One of the most common questions from start-up businesses or individuals looking to launch a product is “how do I find out if anyone is interested in my product idea?” There are plenty of creative ways to do market research for little or no cost! I’ve listed 5 ideas below to get you started.
1. Family and Friends
This should always be your first stop! Let them try, taste, wear your samples and give you feedback. Perhaps set up an online survey where they can give feedback anonymously in case they feel weird about giving negative (constructive) feedback. Family and friends are great because you can explain your goals to them openly, and let them trial early prototypes, so there’s no need for the samples to look perfect or be in amazing packaging.
2. Sell a few prototypes or samples
Ebay (or sell online) some samples to see if there are people interested. I read an article recently about someone who sells children’s products. Her first samples weren’t exactly what she had in mind, but she sold them on Ebay for a little less than her planned asking price. She started getting emails enquiring about the product, and as a result found a very specific target market. Make sure the items are in good working condition before selling them. They may not be exactly what you envisioned but you don’t want samples going out which are going to fall apart once the consumer receives them. This will not help you!
3. Online survey
Set up an online survey for free, and post it on Facebook groups or other social media outlets where your target consumer may ‘hang out’. Facebook groups are a fabulous place to find consumers who enjoy providing constructive feedback. One thing to watch out for is how much information you give away about your product. Competition will always exist, but be cautious showing brand new product designs. Perhaps stick to asking questions about the problem in which your product is looking to solve.
4. Visit your Target Consumers
Allow your target consumer to see, touch, feel your products. How do you do that? Get creative! Hold an event and bring your consumers to you. Think about where your target consumer hangs out. For example, got a new kids toy? Try your kids day care centre and see if they’d be interested in having the toy out for the day. New food product? See if you can do some free tastings at a local farmers market? Health and wellness product? See if a local gym would allow you to set up a table for a couple of hours to do some research.
5. Product Testing Websites
Submit your products and they are sent out to targeted consumers to trial. Some websites may have a fee, and you’d want your product to look like a finished product or a smaller sample size of the finished product. Most of these sites focus on product reviews to help build publicity, which is probably not what you want so early on. Try and find ones which simply trial new products and collect feedback privately. These websites usually have a large database, and often require a large number of products to send out, so aren’t for everyone.