The Importance of Data and Testing
When you’re launching an e-commerce store or new FBA product, every dollar is precious. You probably haven’t yet built a long list of customers. You don’t yet have a smooth workflow for marketing. Maybe you’re not even sure what to sell. Sometimes our budget constraints tempt us to trust our gut rather than paying for data-driven solutions.
But it’s these very same budget constraints that make data and testing even more crucial. Through testing, you’ll maximize your resources by making sure that there is a market desire for your products and a resonating message to promote them.
Idea validation is a process to determine whether your product has a good chance of succeeding in the market. Before you commit time or money to create a product, you want to have reasonable certainty that there is an appetite for your offering. While validating an idea is not a guarantee of future sales, it will build confidence in your product while gathering useful feedback on how it might be improved.
The most important step in validating your product idea is to build an audience of potential customers in your niche. Pro tip: friends and family almost never fit the bill. They are unlikely to be your customer base, and their personal relationship with you will bias the feedback they provide. You want to cultivate a group of people within your target market, and then make sure that you’re building something those people actually need and want.
There are many ways to build an audience, such as joining in-person or online groups, hosting a contest or giveaway, or creating a crowdfunding campaign. The thing is, all these methods take enormous time and hard work. If you’re new to e-commerce, it might still be your side hustle along with your full-time job and other commitments. Time is precious. This is where PickFu may help.
PickFu enables you to create surveys quickly and easily, and best of all, the audience comes to you. Simply input a question such as, “Would you pay for a product that…” or, “Would you buy a product that helps you…” or ask for more specific feedback like, “Which of these product designs looks more appealing to you?” By asking people you don’t know, you gain a fresh perspective and learn the why behind the responses.
With PickFu, you can customize the poll audience based on demographic traits and behaviors. For example, your respondent pool can be made up entirely of Amazon Prime members, dog owners, tea drinkers, frequent exercisers, homeowners, or some combination of traits specific to your product.
Here’s an example of an idea validated with PickFu. This seller asked 50 females which cover design they prefer for a planner. After only 38 minutes, the seller now knows that women prefer the cherry blossom design (Option C) before committing to buying inventory or creating a product prototype.
The full results not only include quantifiable results in the form of votes, but also qualitative answers in the form of written comments. Respondents of this poll gave feedback such as, “I like having the words ‘my planner’ on the front because it sounds more personalized,” and “I picked [this design] because it looks the most different from what I’ve seen in stores already.”
More ways to use surveys
Surveys are useful before a product launch, but they can come in handy in later stages of selling a product as well.
- Product naming: Learn what your audience thinks about your product name, brand name, or the name of your e-commerce store. Here’s an example where 50 females were asked what name they preferred for a natural skin care brand.
- Product photography: Uncover what image customers are most likely to click on. Steve Chou, owner of e-commerce store Bumblebee Linens, tested two product photos using PickFu. In less than 20 minutes, he saw that 50 female respondents preferred a new featured photo over the old one by a 3 to 1 margin. When he updated his listing with the new photo, sales of the item jumped 209%.
- Product descriptions: Try different approaches, experimenting with length and tones of voice. One seller used PickFu to test product descriptions for a spherical ice tray with 50 Amazon Prime members. The two descriptions were similar in length, but one used all capital letters to introduce each bullet point. Respondents found this description easier to scan and more attention-grabbing. You can now see the winning description live on Amazon.
- Ads: Get a sense for what ads will resonate before launching your campaign on Facebook, Google, or Amazon. See our guide to split testing Facebook Ads on a budget.
Data and testing might seem like unnecessary expenses, especially at the outset of a business. But without taking the time to ensure the market is receptive to your product, you may waste time and money developing something that no one truly wants. A better question for sellers of new products is whether you can afford not to test.
|Kim Kohatsu is the Director of Marketing at PickFu, an instant polling service that e-commerce sellers use to optimize product listings. With PickFu, online stores can quickly test product photos, description copy, and UI layouts with shoppers who reflect their target demographic, including Amazon Prime members, those within a certain income bracket, or people based on traits such as homeownership, marital status, or exercise habits.