If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed despite this year’s testing circumstances, it’s the market’s obsession with digital products. In fact, months in quarantine have only amplified the need—from businesses shifting to remote work to the average consumer looking for entertainment.
Last March, The Guardian even reported that Vodafone’s internet usage on their service has surged by up to 50% in a lot of European countries, and the numbers are still rising. Other native internet service providers like EuroISPA, Spectrum, and 1&1 Internet showed similar findings.
Therefore, if you’re thinking of building a digital product for your market—whether that’s an app or specialised software—this is the best time to do so. However, how do you actually build one that the consumer market will love?
Finding a problem
It’s much easier to make a product that your customers already need. As such, your first step should be to find a problem in the industry or one a client is facing. For example, private riding company Horseman Coaches had no way of knowing the location of its vehicles once they left the depot. Verizon Connect saw an opportunity and provided a fleet management solution that let them track the coaches. This real-time visibility helped the company create more accurate schedules for its passengers, building a higher customer satisfaction level.
Verizon’s other clients like Able Security Group also needed tracking software, albeit for different circumstances.
Stepping into the users’ shoes
Before you can fully develop your software or platform, make sure to first create a minimum viable product (MVP) version of it for initial feedback. An MVP is the skeleton of your product, and only contains the basic components needed for it to function. To develop an MVP, digital agency SYSTANGO writes that you have to define your “user flow” or your market’s thought process from the first time they interact with your product to until they exit. What are their goals when they use your product? How will they achieve that goal?
For instance, if you’re developing an e-commerce platform, you know that your user’s goal is to buy a product. Your MVP should be able to get the user from the home page, to the product page, and to the checkout without any major problems. Don’t worry if your MVP isn’t perfect the first time, that’s the point of the process. An MVP is there to catch all the errors in early development. This way, you won’t have to spend extra resources patching them when the product is nearing its completion.
Designing for flexibility
Your solution may work now, but changing demands, design trends, policies, and other factors can easily call for a different one. You might need to refresh your layout, for instance. Or your client might need an online shop added to the app. Modular programming is a software design technique that isolates a component’s function into interchangeable modules. Each one only executes one aspect. In short, when your software needs an update on one of its features, it’s all a matter of swapping out components.
Similarly, if you’re developing a system that needs to be integrated with other apps, build your product using a similar platform or language. You can also use APIs or application programming interfaces to create “bridges” that will allow every software to communicate effectively with one another. Newsletter creation platform Mailchimp is a great example of this. If the client has custom software that they use to gather customer data, that insight can directly be used to program the business’ campaigns on Mailchimp.
Determining a fair price
No matter how great the product is, no customer wants anything that’s out of their budget. Of course, you don’t want to price it too low, so you can make a profit. To determine the product’s price, let’s look at how we helped with HATCH’s pricing strategy. First, we went over everything that made HATCH unique. At its heart, HATCH is a digital showroom marketed as a SaaS product, which you didn’t often see on the market. As such, we could set the base price high.
However, we also consulted with potential brands that would use the service and asked how much they would be willing to pay for it. You, too, should do something similar. Scope out the competition; see what your users are willing to pay.
If you want to create a successful digital product, always remember to keep your users’ needs at the forefront in every phase of its development. Think about what they’re going to use it for, what other programs they’ll be using it with, or the budget they might have for it. The product doesn’t have to be complex – it just needs to satisfy their needs.
Article written by Rosey Jamieson
Exclusively for riverflex.com