Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Was the Surf worth the wait?

Well, I've been trying to write this one for some time now, but life and work has got in the way.

Harrogate was the offical launch in the UK of the new Silver Cross Surf. But it's been kicking about longer than most know, as it was shown in a closed area at not just Cologne 2009 but also in 2008. With it having started it's life as an idea, as a thought in the minds of the design team way back in 2006. The idea to create something that meets all the needs of a parent today and to offer an alternative to Bugaboo.

The reason that i was told for the 1 year delay is that it was felt it would missed or less impactful to launch a year ago when it was supposedly ready with the Halo. But from what I have heard there was planned to be a new infant carrier car seat to go with it, which hasn't materialised and the Surf is using Maxi Cosi at present and Britax also soon.

But anyway, it's here at last, the new all singing all dancing modular pushchair system, their top of the range offering, the Surf. Well ok, only just here, as per usual stock is late, how come? Who knows?

But all the waiting as far as I'm concerned has taken away the excitement and anticipation I had for this product. As since it was heard of and since the news of it coming we've seen the market move, the economy change, and of course others beat Silver Cross to market with products very much like this. But maybe it's just me, as I've got so excited about this as a fan of their styling, but then let down by the time to market and the amount of actual real innovation in the final artical?

Moving on to the actual product itself. It has all the features you would expect, swivel wheels, height adjustable handle, all round suspension, reversible seat, detachable bumper bar etc etc... What's it's selling point though? Why choose this over say Concord, M&P or even Graco? As those are the guys that got to market before Silver Cross with something similar.

Well as normal the brand is what Silver Cross is hoping stands for something. Then attention to detail, and as usual this is there in abundance, just as the final overal visual appeal of the product is as you would expect from Silver Cross.

But as we've seen before this sometimes isn't enough to sell a product, and I had hoped that maybe there might have been some real content in terms of some of the Silver Cross that we saw on Sleepover, 3D where the product was not just about brand and design, but where someone had sat and thought what are users wanting, how are they using products and how can we make life easier for them? As this innovation can work far better than any flash advert as if there is something unique about a product that people want or need then they buy that product.

But I just don't see this on the Surf, yes it's suspension is different in how it operates, yes it's chassis construction is different, but how many customers come into a retailer and say that they want this, that this is what will influence their choice of purchase, that will make their life easier?

The things that do stand out looking at this as a potential customer is a small pointless basket, the secondary basket that costs more is again pretty useless as it won't hold all the things that are needed in an average parent/childs day. A seat unit that will be too small for an average sized 2 yr old, as their head will stick over the top of the seat hitting the hood or the seat tubing. Simple things to spot, well they are if you think about function, or have experience of how people use products. But it seems that the Surf is designed to look fantastic but no-one is leading the development and the designers of beautiful things are as most know, unable to think about function.

Will it be successful, well I guess there will be the fans of the brand buying it, those that have to have latest product buying. But in terms of those that have to watch the pennies, no, they'll be buying the Graco Symbio, in terms of those wanting a product that makes life easier then the M&P Mylo wins with it's true one hand fold.

Would I buy it? I'm not sure, as much as I love the brand, the styling of the product I just can't help but think I've been robbed from the product I had wished this was going to be or that it had the potential to be, the product that rewrote the rules, the product that changed the market.

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