Reflections around canceling a successful product

Today I’d like to share a story about product lines and thinking strategic about them.

A few months back I took a look at my collection of Shopify apps and noticed something.

Since they were built, two of my apps have gotten close to each other in their features.

Both Repeat Customer Insights and Customer Segmenter were trying to answer the questions around "who are my most valuable customers?" Even though they approach that question differently, they were similar enough that even I getting confused about which app to recommend to someone.

I decided it would make more sense to combine the two apps into one.

Repeat Customer Insights was the more successful one and I liked the name of it a lot more, so I decided to merge Customer Segmenter into it.

I made a plan, guess-estimated how long it would take, and figured out the best way to make the transition smooth for all of my customers.

Then I proceeded to put it on the back-burner for a few months.

Why?

I’m not sure.

The amount of work wasn’t that high and it wasn’t too difficult of work either.

I knew what would be involved and how to counter many potential problems.

But something was holding me back.

Looking back, I think it was all in my head.

I built both apps from scratch so deciding to kill one off was painful. I’m not worried about it being called a failure (it wasn’t) but I think there’s some feelings of regret around it.

Which is silly right? It’s just software. Just a product I sell.

But I think it matters.

You and I have the ability to create things.

Businesses, software, physical products, etc.

Destroying them feels hard. It’s counter to what we naturally do.

But over the long-term, it’s a good thing.

With Customer Segmenter’s code living on in Repeat Customer Insights, I’ll have more time to focus on it and make it more valuable for customers. I’ll also be able to give a clear recommendation to people from now on.

If you’re interested in seeing what the new and improved Repeat Customer Insights includes, you can install it from the Shopify App store.

I still need to update the app store page a bit for the new Customer Segmenter reports but you can start using them today.

Eric Davis

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