Do you have a great new idea you would like to make into reality? Congratulations! But before you start launching your product or service, you need to conduct thorough research to find out:

  1. Whether the product or service might be successful.
  2. If there are similar products on the market.
  3. Which are the best ways to develop, manufacture and sell your own.

This is product research, and it is a vital step of new product development. Through every stage of your product development process, you can conduct product research, which will help you in identifying key issues and thus avoiding costly mistakes.

The initial product research will help you evaluate your idea for a new product and service and see if there is a need for it and what it is that your potential customers are looking for. If your product or service already exists, product research will tell you whether the available options on the market are meeting the needs and expectations of existing customers. This way you can learn what you can do differently, to meet the needs and expectations but also to exceed and outdo the competition.

How to conduct product research

So how do you conduct product research? You can start by looking around and seeing what is available on the market by shopping around, looking at the ads in magazines, newspapers and on TV and online. Once you have an understanding of what the market has to offer you need to find out if there is demand.

You should then conduct a survey: it could be an online survey, phone survey, face-to-face interview or perhaps a paper survey where the respondents get the survey sent by regular mail. The latter might not be appreciated by the respondents as it usually means they have to send their answers back to you by snail mail. Online surveys are the method to conduct research at a low cost, plus these allow you to see data patterns much more quickly.

One of Steve Jobs’s famous quotes is “It isn’t the consumers job to know what they want”. There is certainly some truth to this statement but the results from a product research survey are still an essential baseline measurement. While the results are not a guarantee that your new product or service is a success, they do provide you with an insight into what it is that customers are looking for, and that itself is very helpful.