Product research is a crucial step in the product development process. It helps companies understand the needs and preferences of their target market, identify potential competitors, and develop a product that meets the demands of the market. According to C Todd Lombardo, VP of Product and Experience at Openly, “product research done well can help you to avoid making a whole load of bad product decisions.”
Product research consists of user research, market research and analytics all together. This research helps evaluate the problems customers have in a market context and bring them with analytics to show how people use these products. The failure rate for new products and services can be as high as 90% in some sectors making product research imperative for businesses.
In this blog, we will outline five steps to effective product research.
- Define your target market and the problem:
The first step in effective product research is to identify your target market. This includes understanding the demographics, needs, and preferences of your potential customers. This will help you tailor your product research efforts and ensure that you are developing a product that meets the needs of your target market. Furthermore, defining the problem, you need to solve will help determine the information you need and how to get it. This helps organizations simplify the overarching problem or opportunity to best address the loss of market share or how to launch a new product.
- Conduct market research:
Once you have defined your target market, the next step is to conduct market research to gather information about the market. This can include gathering data on the size and growth of the market, as well as trends and potential opportunities for your product. There are several ways to conduct market research, including online research, surveys, and focus groups. Most of the data collected will be quantitative (numbers or data) versus qualitative, which is descriptive and observational. Ideally, you will gather a mix of the two types of data. This way, businesses receive hard data and qualitative data that provide both colour and insight.
- Identify potential competitors:
It is important to understand the competitive landscape in which you will be operating. This includes identifying potential competitors and understanding their products, pricing, and marketing strategies. This will help you position your product in a way that differentiates it from the competition and meets the needs of your target market. Find bestsellers on ecommerce marketplaces to help you understand what is selling. You can find profitable products from all categories. This helps businesses to never run out of product ideas for your business.
- Gather customer feedback:
If you have already sold a product before and you have started building your customer base, one of the best ways to get product ideas is from your own customers. You can send an email to your customer base asking for their feedback on a few product ideas you have in mind. Customer feedback is an invaluable source of information when it comes to product research. This can be gathered through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews with potential customers. By gathering customer feedback, you can get a better understanding of what features and benefits customers are looking for in a product and how they perceive your product compared to the competition.
- Continuously gather data and assess your product:
Product research is an ongoing process and should not end once your product is launched. It is important to continuously gather data and assess your product to understand how it is performing in the market and identify any potential areas for improvement. This can include tracking sales data, gathering customer feedback, and monitoring competitors.
Get opinions from leading users who foresee upcoming trends in the market. Build a team with expertise in various disciplines: design and production, technical requirements, marketing experts, finance and management departments to understand the dynamics involved in the process. The focus should be on satisfying the client, standing out from the competition, and showing potential for turning a profit.
It’s important to subscribe to prominent tech publications and platforms such as Azure and AWS to get the latest tech features announcements. This helps, the product development team understand the important tech trends that help in shaping product development and product markets.
“To create a user-centric research culture, conduct user interviews and create user personas. The more organic the research process, the better. It’s ideal to catch users in situations where they answer by instinct instead of having carefully crafted answers. It’s what they say instinctively that leads to better product solutions,” according to Roy Morejon, President and Co-Founder, Enventys Partners.
By following these five steps to effective product research, you can develop a product that meets the needs of your target market and stands out in a competitive landscape. By continuously gathering data and assessing your product, you can ensure that it remains relevant and meets the evolving needs of your customers.