How Consumers Enhance New Product Development
Posted on 21 August 2020 Catherine Chipeta
Learn how consumer research guides the new product development process by helping to predict customer acceptance, preference share, and profitability.
Conducting market research on existing products is only one element of sustaining and improving brand performance. Businesses must constantly look to the future to maintain a competitive edge in the market.
New product development is crucial to ensuring a brand’s long-term success, presenting new opportunities to gain market share and enter previously unexplored markets. The development process is often time-consuming and costly, but pays off if done effectively. It enables businesses to better understand their target markets and to create products that are more likely to sell, attract new customers, and develop brand loyalty.
As is the case with any market research, engaging consumers is the key to gaining accurate and actionable insights that fuel robust product development. Several phases in new product development involve consumer research, allowing businesses to test their product’s pricing and features in real-life settings.
We explore four of the main ways businesses can get consumers involved during the process and the insights they can take advantage of.
Find Opportunities and Ideas
The idea generation process is where new product ideas emerge from, with businesses using both internal and external sources to gather an extensive list of ideas. Internally, various teams and departments collaborate to identify new opportunities and brainstorm potential concepts. Externally, this process requires competitor analysis and in-depth market research to gather vital consumer feedback.
The purpose of this research is to uncover consumers’ wants and needs, including what they like and dislike about current offerings, what they would change, what they feel is missing, and what they value most when making buying decisions. Conducting a customer insights survey is the most effective way to gather these insights from the target audience.
After the idea generation phase, consumer research is used to distinguish valuable and desirable product features from those that are less important or wanted. Knowing which features to focus on allows businesses to create relevant product concepts that can be further refined throughout the development process.
Using consumer insights helps to determine more rounded product ideas during the concept testing stage. MaxDiff Analysis estimates the relative importance of individual product features based on consumer rankings, guiding the feature selection process.
Even the slightest change in pricing can make a significant difference to the consumer preference and profitability of a product. There are many factors which can influence a product’s pricing such as pricing strategies, pricing goals, and pricing psychology.
It is important to test several potential prices with the target market to see which price best aligns with revenue and profit objectives and is most accepted by consumers. For pricing new products, Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter can help determine which price points the market is most willing to accept.
Concept testing should occur once a business has established which ideas and features are worth further evaluation. Using consumer research in this capacity captures meaningful insights into the target market’s perception of potential products, enabling businesses to adjust any areas which require further development based on real-life scenarios.
Several rounds of concept testing should occur after each round of analysis to strengthen the chances of a successful launch. The Product Variant Selector tests up to 300 product ideas to find the most appealing concept, using a range of methods including open-ended feedback to gauge audience reaction.
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