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New Product Research helps you improve product design and features before committing to expensive product development costs. Regular product testing and market research can, over time, drive innovation and thus be one step ahead of the competition.
Product testing is not just a matter of behind-the-scenes research and development. It’s about ensuring that your product is developed in a way that meets the needs of your customers.
Good enough, product research allows you to understand what customers really want, allowing you to tailor your product offering to meet demand and give you real competitiveness.
Why you need to do product research
Product research is an important part of new product development. At each stage of the process, research can help identify key issues and avoid costly mistakes.
Initial product research can be used to evaluate new ideas. Concept testing can help you dismiss unpromising ideas, allowing you to focus your time and money on products with the best chance of achieving commercial success.
It’s also worth creating “Minimum Sustainable Product” (MVP), a simple version that you can use to get customer feedback at the earliest possible stage.
As the process of developing a new product continues, market research helps you identify key factors that are important to your customers – showing you what to focus on. Product research can inform other aspects of marketing. For example, it can help you estimate how much customers might be willing to pay for new product features.
Research can also be used to test other aspects of product design, such as product packaging or names.
In the retail sector, product research can be invaluable. Findings can help convince merchants of your product inventory and also present information on the best ways to show and promote your product to maximize sales. It is worth talking to marketers at an early stage of development as their experience and knowledge can be invaluable.
Early stage research and testing
Testing a concept for new products can be very challenging. Questionnaires and focus groups are good options, but they can be misleading – the way people react to new products in theory can be very different from reality. Customers may say they like the new idea, but in reality they may be left to the competition.
There are many other ways to test a product. Try Google to search for products and services like yours to determine the level of demand. You can also find out what customers think of existing products by reading reviews and comments online. This often highlights common complaints and issues that your new product might solve.
Exploring a product using actual product samples or prototypes is a good idea. For example, the classic “taste test” can be used to evaluate how customers compare the performance of different products.
Some companies involve customers in testing products at an early stage to see how they respond. But remember that the actual results after a product is launched can still depend on factors such as how the product is marketed and how your competitors react.
Trial marketing and soft start
Trial marketing – actually product sales – produces more definitive results, but it is an expensive form of product research and can only be used after significant investment in product development.
Trial marketing can be a very useful way of trying out products in new markets to evaluate potential sales or identify changes that are needed.
You can also make a “soft” online launch a simple landing page and run a pay-per-click campaign to test demand. Explain to the publishers you will be launching soon and be sure to keep in touch with them.
Once your product launches
After launching a product, product research often focuses on customer satisfaction. Along with competing product research, product research like this can help you improve your existing product marketing and drive ideas for product improvements.
Supervised product research can be useful to guide both test marketing and complete product release. Customer surveys (for example, asking consumers what they like and dislike about a product) are an easy option.
Product research that tracks actual customer sales (for example, whether repeat customers buy) provides concrete evidence of customer satisfaction.