If you have a great idea for a product, before you spend any time and energy creating or sourcing it, there are a few things I suggest you do to help set yourself up for success.
Knowing who your customer is can help to ensure you create the product they want and need.
Take a few minutes to jot down as much detail as you can. (It doesn’t matter if you’re guessing a little!)
For example, for my own products, my customers are mainly Mums and they either have an interest in sustainability, or they just want to buy things that last, and they don’t mind paying a little bit extra for that.
Remember, your customer is the person buying your product - not necessarily the person who’ll be using it. So if you’re selling children’s products, the child isn’t your customer! Although, of course, you do also need to be thinking about them too.
Maybe you know some potential customers personally, or perhaps you can find them in Facebook groups, or other online (or offline) groups. For example, if you are targetting women in business you could look at specific Facebook Groups for women in business or mothers in business.
Now you have a sense of who they are, finding them should be a little easier. Whether you’re looking for cat lovers, or people who regularly meditate, there are bound to be plenty of groups and forums with your ideal customers already there.
Now, I know this can be scary. You don’t need to say “I’m going to create X (whatever your product is), what do you think?” (which might not be ok in all situations anyway) if that isn’t comfortable for you. There are definitely other ways to go about it.
You could ask more general questions, even in online groups - i.e. “Hi everyone. Has anyone ever brought an X?” “If not, why not?” “If so, what did you think?”
You can then follow up on the answers to learn more.
Another great question to try is:
“If you were buying an X, what would it need to do / be to exceed your expectations?”
Try this post for more ideas on how get some relevant answers from your ideal customers.
Make sure you take notes of everything you find out here (whether you agree or not!)
This is especially hard if you’re creating a product for people like yourself. (I’ve been through this too!)
However it’s really important to create a product that your customers actually want, rather than the product you think they want!
It’s good to know if there’s anything similar on the market right now.
If so, do people buy it, how much for and what do they think about it?
You can find out all of this by doing a bit of online research.
I always use Amazon for this, as there’s a huge range of products and most will have reviews you can read and learn from. (And if the product(s) you’re interested in have no reviews, think about what this tells you too…)
Note down product features, price and what the reviews say.
You have a lot of knowledge now! Well done on all that research you’ve done.
The next step is to take everything you’ve learnt and figure out how your product is going to add value.
Give these questions some thought:
I’ll share an example using my bamboo hooded towels.
When I did my research, customers told me that most towels on the market for newborns only lasted a few months at best. So I made my towels bigger and thicker.
I also found out that customers wanted a hood and I could see from my online research that the simplest designs tended to be the most popular.
All my products are made from bamboo and I chose to keep my towels white and unbleached, so I wouldn’t be adding any unnecessary chemicals to a natural material.
Putting together size + weight + hood + simple design + bamboo fibres + no added chemicals = a great product!
Now you have the basis of a product specification, run it by some of your ideal customers again and see what feedback they have.
I always recommend doing as much validation as you can, before you spend any time and money.
If you’ve got this far, congratulations! You should now have a really good idea of what your product is, does and consists of, which will really help you when you come to creating or sourcing it.
Find Vicki at https://www.vickiweinberg.com/