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How to validate your digital product idea?

Why is it important?

Our way

The questions 

Competitive analysis

Market analysis 

How we differ

The “why” instead of “can”

Final thoughts

You come up with an idea for a product. First, you probably ask your friends and family, if it’s a good solution. Then, you google it and search on the Internet. Have many people, just like you, wanted to launch a similar digital product? Little by little, you start to build your business plan around it.

Validating the idea for your product or anything really, usually poses a big challenge. It’s a multi-step process, and it isn’t cheap. That’s why if you want it to be done effectively, find someone who knows what questions to ask and make something out of collected data. Thus, the next step in your journey of product development is heading with the information to your future software vendor. Here’s when our role starts. 

How do you tell if a product will sell? What’s the process behind product validation and how vital is unique selling point (USP)? Also, what lean approach, workshops, and design sprints have to do with it? In this article, I’ll give you the answers to these (and some more) questions.

Why is it important?

Product validation helps you save time and money. In some situations, it keeps you from putting your resources into something not worth building. But not only that. It also provides you with information about market needs, as well as your competition and target users. Thanks to this, you have clarity about the product. You know more about the requirements it should fulfil, which features are necessary and which are redundant. Thus, you can better rate your chances of success. 

Our way

As I mentioned before, the beginnings are usually the most complex stages. Figuring it all out and doing research, takes a lot of time. The process of testing your digital product idea begins with you. When you gathered the data, you probably start looking for a software development company. And that’s when our partnerships manager steps in. Here’s what he has to say about his part of the product validation process:

“From my experience, I can sense that the idea is good when it has some foundation. If the client did the necessary research, he could already tell whether or not it will bring value to the market. He has faith in the product. That’s what matters to us. Why? Cause now our role is to turn this idea into reality.”

Mariusz Binkowski, Partnerships Manager

But naturally, you don’t need to know it all right away. We can help you with that. If you have no idea where to start your research, you should read our ebook. It’ll provide you with the necessary information before beginning your work with the team.

Now, let’s move on to the second part of the process – meeting the team. Either through video call or face-to-face, we always like to gather and talk with you about your idea. It provides us with much more understanding of your solution and business. After the initial meeting, it’s time for research. Usually, we like to do this in the form of a workshop. Sometimes, the research part lasts a month, and sometimes it’s a two-day job. It depends on the type and scope of the project. How much information you, as a client, provide us with also has an impact on the process.

The questions 

There are many ways to validate the product. Thus it’s tough to describe the process. At Gorrion, we seek to gather as much information as possible to build better solutions at the end.

Before we start any research, we ask you questions, such as:

  • Why do you want to create this digital product?
  • Why now?
  • What inspired you to come up with this solution?
  • Why do you think the product would sell?

Competitive analysis

Based on these questions, we perform the research. First of all, we do competitive analysis, that means we check if there are similar solutions on the market. There are two possible scenarios. Either, there aren’t any yet. In that case, we do a market analysis, and we try to measure the potential of such a product. Is there a need for it in the market? 

When we have something on this stage, we meet again with you and give you feedback. Depending on the gathered data, we agree on the existing product or proposing some alterations. Maybe instead of an app, it’d be better to do a game? Or what if we focused on 20-30 age range instead of targeting the 15-20 age group? 

Market analysis 

In the second scenario, when there are companies with similar solutions, most times, we already have a list of users provided by our client. We assess how much of the market the companies supply, and how many active users they have — based on what they like about the existing product, what’s missing and what needs improvement. On the ground of this, we do, among others, SWOT analysis and the Growth-Share Matrix. As you can see, this customer base gives us a lot of information which are helpful at the later stages. Once you have all of that, you can ask yourself one last question – is it worth it?

However, if we don’t have such a list, we search for information on forums, groups and websites that can provide us with the necessary data. But here’s the trick. The users are more likely to write about problems and missing features rather than what’s good about the product. So there’s no guarantee that we’ve found our representative group. We can’t be sure that the research is reliable since it doesn’t concern all the users, but a fraction. 

How we differ

Our research team comprises of product owner, designer and developer. Thanks to such a variety of roles in a group, we can check the idea from different angles. Additionally, sometimes in the early stages, we can already validate specific solutions that we potentially could implement. That’s when we need a developer. In this way, we know right away if it’s doable.

We’re aware that in large firms, people are responsible for one specific job, and that’s why their process looks different. They have a business analyst, a researcher and a tester, whilst at Gorrion these are product owner’s tasks. In other words, we tend to wear many hats at once. 

And sure, sometimes it’s a downside of a situation. But on the other hand, we’re engaged in the process from the research stage to launching the final product and even after that. Because of the early involvement, we understand the project and the market better. Also, as we have the chance to talk to the target group, we have more insight into the product, and we can better adapt it to their needs. Knowing and trusting the people we work with facilitates the sense of common goal and shared understanding of each other’s tasks.

The “why” instead of “can”

Lean approach is a framework used for measuring product hypothesis at minimal cost and effort in a repeatable way. From the very beginning, we try to implement it in our process. For that reason, instead of asking whether or not we’re able to build a given digital product, we ask why we should make it. This ‘why’ is related to the fact that we seek to solve the problem of a target group, and not build a product for the sole purpose of its creation. Its users should desire the digital product. And that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.

Thus, we propose making design sprints and building MVP to test the idea and learn something from it. All of this, to bring the most of the product, to find a unique selling point (USP) so that it meets market needs.  

It’s also the reason why we’re looking forward to meeting its target users. Thanks to their feedback, we’re able to adapt the product, so that it brings them value. Many options, features and design are a result of continuous tests and opinions from potential customers.

Final thoughts

At Gorrion, we don’t blindly build the app or website with what we have, but each time we seek to validate the product from the very first stage. That’s why workshops, building a PoCMVP and testing are so essential. From the beginning of our cooperation, we’re focused on your success as it’s equally crucial for us, as it’s for you. 

If you want to talk about your idea or discuss its chances of succeeding on the market, book a meeting with Mariusz or send us a message. We’d be happy to talk to you. 

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