Image Source: Guardian

Juicero was a Silicon Valley start-up that made cold press juicers and was launched in 2016. It had funding of $120M from 15 major silicon valley VCs and companies including Google Ventures, Campbell Soup Company, and Bryant Stibel Investments.

The idea seemed pretty novel and aimed at the health-conscious population looking for organic products. They employed the subscription model, similar to the razor and razorblade model. The main product is a cold press juicer that had Wi-Fi connectivity to trigger the juice press, and this has to be bought upfront. And Juicero also acquired fresh organic vegetables and fruits, cleaned and packaged them into single serving packets. All you have to do is put that packet in the juicer and it squeezes fresh juice, with little to no cleaning needed.

This appeared to be providing value for consumers, as they don’t have to go around looking for organic vegetables and fruits to buy. They don’t have to go through the hassle of cleaning, cutting, and making juice on the mixer, and then cleaning up everything. 

The juicer was originally priced very high at $699. And the single-serve packets were priced at $5-$7.

The problems

Pricing

The price of the juicer was way too high at $699, which ended up being a higher entry barrier for potential customers who are looking for organic juices. But owing to lower sales was dropped down to $399.

And the juice packets were also quite expensive, more than double what they cost at a local grocery store.

Lock-In 

They employed the lock-in system, like the razor-razorblade model. Those single-serve packets came with a QR code, and the juicer worked only upon scanning it. So users didn’t have any other choice but to buy those packets from Juicero. This meant the users are crippled and forced to buy only from them, which is not ideal for consumer satisfaction and retention.

Functionality 

The Juicer worked only when it was connected to Wi-Fi, which is an unnecessary feature that negatively impacted the consumers as it was primarily meant for the kitchen.

It had a camera to scan the QR codes of packets, so users couldn’t use third-party packets.

It also checked for expiration dates of the packet, so if it expired, it wouldn’t squeeze. And the packets had a very less shelf life of 8 days.

So essentially, it was ridiculously over-engineered which didn’t contribute much to enriching user experience but actually made it worse.

The infamous 1-min video

Bloomberg published a video comparing squeezing the packets with the juicer and with bare hands. Both were completely identical, so the juicer was practically useless. This completely destroyed Juicero, as consumers who bought it felt cheated and demanded refunds.

Juicero tried to do damage control by emphasizing the supply chain they built for organic foods and how they’re centered around fresh and healthy products. But they never recovered and Juicero was eventually shut down in Sep 2017.

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