Most of the times, when entrepreneurs think about some new startup concept, they generally evaluate (or are advised to evaluate) the business model from their point of view on different verticals, for example – problem being addressed, solution being provided, potential market volume, marketing strategies to reach the targeted consumers, long term acquisition target, revenue model, profitability, scalability, funding etc. This straight approach is strong enough to conclude the way forward for your startup with an aim to capture the maximum possible market volume.
But the reverse approach ie thinking from consumers’ point of view is also of equal importance. Once the mindset of consumer is clear, it’s quite easy to align the work as per consumer need. What forces consumer to use some product or service, why consumers prefer some particular solution, when consumers need the service, are some of the basic parameters to evaluate idea from consumer view point.
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” ~ Donald Porter
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” ~ Bill Gates
When both the approaches are combined together, combination gives the right direction – capturing the market volume as well as creating the market potential. Here is small analysis from FS on Startup Idea – Reverse Analysis from Consumer Point of View –
Consumer Approach for Selection of Product / Service
Let’s take a look on the parameters that consumer consider while selecting some product or service. Based on general feedback from consumers, knowingly or unknowingly, partially or completely, everyone is following almost same approach –
 What is my actual need? For what purpose I am going to buy/use the product /service?
 What are my priorities while selecting the product? Like economical factor, technical specifications, features of the product etc.
 What is the urgency level in terms of need/ usage of the product or service? Do I need it right now or I can wait to do my research?
 If the requirement is urgent –
- What are the easy options available to fulfill that need?
- Which suits the best among all the available options?
- Which players / service provider can fulfill my need as soon as possible?
 If the urgency is not a priority –
- What are the options available in the market?
- What is the historical record of those product/ service?
- What is the comparison of all the available options?
- Why not should I take the opinion of my friends?
 How easily can I get the product or service? Matter of convenience.
 Which player is going to facilitate the best during purchase? For example – call, email, chat support, payment facilities etc.
 Which player provides the best service in after-market? Like easy repairs, return, exchange, spare parts etc.
 When the next use is going to take place? Can I use the same service provider or I need to find the new one?
Reverse Approach to Align the Startup Idea with Consumer Mindset
Based on the above mentioned generalized mindset of consumer, following lessons can be amalgamated while deciding the way forward for your startup –
 For what purpose consumer is going to use your product? Is consumer fully aware about the existence of your product? How you can make your presence visible in consumer mindset?
So, such marketing strategy should be developed that can make a longer impact on consumer and he should be able to recall your presence while in need.
 Have you understood all the factors that consumer keep in mind during selection? Is your product affordable by maximum number of users?
So, the product should be launched considering the limitations of maximum consumers in mind or how you can alter your business model to enhance your consumer reach. One of the best examples is of “Ola Micro” that was started with an aim to capture the market volume that is not able to afford the costlier services like Mini or Sedan.
 How your product can minimize the level of urgency of consumers so that instead of looking for easily available options, consumer should be able to remain stick to your product?
So, the business model should be designed with proactive mindset. For example if you are a grocery provider, it would be a good concept to introduce weekly, monthly repetitive orders management system. The benefit would be consumer would remain stick to you for longer period.
 Can you provide some premium services to ensure the urgent needs of consumer? Again the selecting factor for consumer would be the combination of additional cost of premium service and affordability.
So, the system should be developed considering the usage of product in normal and urgent need. Once you are able to service your consumer in urgent need, he’ll definitely return to you only in normal time.
 Are you able to provide the basic facilities that consumer needed in your product? What additional can be provided to enhance the customer experience? Is your model /product is at least equal to your competitors in terms of specifications, features, services etc.?
So, all the features that matters from consumer point of view shall be incorporated in the existing setup. For example, while purchasing a cell phone, consumer always prefer to compare the different models. So for your e-commerce portal, it’s good if you have comparison facility for different models.
 How you can provide convenience to your consumers so that no other alternative should come into his mind for selection?
So, the product must be user friendly. Taking feedback from existing consumers for the problems faced with the product or what additional they wish for, will help in deciding the future prospects and development plan.
 Have you taken care for all the known problems that could be faced by your consumers? Have you developed the mechanism to facilities the consumer during usage?
So, the product must be analyzed for the potential problems that could be faced by users and counter measures shall be taken. For example – you can put all the normal queries in FAQ section while provide calling support for others.
One important consideration about those consumers who are not able to use your products is by providing additional support. For example – if consumer’s phone battery is dead or about to die and he is unable to book a cab via your App or an old age person is not able to handle your complex user interface, by taking what measures you can make him able to be your user. Why would you like to miss any user who can be a part of your revenue model?
 Are you facilitating your consumer even after you are able to sell your product? Are you providing all the related services to your consumers to become one stop solution for him?
So, the business model shall be developed to cover the feasible maximum requirements of after purchase. Easy exchange, repair, return policies shall be incorporated in the setup to maintain the relationship with consumers.
 Are you able to make a position in consumer mind to force him to come back to you again and refer your product/ service to other consumers as well?
So, the relationship with consumer shall be developed and maintained to win his trust. A satisfied consumer will definitely return back to you and also recommend others to use your product. A happy consumer becomes your brand ambassador while an unhappy consumer takes away other potential consumers with him.
Once you start thinking by keeping yourself in consumers’ boot, you can easily find the loopholes in your system and the scope of improvement. Though the forward approach gives the direction of market potential of concept, reverse approach gives the scope of making potential of concept in the market. Accepting your faults, limitations is not a sign of your weakness but of your determination to make your product better.
Wish you luck for your startup. Stay tuned with FS for more updates.