Listening to your consumer

megaphone-hearing-787265 What guides product development at your business? Continual consumer feedback loops, gut feel or the taste preference of senior management?

Many businesses believe they are consumer guided, but without specific effort and know-how, it's easy to skip the part where you ask for consumer input. Here are two examples of companies taking the initiative to remain consumer-centric:

Amazon.com: In all the important meetings at Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos insists upon having an empty chair present to represent the consumer or 'the most important person in the room'.

Zara: This fashion retailer uses its store managers to gather data each day from its shoppers by asking questions such as 'What colour should we do this in next?' and 'Is the skirt long enough?' This constant feedback loop has limited Zara's failed product introductions to 1% (the industry average sits around 10%).

Testing your new products with consumers is the best way to hear honest feedback and make meaningful alterations. It used to be a costly, labour intense undertaking but not anymore! Rapid Profiling, and other consumer sensory techniques are available from Radar Insight to enure you're launching products that consumers want.

(Examples sourced from HBR.org)