02 July 2015

Customer First

Enthrill began as a publisher, creating immersive experiences through transmedia storytelling.

In the process of developing our award winning transmedia experience, we created a technology to distribute ebooks to any device, regardless of platform.

We soon realized the value of this technology had enormous potential; we could liberate publishers and proliferate the distribution of ebooks. Add to this a desire amongst brick & mortar stores to participate in digital sales and we have a recipe for success.

Enthrill pivoted in 2010 - what we are today is a result of that pivotal moment when we realized our technology could make a real difference for publishers, retailers and consumers.

Knowing we had the key to unlocking consumers, publishers and retailers from the grips of a handful of online platforms meant we had to do it right. We had to build our system to be resilient, redundant and fully scalable. For Enthrill to realize full value, the system needed to be fully proprietary and built from the ground up. This is no easy task, especially considering we're venturing into uncharted waters. Enthrill, since day one has hired the best of the best and every single person that has worked for us, present and past has moved us forward in our continued evolution.

Technology is nothing if it can't be used easily.

I spent most of my career working on consumer experiences. From alternate reality games (ARGs), transmedia storytelling, packaging design, ERP software to simple marketing pieces (some not so simple). I have preached about the customer experience and how important it is, over and over and over again. And, I still have to explain it... customers come first. If you're not thinking that way, then you're thinking about your needs and not the customers - and, this will be reflected in your product.

If you are developing anything that people will need to use, they need to be able to actually use it. And, the easier you make it the more people will use it. Think about this for a second: How many people use a pencil? How many people use violins?  I like violins just fine, but pencils don't require years of practice to use.  Simplicity = access. The harder you make something the less likely you are to have it adopted by any critical mass of people - in consumer packaged goods, it needs to be dead simple; to understand, to purchase, to engage with, to enjoy.

So, that is why we developed everything at Enthrill from the customer up. We began with the customer experience and worked it backwards to the technology. Sure, this was difficult, but at the end of the day, any barrier between a customer and the product is a barrier between us and success as a company.

We could have done it easier, we could have just developed an app. There are many reasons we chose to not go into the app space, you can read them here, most have to do with thinking of the customer first, not the technology. The customer doesn't care about the technology, it should be invisible to them. We could have used an existing DRM in the market, but no customer wants additional steps, they want fewer. Water follows the path of least resistance... and so do people.

If a customer can engage easily they will do so with frequency. That is the goal.

While our team has devoted itself to developing a winning formula for the customers of mass retail chains such as Walmart, Sears and Safeway, we have learned a lot along the way. There is a magic formula between the technology and what the consumer wants to purchase. We have just completed a new round of market tests that put us closer to hitting the bullseye on this formula. In the fall, we'll be featuring this new product in over 6000 retail stores.

At the end of the day, we have created something that customers want... watch for us this fall in your favourite stores. We are Enthrill and we sell ebook gift cards.