What is a business without its products? Excellent products can make a name for a business. However, a good reputation can quickly erode with a few wrong decisions as it concerns product strategy.
Business leaders and product teams get excited for the launch of new products, but it can all go sideways with one unexpected turn. Existing products even need attention while they are still being sold.
Whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, you want to create products your customers will value. You want to impress them with great features or incredible performance. You also want your products to build a reputation for quality or reliability.
As critical as it is, many businesses miss important points that will help them create better products. This post will cover some of those points.
Start With the Core
It can be easy to get carried away with all the features and functions you want to include with a product. You get excited about everything the product could do for your customers. While it is understandable, you need to get the basics right first. Once you have refined the core concepts of the product, you can then move on to adding extra features.
If your product is software, you might even develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is a product that does just enough to meet the basic needs of the user. You can then release the product, gather user data and refine based on the results. Once you have the core product refined, you can then start adding new features.
Prototyping can be a valuable stage in developing a new product. With the right prototyping methods, you can test ideas without having to build a complete version of the product. In the early stages, you can deploy various low-cost prototyping methods to test new ideas rapidly. As you eliminate and refine different ideas, you can move on to prototyping methods that will offer a more accurate representation of the product.
You also need to remember that prototyping isn’t always about testing the product as a whole. In some cases, you might need to prototype one part or build a prototype for one function. You might also build prototypes just to see how the product looks. Existing products might need to be prototyped if you plan to release a new version or add a feature.
Understand the Needs
Businesses need to understand their customers. Having a great idea for a product is a nice place to start, but you need to know what it means to your customers. Why would they want your product? Is the customer a person or a business? What role does the product serve? What types of features will add value for different users? What are the pain points that will get the user to buy your product?
You will need to perform user research to answer these questions. That can mean hiring a company to do surveys or hold focus groups. You can also study market trends. Competitive research can be valuable. Some businesses might benefit from mining social media data for insights.
Strict Quality Control
You don’t want people to get your products only to have them fail. While design practices can help you make products that are more reliable, you also need strict quality control. With strict quality control, you can catch many of the problems that will lead to bad experiences or customers. It is also vital for protecting the reputation of your business.
With that said, different products require different types of QC. For example, a software developer will need to do things like test their apps on different devices to see how well they perform. For a business with physical products like a transformer manufacturer, you need QC professionals to perform tasks like inspecting wires or measuring turn ratios.
Life After Purchase
Getting customers to buy your products is great. It means you have done a lot right up to that point. With that said, your work is not done. Intelligent product teams consider ways they can create better experiences after the customer buys the product. And this should go beyond having a good product that meets the customer’s needs.
For example, you should have good after-sales support. Good product designers may also need to consider writing good instructions and manuals. Beyond instructions, think about what useful information could be included to make the product more valuable to the customer. You should also ask for feedback. Customers want to know you care about their opinions
Creating a good product is time-consuming and difficult. Even once you have the product, a lot of work goes into making sure it is a success. With the tips we have here, businesses can do more to ensure the success of the products they develop.