined Prodigio. Never running out of coffee should be a nice value proposition. Because one such value proposition is not enough to explain a price tag of more than 250€, they also added two other value proposals : program your coffee and maintenance information. Those two propositions look actually very weak. Who would need to program a coffee in advance when making a coffee in a fraction of seconds has been the cornerstone of Nespresso’s success.

The Nespresso case is interesting because it’s probably the first large-scale attempt to integrate the consumer’s home into the supply chain. Other attempts have remained more confidential.

The Evian’s smart drop project

In 2014 Evian launched its Smart Drop project, a drop-shaped connect object that enabled consumers to order their Evian water bottles in one click. This connect object was part of the Evian’s marketing strategy that aimed at connecting directly with customers and bypassing retailers.

Since 2014 however Evian has stopped communicating on this project which has probably not passed the adoption test.

The connected fridge

The connected fridge has long been a myth. Several models are presented each year at the CES in Las Vegas and the 2016 was no exception. We couldn’t actually locate exactly the first project of this type but it was surely more than 5 years ago.

The connected fridge is a retailers’ dream. Not only would it allow them to know exactly what you eat / drink and when but it would also, like the Prodigio machine, make the automatic ordering dream come true. Unfortunately it seems that customers are not yet ready to let the machine decide on their behalf (watch this Samsung presentation at 2016 CES in Las Vegas)


Most experts in the field will not necessarily understand the importance of the milestone set by the Prodigio machine in the supply-chain and retail areas. A important evolution of the supply-chain integration will depend on the adoption of Prodigio by customers. Keep following us for more analysis on this innovation and on the future of retail and logistics.


Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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