Why Does Nespresso Ignore Their Fans?

Nestle’s global head of R&D bragged to the media a few weeks ago about how they can get innovation to market faster than many startups.  

Isn’t that nice? 

Nestle still has much to learn about scaling new brands in the U.S. The extension of their $5B global Nespresso brand has been painful to watch for its sheer arrogance. But it’s a master class in how NOT to treat customers if you are an under-capitalized startup. 

Startups rely on heavy-using, raving fans to drive financial efficiency in local geographic sales and provide the best free marketing. Banking on fans leads you to appreciate each and every one. 

I’ll be honest, however. One of the reasons I wrote Ramping Your Brand in 2019 was that I was meeting loads of new consumer brands at trade shows hell bent on shoving their product all over the U.S. without much concern for consumer dialogue. They were trying to scale, with little money, just like multi-billion dollar Nespresso pushed its awkward, poorly designed DTC experience into the US. 

What kind of DTC brand today would launch in a market with:

  • GTMetrix score of “D” for website speed and performance (!); the PGS site you are on right now gets an “A.”
  • Burying subscription ordering until you get to the shopping cart
  • Up to 7 days ship time for free shipping regardless of order value
  • Paid shipping could still take three days (or more)
  • No rewards/points system offered
  • Unreliable third-party home delivery to second-tier U.S. cities and markets
  • Re-organization of U.S. shipping modes without communicating anything upfront to members
  • Soul-less low, paid customer service agents who are not easy to get hold of

Nespresso.com is a master class on how NOT to run a DTC business in a country that has set the highest standards for DTC worldwide. 

Every U.S. customer lost is $2,500+ in annual revenue. This hurts deeply with not a lot of lost households.

Dr. James Richardson

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