It’s vital to have a robust new product design process. If you can design and launch the perfect new product, one that solves a problem consumers didn’t even know they had, while playing to the particular strengths of your brand you can bring swathes of new customers into your business and give your existing customers a new way to spend money with you, boosting your revenue!
The investment of resources you have to make is relatively modest compared with other forms of growth: it’s not as resource intensive as opening new locations or broaching new territories but as with anything in the world of business it comes with risk : if the new product doesn’t find its audience it won’t repay its development costs, and on top of that there’s the harm to your brand caused by a public failure to deliver.
To avoid those risks, and help your design process tend towards success, you need a rigorous process of research and testing.
The first step in your design process is concept testing. If your consumers can’t understand the fundamental concepts underpinning your proposed product then whatever its final form looks like, however it’s marketed and whatever its price-point is, it will never be fundamentally successful.
Testing the concept means taking it to people who haven’t worked on it, or for your business, who aren’t connected to you or have any greater expertise in your industry and finding out if they can understand:
- What this product is and does
- Why it’s different to other products
- How they’d use it in their lives
- If it’s valuable to them
If your customers can’t understand it, what it is and how it’s different to the competition, then they won’t buy it, quite simply. If they can understand the product on offer, but they don’t see a use for it, then once again it’s hard to see it finding an audience. That last point helps you identify a price-point for the product – and shape your development budget to match.
This is only the first round of testing in your product development process. As it takes on a more concrete form, more tests with more developed prototypes help you shape the final form of the product, whether it’s a physical item to be sold in stores, a software license or a financial instrument, ensuring it meets the needs of your customers and communicates its value to them as clearly as possible, to help them decide they need to spend their money on it.