How to design a product for your customer rather than for yourself.
We have all had that moment. Something does not work well, and you think why hasn’t someone made this better? Or why doesn’t this other sort of product exist to solve my problem? This feeling can be the source of great inspiration and great ideas! Taking this thought and turning it into a new product requires tough but important questions. In this guide, we explore the importance of market research in product development and of not just designing the product that you want but the one lots of people will buy!
This should be a key consideration. How big is your market? You have this problem, but do others? This can be a common pitfall. You want to sell your product to a wide audience, and people are different. It can be easy to design to your own opinions, but the better route is to learn your market and their needs. Then use that as your north star. Okay, so you have learned your problem is common now onto the next step…
Great, you have identified a potential market for a solution to a common problem, but would everyone want this solved in the same way? Now you need to work out which features are customers drawn to and which are just adding to your overall cost. Don’t end up over designing your product as this can lead to a high price tag and more features than you can communicate to your customer. Asking for market feedback and learning what the core needs are helps you focus your solution.
(Ensure that your IP is protected before you do this! Read more about protecting your idea.)
There are a lot of ways to solve a problem. Your idea may be the perfect solution, but if it costs £50 and no one wants to pay more than £25, you will not have much success. Knowing early on how your customer values a solution can guide you in your development process so you design something commercially viable that will sell.
These questions should be answered at the beginning of your product development process. A small investment in answering these questions often saves a lot of money and time along your journey.
This can be achieved in a variety of ways. You can do your own internet sleuthing studying the current solutions out there. To get information from a larger data pool, D2M performs online surveys that can be targeted to your specific audience. We ask them the key questions about the product attributes and analyse the data to make thoughtful suggestions for the right path forward.
And this step should be throughout the development process! Once your idea comes to life in a prototype, you should check back with your customers and see if you hit the mark. Watching users test your solution is a critical experience, and often gives you vital information to create a great product. This can be done in a 1-1 interview basis or through a larger focus group.
Learning your market and their needs is a crucial step that will help you focus your product development process. Knowing your user can be the difference in a passing idea and a great product. Be sure to consider these factors when embarking on your product development journey.
Product development is a hugely exciting involved undertaking but should be done with the customer as your focus. Each project’s journey, from sketch to shelf, is likely to be different but market research should be used throughout to ensure that development is focused on the right areas. This is a difficult thing to do and most people will require the help of a professional designer or design agency to do it well. D2M can help…
Article written by Sarah Brand, Senior Designer at D2M Innovation ltd.
D2M Innovation has helped hundreds of people and SME’s develop and manufacture their exciting new products.
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