One thing about being a dad of two little ones is that I have learned a lot about strollers.
Let me tell you: there are a lot of similarities between the stroller world and the car market.
The low-end of stroller market is like Honda Civics: reliable, sturdy, and plain. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against Honda Civics. In fact, it’s one of my favorite cars.)
The high-end of stroller market is like Mercedes: good looking, powerful, and luxury. Just check out the $979 Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller.
Then, there is the SUV equivalent of the stroller world for active parents — Bob Ironman Sports Utility Stroller. I can tell you from experience that it’s a great stroller for both parents and kids. I have talked to quite a few parents about their Bob Strollers. Everyone loved it.
What’s really interesting about Bob Stroller is that almost everyone parent I talked to purchased additional add-ons/accessories to the stroller.
Here are some examples of the add-ons:
- Car Seat adopter that allows parents to attach car seats from other manufacturers to the Bob Stroller.
- Handlebar console that holds water bottles, keys, cell phones, etc.
- Weather shield that protects kids from the rains.
- Warm and Fuzzy fleece panel and padded quilting that keeps kids warm.
These add-ons are not cheap. And the list of add-ons are expanding.
One could argue that the add-ons is a rip-off. They should be included as part of the stroller.
But, the bare bone Bob Stroller is such as a high quality product that many happy customers are willing to make the extra purchase.
The Bob Stroller is the platform. It’s also designed in such a way that manufacturers could add many new features on top of the platform.
I thought it’s a brilliant strategy.
We often talk about platform strategy in the software world (e.g. Microsoft Windows 7, Mac OS, Linux, etc.) But, it’s not a concept that is limited to the software industry.
Regardless of which industry you’re in, you should think about a platform strategy: build a high-quality core set of functionality that customers are willing to pay, but also has the flexibility to add bells and whistles to generate incremental sales.