Example: Music Magpie. This product is dead. It deserves an emotional send off.

The ‘beep’, of acknowledgement from the Music Magpie App, indicates the 10 year depreciation of an £8 CD, that is now worth 64 pence. Such is the life of eroding media like CD’s. I hardly have any places now I can play a CD at home. The stereo from the kitchen is now a networked speaker, and hardly any computers in the house even have a CD slot. The only place equipped for playing a CD is the 10 year old Toyota Corolla, which I am sure will outlive many other media formats. 

That said, I am massively appreciative of the task that Music Magpie fulfils. Originally taking only CD’s and DVD, they now take all sorts of digital products, from phones too game consoles. 

Their App makes the task of ending your product relationship simple and convenient. A quick scan of the Bar Code of the product and their database informs you of the products monetary value. After log-in, you print out the sheet with your ID number on, pack the items in to a boxand leave it for the courier to pick up. 

Your boxed items will then go to the Music Magpie depot and be checked, after which they will pay you for the agreed amount. According to the reviews on the App Store, this is the most frustrating bit, and can take up to 4 weeks. Considering how simple the App, and early service experience is, its sad to think that the later service stages are letting the rest of it down. 

However, today my interest lies in improving the Music Magpie Closure Experience. On the whole it is a great service simplifying the end of numerous products. The only criticism I would make is the lack of emotion it has. When we purchase items we assume they are going to achieve something for us - a piece of music that makes us feel a certain way, some clothes we thought would make us look good. These are powerful emotional triggers. But the Music Magpie App skips over the opportunity to reflect on this emotional value. Choosing instead to revert to the simple, cold monetary value of the item. This cheapens the experience of product ownership.

There is a great opportunity here to improve the Closure Experience of these products and bring some user self-reflection about the product to the foreground. This self-reflection is something we miss at the end of many product experiences. Designing the Closure Experience more purposely can help with bringing self-reflection to the foreground. And with it an appreciation of what the product does to the person (ex:I really enjoyed that), and potentially what it means in a wider context like ,energy consumption, product miles or climate change.

I have a couple of proposals that could help here. Firstly inserting a pop-up in the user flow, just after the product is photographed and valued, that eludes to the end of the product experience (below). In the Marie Kondo process (see previous article) this would happen while the person is handling the item at which point they thank the item for ‘A job well done.’ Or in the case of music ‘thanks for bringing me such happiness…insert artist’. This punctuates the end of the product life-cycle. 

The second proposal would be pushing some of the nostalgia triggers from the user. A collation of album covers, or automated mix of the music could help here. This could be a link from the message confirming payment to the user. Again the aim would be to induce subtle thoughts of self-reflection at the end of the product experience. 

This might seem a bit ‘hippy’ for a hard-nosed start-up like Music Magpie, but it will will really add to the Closure Experience of the product for many people, induce emotions that led to them purchasing the product in the first place and hopefully a moment of self-reflection about wider issues of consumption.

We all too often move through our product experiences too quickly. Forgetting to assess what we have consumed. This undermines the material cost of consumption, and fuels the mindless purchasing culture we have developed. Considering the Closure Experience more in the customer life cycle can help increase emotional value in product experiences. And consequently valuing what went into making those products.