Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rewarding Early Adopters

Here's a great idea posted on the Kindle forum earlier today. The suggestion is to reward (and encourage more) early adopters of the Kindle by giving them a credit towards any next-generation Kindle purchase. It's like the loyalty programs offered by some of the (mostly domestic) auto manufacturers: "You own a 2005 Red Barchetta (great Rush tune, btw) and want to trade it in on a 2008 one? Great. In addition to all the other rebates we're offering, you also qualify for the Barchetta loyalty discount of $1,000."

Kindle 1.0 will have to be supported long after Kindle 2.0 arrives. In fact, could you imagine being told at some point that your Kindle 1.0 device isn't supported any longer?! Now that would cause a ruckus!

So since Kindle 1.0 will be viable for many years, what's the harm in Amazon buying back a bunch of them as owners upgrade to 2.0? They could easily sell them to new Kindle customers, albeit for something much less than the $399 charged for new units today. And what a great way to reward the customers you value most, your early adopters? They're the ones out there showing off their new purchase and you can bet they're evangelizing your product to their friends.

Apple has never done something like this, as far as I know. Jeff Bezos, why not use this opportunity to set a new standard in customer loyalty and rewards?...