A walk through The Digital Innovation Lab
‘The customer is always right’ A favourite motto of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American-British retail magnate and founder of the world-famous Selfridges store.
It’s an adage that holds equally true for successful new product development as for unrivalled customer service. After all, product manufacturers need to make things that people want to buy, not just try and sell them what they can make. What use is the perfect rowing boat for the customers who live in the Sahara desert?
Nobody needs a solution for a problem they haven’t got.
For this reason, new product development must be a wholly customer-centric process, making customer feedback the single most important aspect of your development process. Customer insight needs to be factored into every key decision. Of course, to gather this information you need to offer the customer, the opportunity to speak and a platform on which to do it.
Traditional approaches to customer feedback
Before digital tools like Vypr were available, gathering a pool of individuals to match your target audience in the real world, in a size large enough to generate meaningful data, required a lot of time, planning, budget, and resources.
The development team could set up a station in-store to capture customers while they shop, or perhaps host a series of centralised focus groups. While these methods remain valuable, there are practical limitations on just how much research can be conducted in real-world environments, especially today.
Engaging directly with customers in this way needs to be carefully planned and deployed selectively in order to keep costs under control. Typically these methods are used at the beginning of a project to test early concept ideas and make sure the direction of travel is correct. Sometimes testing happens again at the end of the development process when there is a real product to take on the road, but more often than not the product is made and the checkout is where the final validation occurs! But what happens with the multitude of decisions required between concept and release?
Without ongoing customer validation, your development team works on the basis of untested assumptions, company history, or worse executive whim. With every unvalidated assumption, the risk of a new product failure increases rapidly and out of control.
The digital transformation of customer insights
Thankfully, new product development has been revolutionised with accessible digital tools that enable frequent, real-time customer insight at every decision point in the development cycle.
For example, Our Digital Lab provides a data validation platform offering brands, retailers, and manufacturers a reliable method to test every aspect of their product innovation. From packaging to pricing, naming, product claims, ranging, and marketing. In fact, everything that comes together to create a successful product is extensively tested in this digital environment before it is made.
The Lab provides access to a large digital community of consumers and uses simple robust tools and proven techniques to gather feedback in a real-time virtual environment. It is able to deliver rapid, accurate and crucially, repeatable results at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.
This type of predictive consumer intelligence accelerates your process using rapid testing and improves outcomes by validating every important decision. The Digital Lab achieves this at a significantly lower cost than any real-world interaction ever could.
Just like the focus group or customers approached in-store, The Virtual Lab is a place where people are asked questions in real-life scenarios and scientifically valid data is extracted from their responses. But The Virtual Lab is not limited by location or the availability of customer traffic.
Most importantly of all, you can access The Virtual Lab quickly and with ease to gain immediate access to target customers. The development team can then dip in and out of the lab whenever they have questions only a customer could answer.
Just as you might ‘Google’ for a quick answer, so too can you ‘Vypr’ for customer validation.
Using The Digital Lab to Vypr questions, every single assumption in the product development process is validated with real-time customer feedback. In fact, you can use the lab at any time, since it operates on-demand and delivers immediate insights.
The Digital Lab helps your development team to identify weak ideas fast, and through iterative testing, eliminate them in a data-driven way. Your focus is therefore kept on the aspects of the new product that motivates customers to buy. This scientific approach generates real focus on the winning ideas and quickly abandons any that won’t fly.
So, when the customer is always right, wouldn’t you want the tools at your disposal to tap into their thinking, on-demand and in real-time?