One of the hardest parts of running a business is working out if something is going to sell. It might seem like a great product idea, but it’s difficult to know until you take it to market. Here are some methods to help you work out if your product will fly off the shelf or gather dust.
A good way to test the appeal of a product is to take it to a market. If you already have a market stall, then try out the new product on your next market day. This will give you an idea of how much your audience likes it and if they’re willing to pay for it. You can also gauge interest by seeing how much time people spend at your stall.
If you don’t already have a market stall, there are other methods you can try. For example, ask your customers what kind of products they would like to see. You could also do some customer surveys or run focus groups to find out what people think about your product idea. This could help you adjust the product to make it more marketable. Budget is also an important factor in focus group research, and you will usually need some funding for this method.
It’s important to get your shipping and packaging sorted early. This way, if customers react positively to your samples and market research, you can reduce your time to market. If your item is bulky and requires large item shipping, find a courier who specialises in larger items. If your item is small, consider a parcel service instead.
If you don’t want to test your product directly with people, there are other options. You could put some feelers out on social media groups or forums to see if there is any interest. This way, you don’t have to spend money on market stall hire or surveys, but you might not get the same feedback as face-to-face contact.
Trade shows are excellent for testing your product. Generally, exhibitors work with buyers leading up to the event, so you might get some pre-event orders when they see your product in person. But if you can’t afford that, don’t worry – there are other ways to get feedback. For example, seminars and networking events held for retailers are good places to meet like-minded people with similar product ideas.
No matter how much market research you do, you won’t find out the true answer straight away. It may be a month before you get any feedback from your market stall and even longer for social media or forums. You need to remain positive and flexible in case something doesn’t go to plan. If one product doesn’t work out, focus on improving the next one.