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How CX helped a luggage startup glide into product-market fit

Published by Tom Uhlhorn on

When I first met Adrian Stone, I knew him as an angel investor, and was curious as to what our engagement with his investment fund was going to look like. When he told me that he wanted to talk about his upcoming luggage venture, I became even more intrigued: "CX" and "hardware" is a goldmine of opportunity. So many services organisations see the potential of CX, but manufacturers seem to put a transition into the experience economy into the "too hard basket".

What Adrian, and his co-founder Tim, had, was a vision that they believed was going to be the best thing since Bernard Sadow put wheels on luggage in 1970. Glide, their new luggage startup, was going to revolutionise travel (again).

The problem was that every other luggage manufacturer believes the same thing. At the time, "smart luggage" was in and every second Kickstarter was promoting their new robotic, self-charging, or 4x4 luggage, whilst New York darling, Away, were on their their $1.4 billion valuation as the luggage brand for millennials.

As Adrian put it to me, "none of these are that different", and he was right, but that doesn't mean that he was guaranteed for success. When, like Tiny CX, you're in the game of "value", one of the first principles is that "value" is a matter of perception. Whether or not something is objectively better doesn't make a lick of difference if your customers don't believe it.

So, being the CX professionals that we are, we determined to help Glide in optimising its product-market fit and go-to-market fit through our proprietary framework, the CXecklist™:

Step 1. Unlocking the value drivers for luggage

For Glide's target market, we needed to uncover what the value drivers are when it comes to the ideal luggage experience, and after completing a market research sprint, we were able to extract 7 qualitative insights (which were all quantified to ensure scalability). We have excluded these insights from this article to protect IP.

"Using Tiny CX early in the product development cycle enabled us to create a truly customer-centric experience for our luggage brand."

- Adrian Stone, CEO

Step 2. Optimising product-market fit

These 7 insights informed Tim Ford (creative & product) and his team of designers in ensuring that every aspect of the product met the value drivers of the target market, which led to some significant changes in the physical products, including sacrifices in product design that saved some expensive headaches later-on in the product development journey.

Step 3. Optimising brand-market fit

Glide understood the value of a brand, but didn't know how to articulate theirs in a way that was compelling to their target market. By combining our branding process, The Positioning Tree™, with our Voice of Customer process, we were able to align the Glide brand story with the core value drivers of the market to create a compelling brand that connects the company with its customers to drive brand recognition and loyalty.

Step 4. Optimising go-to-market fit

Working under a pretotyping/growth hacking framework, we have continued to optimise Glide's go-to-market strategy as Tim and his design team have been working on perfecting the manufacturing process. Using data to inform our insights, Glide's go-to-market playbook is already rich with insights, experiences, and tactics that can be implemented at-scale when the product is ready to ship.

Step 5. Watch this space

We can't reveal much about Glide yet, but we'll complete this story when Glide is trading to provide a report on the impact our services have had on the success of the brand.

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