Simple formulas for building a successful product with lessons from shoes of prey
Key takeaway in building a successful product — balance customers intent and actual behavior with data and experiments.
01 March, 2020 11:31PM
Freelance project manager
How can one
build a successful product? It goes deep into the product skeleton, and there’s
a catch the customers. Will people be willing to pay for it?
This is the
first question one needs to ask before building that next billion-dollar
product. Some entrepreneurs don't take this seriously most likely because of
positive things friends, family, and well-wishers said about it. At the end of
the day, time and money got wasted building products only close relatives could
To build a successful
product, work with the right people
successful product is a team passionate about it. Whether you want to
learn more about your target market, launch an MVP or create something for the
fun of it, do it with the right people. People better at it and share same
goal with you. This may look like a threat especially once it boils down to
delegation, that not it. It translates nicely to your success as a person and
helps shape your career path as you learn more from your team and vice-versa. This is why
one needs to see the right people as a strong foundation to build winning
products. By surrounding yourself with
the right people, they can easily share their success and positive vibes while
you naturally do the same.
Do not build
a product based on what people say
one can easily conduct surveys to access tons of information on consumers to
build out products they can actually pay for. These insights hold keys to what
consumers want and their intent.
rely too much on this data because . . .
entrepreneurs, we rely heavily on surveys to validate our product idea when we
look at a certain market and follow up its pattern from the ground to the top,
we got convinced that there is a high demand for such products, then we go into
making such products available to the market. Does this guarantee successful
sales for this particular product? Absolutely no!
for instance the product personalization niche. The customization niche is made
up of creative people who enjoy wearing something unique. Giving them the tools
to customize their own e.g. shoes, does not guarantee they’ll pay for it.
like Shoes of Prey had a taste of this, contrary to their market research the
fashion customer within the mass market space just didn’t respond as they
expected. What could have gone wrong?
mass-market fashion customer also want to customize their shoes?” Michael Fox,
CEO of Shoes of Prey asked. Off they went and conducted market research through
their target customer and few strategic partners like David Jones and
Nordstrom. The response was “Yes” if they;
1. Reduce lead times to under 2 weeks
2. Simplify the shoe design experience
mass-market customers think more about product choices and timeframes than any
other market segment. Reducing the lead times to under 2 weeks may not likely
float. A three days lead time seems ideal but how possible will this be for the
personalization niche. In a nutshell, products within the customization niche
will mostly fail to crack the mass-market adoption craze.
Look for a unique
model, approach or process to stand out in
invest more resource to simplify their user experience, going beyond
simplifying user experiences may likely be an advantage. One can intertwine
some features that center around user engagement by incorporating natural
behaviors into an experience. This is likely to influence user choices as they
casually engage and interact with these experiences. Once a product manager
focuses on getting these experiences right, the team is on the right track.
your customers behavior
Mass market adopters seem not to have an
emotional attachment to both product and brand. They typically respond to price
so it's a challenge to prove that mass-market adopters will be willing to pay more
at a large enough scale to cover operations. To successfully build a product
for the mass adopters, don’t try to change this behavior. If one finds herself
in a position where there is need to change mass market behavior, understand
their psychology in detail.
Shoes of Prey’s goodbye message written by Michael Fox, mass market customer
told them they wanted to customize if they improved their value proposition in
the 4 areas. What they were consciously telling them and what they
subconsciously wanted were effectively polar opposites, Michael Fox said. They
listened to what the mass market customer told them, verified with their
strategic partners that they were hearing the same thing, then accepted it.
mass market customers mostly want to be inspired by trends and shown by
celebrities and influencers exactly what to wear down to the style and brand.
So, if one must alter this behavior, first peel back the layers of psychology
to understand what a customer truly wants. This type of customer research is
difficult to get right and the results aren’t always clear cut so don’t try to
alter it. One way get is all wrong is by only listening to customers as opposed
to balancing that with data and experiments. Twitter did the opposite and solved one of
its oldest problems.
balance customers opinion with data and experiments. Sometimes, these data
aren’t common to find especially if one has no customer base. With analytics
tools, data harvesting banks, one can have access to the customer behaviors or
that of its competitors. Such data have traces of complaints and behaviors that
may likely give clues on what and how to build out products they can go for.
Now, what do you want to build? Let’s get you started!
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