When developing new products, there’s a massive difference between thinking you have a winning product concept and knowing you do. With extensive product concept testing, you could be pouring significant resources into a project that is doomed from the start.
Before releasing a new product or revamping an old one, proper validation of your product concept will indicate the impact your new idea will have on your target market and ensure you can strike the balance between customer needs and company performance.
With that in mind, here are the four steps that will help you develop a winning product concept.
The first step involves narrowing down your ideas and firming up your summary of the product concept. You need to list and validate how your product concept brings value to the customer, how and where they will consume it, what the name of the product will be, who the target demographics are, its unique selling points, and how it fits into the overall brand vision.
This internal validation procedure is vital, as it could prevent you from pouring huge costs into developing a product that won’t sell once it hits the shelves. Startup food and beverage brands are usually the most guilty of rushing through this stage and heading straight to market for a product nobody really wants. As many as 35% of all startups fail because there wasn’t actually a market need for their product.
While you might have enlisted different departments or even outside consultants to discuss and distil the feasibility or market need for a product concept, you still need to put it to the test with the people that matter – your target consumers.
Without product concept testing with members of the public, you’re never going to truly understand how they feel about your suggested ideas. They could confirm concerns you and your team had, eradicating the colossal expense of going to launch with a product no one wants. Alternatively, you could have a winning product on your hands that meets all of the customer’s needs.
It would be best if you used focus group studies, surveys, and a range of other qualitative and quantitative research methods to build up an accurate picture of what your potential customers think of your new product concept before proceeding any further.
Committing to a new product concept launch is a huge undertaking for any size of household goods company. Getting it wrong could potentially leave your business on the edge of financial ruin.
Even if customers love what you have in mind, are you the right company to bring it to them? How will the product concept affect your existing product lineup? Will it cannibalise sales or prove a worthy addition that extends market reach? Would the resources needed to bring it to market leave you in a risky financial position? Will it help reach (and is it aligned to) your business goals?
These are all critical questions that need to be considered in great detail before committing to any large-scale development plan(s).
If your customers love it, you love it, and the business metrics are looking favourable, the last stage involves assessing the current market conditions. While new food concepts are arriving all the time, very little could be considered truly innovative, so the chances are you will have some competition to analyse.
This is where you assess if your product concept is good enough to draw customers away from what’s already out there. This phase is another one that should involve your target market. This time you might invest in user testing such as in-home use testing (if a household product concept) or consumer taste testing (for food and beverage products).
You might even, in partnership with your chosen consumer research firm, try small-scale, soft launches to gather early intelligence on your product concept’s level of consumer acceptance.
When you have a product concept that excels here (in addition to the steps above), then the chances are you are on to a winner, and it’s time to plough your budget into manufacturing and promotion activities.
Developing a winning product concept is no easy feat, but with careful planning and execution, it can be done. By following the four steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to releasing a product concept that meets – and potentially exceeds – customer needs.
Our team at WSS comprises industry leaders in product concept testing, and we have numerous consumer research methods available for capturing vital feedback regarding your proposed ideas.
Whether you merely want to rule out some ideas or you need to conduct a small-scale soft launch with members of the public, Wirral Sensory Services are here to assist you through every step of the product concept validation process.
Get in touch with a member of our friendly team today to learn more about our product concept testing services.