7 tips for effective product research

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Product research can be the difference between failure and success. Skipping it is a costly and time-consuming mistake. In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of product research.

So you have a genius idea for a product. You should hurry and act now before someone else steals it, right?

Not exactly. It is essential to start by doing thorough product research. Effective product research can be the difference between complete failure or overwhelming success. Skipping it is a costly and time-consuming mistake.

Overview: What is Product Search?

Product research is a component of market research, which is an essential step in the development and launch of any product. Market research involves gathering valuable information about your target audience and buyers, including their needs, wants, and where they like to shop.

Specifically, product research helps you test product concepts, evaluate ideas, vet competitors, price your product, and avoid costly mistakes. Even after your product launches, continuous research allows you to gauge customer satisfaction and make improvements.

Why is it important to research products?

Even the most brilliant product idea is worthless if there is no market for it. And you certainly don’t want to spend large sums to launch a product that doesn’t sell. This is where the search for new products comes in.

Product research provides the ability to identify potential problems and avoid costly mistakes. This helps ensure there’s a market for your product, see what your competitors are doing well – and what you can do even better – and gauge how much customers will pay.

Test various aspects of your design, such as names and packaging, to see how they play with your target audience. Analyze possible obstacles and think about how you can extend the product life cycle.

7 tips for effective product research

Thorough research gives you the insight needed to create and execute a well-planned and highly intentional strategy. With a strategic approach, you will minimize errors and maximize profits. Follow these tips to gather key information when developing and releasing a successful product.

1. Look for high-demand products

If you don’t have a product concept in mind yet, get inspired by looking at currently popular products. Check out trending hashtags, pins, and comments on Pinterest, and top-selling products on Amazon. You can even walk around physical stores to see what they sell and how the items are categorized.

Do you already know what kind of product you want to sell? Follow the same process but refine your search to only look at products and product categories similar to yours.

Remember to keep an open mind when trying to determine the level of demand. Your goal is not to convince yourself that your product idea is exceptional. Your goal is to honestly assess the request and then come back to the drawing board if necessary.

2. Read reviews and case studies on similar products

When looking for products like yours, be sure to read the reviews. Reviews are a wealth of information about what consumers liked and disliked about a product. Often, customers detail weak points and describe specific improvements or features they would like to see.

Amazon search is a great way to accomplish this task. Additionally, Amazon flags bestsellers, “Movers and Shakers,” and even products that are frequently purchased together.

Searching Amazon gives you additional insight into how consumers think throughout the buying process. You can come up with an idea for a handy product bundle you could offer or a stellar cross-selling strategy. Amazon search is especially useful if you have an online storefront.

Likewise, download or purchase case studies from companies that have sold similar products in the past. Case studies typically identify the issues the business faced and then describe how the issue was resolved.

By reviewing reviews and case studies, you can think about potential issues and resolve them before they arise. You will also identify how your product will improve against similar existing products, differentiating you from the competition.

3. Hire product engineers

It helps to involve unbiased experts in your product development. Product engineers are available on a contractual basis. They can evaluate your design and test prototypes to ensure quality and usability.

If needed, they can also help you analyze market research, develop design ideas, and oversee the production of your product.

4. Organize a focus group

Hire people who match your target market to review your product. Provide a product profile. What will it look like? What are its features and benefits? Then ask specific questions about their likes and dislikes and whether they would buy the product.

It is important to note that focus groups are not always the most effective. People can say they like a product and would buy it, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to them dropping out of your competitors and buying your product in the real world.

Bringing a prototype or sample of your product makes the feedback you receive more meaningful and valuable.

Another option is to use product finder tools such as SurveyMonkey to reach a wider audience with online polls and surveys. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that solicit specific and actionable feedback. “Yes, I like that” and “No, I would never buy that” are not exactly useful information.

5. Don’t neglect product marketing

Having a great product and knowing how to fix it is essential, but you cannot overlook the importance of product positioning and marketing strategy. Again, it helps to research your competition here. How did they market their product? Did their strategy succeed? How could you improve it?

Also consider your target audience. What communication channels and social media platforms do they use the most? Where do they find inspiration for the products they would like to buy?

Where do they shop? What are their interests? Your marketing strategy must resonate with your target audience and speak their language.

If you don’t have an online store for your product yet, research e-commerce software and decide which system is best suited to your needs and target audience. Use search engine optimization (SEO) and engaging copywriting to attract customers.

You will need to select your marketing strategies, channels and tools, then plan a marketing campaign.

This can include a launch event, email marketing campaign, social media posts, help from popular influencers, paid ads, etc. If that seems overwhelming, The Ascent’s guide to marketing a product online will help.

6. Use a soft launch for product marketing

Test marketing and soft launches help you test your product to estimate sales. If the trial goes wrong, you can modify the product before spending more money to produce and market it.

Test marketing provides useful information, but is expensive and can only occur after substantial product development.

A soft launch, meanwhile, doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Set up a simple landing page for your product, then run a pay-per-click campaign to gauge demand.

When people ask about your product, explain that you are about to launch it. Provide a form that interested parties can fill out, then be sure to stay in touch and let them know when your product is available.

7. Continue to conduct product research

Product research doesn’t stop when you launch your product. Keep asking for customer feedback, measuring the success of your marketing campaigns, and tracking metrics like repeat purchases. And test strategies such as a referral program or a loyalty program to attract and retain customers.

Keep an eye on your competition and emerging trends in your industry. It’s never too late to refine your marketing strategy or make improvements to your products.

Product research is an essential step

Now take your awesome product idea and do some research. Discover your potential customers, your competitors and what people think of your product.

Research marketing strategies, test a few ideas, and keep improving and refining yourself. Product research helps you make informed decisions to avoid costly mistakes and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Gary C. Lisi