Why Apple and Amazon are trying to build their "Garden with walls"?
Have you ever asked somebody why they use an iPhone or an Apple product?
Some of the usual replies to this question are :
• Sometimes it is hard to break away from that ecosystem
• Its everything about the iMessage in the ecosystem.
• Sometimes it's because it is the best all-around phone and sometimes they feel that the hardware is superior.
• Its mostly how all apple devices work together with each other providing a seamless experience.
What is this so-called ecosystem?
An ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms. In technology terms, this means a group of devices with software to create one synergistic network. Many companies use this to create a 'family' of products, but no one has mastered it like Apple with the Apple Ecosystem.
Apple makes a lot of products, but it also makes a lot of software that ties all these products together. Now what makes this ecosystem the most successful ecosystem ever, is not only how well they work together but the walls they have built up around those things that are living inside this ecosystem. This is what we call "a walled garden." "Walled Garden" is an expression that means everything that is in this beautiful luscious garden is blooming and every flower is in spring, but the walls surrounding the garden on the outside are really tall. And no one wants you climbing out or trying to explore beyond the wall.
Let's understand the ecosystem with an example, it all begins when you buy an iPhone, and a Macbook. Suddenly you are replying to your imessages on your MacBook or listening to calls on your MacBook, setting reminders on your phone, and when you are working on your MacBook, they are still there. You are web browsing on your phone, and when you sit down on your laptop, and it shows you where to pick up exactly where you left off. You have the iCloud drive, so any files on one are automatically also on the other. And for anything not showing up -there is always 'airdrop'(peer to peer sharing).
Want to make a video call ? You can use any of the devices. So, now a year later you are in the store to buy a smartwatch, and guess, which watch do you buy? No surprises it is the apple watch because for one reason it is convenient. It aligns to your work, and as human beings, we aspire convenience and symmetry. You can link the iMessage, calls, reminders, and everything under the sun on your phone, your Macbook and now the newly purchased brand new 'smartwatch.'
All these services and products are made to be as good as possible, but they are also designed in a way to hook the customer to the Apple ecosystem. The bait is their technology and the ecosystem, and the prize is a you-the customer.
In essence, having an Apple product disconnects the user from using many exceptional products from third-party companies, mostly because third-party products usually are not compatible with Apple products.
A perfect example here would be the internet sensation AirPods!
The removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, encouraged users to buy AirPods. The ease of setting-up creates a want for the AirPods, as does the fluency of its use within the ecosystem. AirPods use a W1 chip which can connect to any device on one's iCloud account automatically so the convenience to stay on the ecosystem is a significant decision making a factor. And as pointed out earlier convenience is the mother of invention, and building an ecosystem requires the companies to feed on this basic need of human behaviour.
The second instance of clever manipulation of the ecosystem to draw consumers would be Amazon. Though the strategy is the same, Amazon's modus operandi is different, it is intended in putting itself at the heart of how consumers engage with the content. To achieve this, it has cleverly used 'Prime Day 'to push them deeper into its ecosystem. The more Amazon can get people to listen to books, stream music, films, and chat to Alexa, the more valuable a customer that consumer is.
Amazon controls 70% of the 'voice-controlled speaker market' this year, taking another massive step towards owning lives and homes.
With Alexa streaming music, turning down the heating, helping kids with their homework, making shopping easier, providing weather updates, acting as a kitchen assistant or sometimes just being a voice in an empty room that listens, Alexa is becoming an integral part of our day to day lives making it irreplaceable.
Amazon Prime was the genius stroke that cemented loyalty to Amazon online shopping. We paid for it readily because we believed – with good reason – that we are getting great value from it.
Once a Prime membership is bought, we worked hard to convince ourselves that we were maximizing the benefits of the membership. According to research, Amazon Prime members spend almost twice as much per year at Amazon compared to the non-members.
Amazon's ecosystem is a bit different than you expect. Amazon is increasingly a middleman for third-party sellers. It takes a percentage of sales in exchange for handling the website, taking care of the invoicing & payment, and serving as the ultimate arbiter for customer support.
No matter how the package is delivered, Amazon receives a fee. It receives a fee if it stores the product and ships the package. It receives a fee if it does nothing but displays the item on the website and send the order to the seller.
This 'Garden with walls' is an excellent move by Apple and Amazon to weed out competition.