The Crucial Role of Product Research in Software Industry

The demands of customers change over time. Many startups fail to create an impact due to lack of consideration to the customer needs. In fact, there are scores of examples where established businesses seized to exist owing to the deficit of will to reduce the widening gap between requirements and design. To prevent such failures, companies need to ensure that product research holds the central value in enterprise architecture.

The practice of product research follows distinct approaches for startups and recognized industry leaders. However, they overlap at multiple points as well. As an introduction, this text emphasizes the shared product research methods.

Product research comprises two disparate steps

User Research Methods

Regardless of the design and quality, the product will not generate sizable revenue if it fails to meet the customers’ needs. Many companies neglect this factor and emphasize on improving the appearance and performance. Contrarily, some companies manage to lift the number of sales by introducing the most demanded product.

Thus, determining user requirements is vital for product design and development. Top business leaders use various techniques including interviews, surveys, and behavioral analysis to assess customers.

Interviews and Surveys

No other way to evaluate user experience is as good as interviewing them. Many experts argue over the procedure of interview. Some believe that email and chat work well while most consider in-person meeting as the best bet.

The experts at MobInspire recommend conducting in-person interviews. Interviewers should spend 30 to 45 minutes on each participant. They should know the fact that most users may not have the professional experience of appearing in an interview. Thus, the interviewer should inquire in a friendly and natural way.

Moreover, in-person interviews share the context of customers’ replies with expressions and voice tone. Occasionally, the frustrated users make sarcastic comments which the interviewer may not pick in writing.

The interview questions should be structured. Each question should either intend to inquire about needs of the user or the flaws about existing products.

One of the few drawbacks of in-person inquiries is lack of time for the user to respond. Once asked, the user tries to respond as quickly as possible which minimizes the time to reflect. To prevent such a scenario, the companies conduct online surveys.

A typical product research survey comprises mostly of multiple choice questions. A small part of the study also expects brief replies in the user’s words. However, these brief responses are optional because many users restrain from survey participation to save time answering the short questions.

Many companies select the participants before conducting research to prevent spoofing from rivaling developers. Since both in-person interviews and online surveys carry drawbacks, the best way to reap benefits of product research is to have a combination of these approaches.

Behavioral analysis

This is one of the top approaches to evaluate user experience because it involves observation while one uses the product. It also involves the observation of users while the product is absent. This way, researchers are able to determine the intensity of need while the product is unavailable.

For instance, observing the challenges of people facing a dearth of taxi services informs about the potential of on-demand cab service. It is also advisable to ask occasional questions to the users. However, the researchers should make sure to keep minimal intervention.

Market research Methods

It is useless to offer a product with identical features to the ones already in the market. Such a product will only be going to make a mark if the existing developers are not producing and maintaining the product as quickly as the rate of increase in demand.

In any other case, the product will generate customer-base if it identifies the shortcomings of the established developers. The researchers should find out how their product is going to be different from the competitors and what benefits will it bring to users.

Many companies release varying features of the same product in different regions. This approach follows from the fact that the difference in cultures, traditions and administrative regulations require customized products. However, this approach requires more in-depth research into the user demography.

To conduct competitor product research, the experts consider the website content of competitors and their target audience. An approach to inquire customers of the rival product is vital to determine the voids and flaws. However, one must not reveal the aim of inquiry because it may significantly impact the response.

Examples Highlighting Importance of Product Research

There are scores of examples from various industries which highlight the significance of product research. The examples of Neuromarketing and customer analytics are included in this text. The former is the most emerging trend in product research while the latter is currently the most popular one.

Neuromarketing at Hyundai

The neuroscientists and marketers spent a couple of decades to reveal the connection between the two fields of research. Consequently, the area of neuromarketing emerged whose experts are referred to as “Buyologists.” This field attempts to assess the customer brain while one observes a product. Various companies offer neuromarketing services using different techniques.

The executives at auto manufacturing giant Hyundai used the services of Buyologists to determine the best design for one of their 2011 model vehicles. Each participant of this product research was made to observe the same vehicle with varying designs. During this observation, a pair of electrodes remained attached to the brain. The researchers found different stimulation levels for each vehicle.

Fortunately, the selected design after research was highly successful as the company attained high profits from it.

User Analytics at Microsoft

Microsoft takes input from users of their products and improves the design and features accordingly. It offers the customers to participate in surveys and recommend the appropriate changes. The public relation team is highly efficient as it addresses the concerns of each user individually. Twitter revealed that Microsoft team remained on top in responding to customer queries.

Are you aiming to launch a product or struggling to improve the sales for an existing one? Highly effective research is only a step away. contact us today to let our experts assist you.