Customer-Focused Product Development
Customer-focused product development is critical to your success as a company. Buyers create demand for every idea, product in development, and product on shelves. The customer is king!
So that means inventors, startups, and business owners focus on their audience, right? Sadly, that is not always the case.
Design professionals are flocking to customer-focused development today because they understand that it is essential.
What Is Customer-Focused Product Development?
Consumer-focused product development focuses on the needs and wants of the customer. It is a beneficial model for everyone involved. Customer-driven production helps the production team produce products quicker and cheaper. Products hit the market faster. That means products turn a profit a lot quicker.
Benefits of Customer-Focused Product Development
There are significant benefits to customer-oriented product development, benefits that will secure short-term success and supercharge your chances at longevity. Customer-oriented product development helps product developers and manufacturers answer four critical questions in the development and production process:
- What does the customer or market really need for a new or redesigned product?
- Which specific area of focus, regarding customer requirements, will the product development effort hone in on to stand out as the solution in the market?
- What solves the customers’ deeply pressing problem, and what do they really want? What would exceed their expectations?
- How much will it cost to build this product, what is the value in the marketplace?
User-driven product development also, in the process of gaining information about your intended audience, helps you release products that are actually appealing and helpful to your customer, and you do so without wasting money trying too many ideas that wouldn’t be a success in the marketplace.
How to Build a Customer-Focused Product
Building a customer-focused product starts at the design stage. You must first create a design concept that is inspired and focused on meeting the needs of your customer.
So, start by identifying who your target audience is before you even begin to design your product. It’s important to know what problems your target audience wants to solve and meet those needs.
Then, once you have a strong grasp on your buyer, it’s time to create a customer journey map to help you better understand and prioritize the needs of your customers in your design.
So include customer feedback, whether it comes via email, survey, testing prototypes, or landing page submissions, in your design process. Customer-focused product development is a responsive process. It requires the designer to react and respond to the wants and needs of their customer.
Customer Focused Product Development: Frequently Asked Questions
Why is having a customer-focused approach important?
Having a customer-focused approach is important because if you want to, not only make sales but create a loyal fanbase (and therefore a business that lasts) you must have a strong understanding of what your customer wants and needs. A customer-focused approach saves you time and money and it ensures you have a product that can stand the test of time in the marketplace. This applies whether you work in the product manufacturing field or the design field.
What makes a great customer-focused product?
A great customer-focused product has taken into account all of the wants and needs of the customer. The designer is responsive to customer feedback in prototype phases and other data collection phases and it incorporates all that feedback into its product.
What are examples of customer-focused products?
Good examples of customer-focused products include products that heard and applied feedback from customers in their design and even when the product is on shelves being used by customers.
At online shoe giant, Zappos, the customer is their priority. Zappos ensures every employee of the company must take customer service calls within two weeks of joining the company. This policy means that all employees get access to information about who they’re serving.
At the food and drink delivery company, Postmates, their customer experience team works with their product team and analytics team to ensure they stay in touch with what matters to their customers. They prioritize how they can meet their customers’ needs and wants. It’s helped them lower cancellations and enjoy successful product update launches.
How can customers help build a great product?
Customers can help build a great product by sharing their honest pain points with product developers, manufacturers, and inventors about what product features matter to them as customers. A lot of consumers give up on products they don’t like, and they don’t always add valuable feedback that would be helpful to buyers in the future. Product development has to change and must be responsive to customer needs to be successful.
As an inventor, small business owner, product manufacturer, or e-Commerce professional, staying customer focused should be your priority. After all, the benefits of customer-focused product development include customer loyalty, fewer product revisions, and more success in the long term.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!