The whole process of creating a new product requires a lot of effort, and of course, expenses. Starting from the idea, the design, and all the way to execution, a lot of time and money is spent until the real market fit gets found. This means that when creating a new product, the risk of failure must be put to a minimum.
Companies seem pretty optimistic when it comes to releasing new products on the market, so they put in a lot of marketing efforts. However, most of these new products usually fail, and there isn’t a campaign that can help them. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, there are 30,000 new consumer products annually, and 95% of them fail.
What is the reason for this huge percent of failure?
Most of us would have probably guessed that people didn’t know about it, or they were simply faithful to older, reliable brands. However, we would have been wrong.
A Harvard Business Review article written by Joan Schneider and Julie Hall claims that companies lack preparation:
“The biggest problem we’ve encountered is lack of preparation: Companies are so focused on designing and manufacturing new products that they postpone the hard work of getting ready to market them until too late in the game.”
But, what does preparation even mean? Your product is done, so it’s time to go out on the market. You’re already prepared, right? Well, not quite.
Preparation is not done when the product is done. There might be some features of the final product that your customers won’t like, so you must be prepared to do further modifications until your customers actually like the product. And you will find this out through product testing.
Product testing is a method that involves the audience trying the product, no matter whether it’s software or some kind of goods. This results in collecting information about the user’s behavior, preferences, and opinions about the product.
Product testing is meant to discover the features of the product that users don’t like so that they could be changed before the final launch. Many companies don’t dare to do it because they are afraid of mistakes. However, revealing mistakes on time can only be positive. You might think that your product is flawless, but user feedback will show you things that you might have missed.
Ed Catmull of Pixar believes failure is key to creativity: “Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality)… If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”
Why is product testing so important?
- It reduces costs. Early-stage testing can tell you if you’re developing features that can only make your customers avoid your product. This way, you won’t be spending your budget on things that you’ll eventually eliminate, and you’ll have funds to focus on the useful features.
- It saves you from further customer support investments. Product testing can detect the flaws in your UI/UX and allows you to improve it. This will save you a lot of customer support efforts in the future because your customers will be able to use your product without difficulties.
- It increases your conversion rate. Performing A/B testing could show you how a slight change in your product or campaign could change customer behavior. This way, you’ll be able to find out what is the trigger that works for your product, or what prevents potential customers from converting.
- You can test your brand message. Do people buy your product because it shows them status? Do they believe in it because it’s recommended by someone? Do they buy it because it’s made in your country? All these assumptions are part of your brand identity, and you can find out which one should you use to determine your brand message.
- It discovers potential threats. Product testing can tell you whether consumers think your competition has a better product than you do. Knowing the potential threats from the competition will give you the possibility to take action and improve your product’s weaknesses.
- It allows you to improve customer retention. In the sea of products, it’s really easy to find a replacement for what a customer thinks is bad user experience. That’s why it’s very important to know what your customers think are the good and the bad sides of your product and use this information to improve customer retention. When customers are happy with a brand, they become brand advocates, people who will recommend your product to their family and friends.
You don’t have to conduct product testing only when you’re releasing a new product. Releasing a new feature, not meeting your goals, and significant customer dissatisfaction can also be the reasons to test your product and collect customer feedback.
To sum up, delivering high-end solutions requires a lot of research and preparations. Even when you do the pre-manufacturing research right, it doesn’t guarantee you that your product will succeed 100%. During the execution process, you will also encounter a lot of difficulties that will require new modifications, so the end product probably won’t look like what you originally imagined. Moreover, even when this is done and the product is ready for sale, the dynamic market might push your product away due to some anomalies or disadvantages.
Your audience is the reason you exist. Every decision you make regarding your product should have your customers as a target. That’s why you always need to know what they are thinking and how to use that to create value. Releasing an untested product can bring you bad PR, too many costs, and an unpopular product. Some of the consequences can be problems your company might never recover from.
Solveo collaborates with ambitious companies that want to grow faster and better. We can perform product testing that will identify key opportunities for your product and create long-term growth.