When You Don’t Know What to Source…
Insight is often the secret to success in businesses. Steve Jobs famously once said: “It is not the customer’s job to know what they want.” In fact, if you’re a good company, it should be your job to know what your customers and potential customers want. Although looking into the future is still not possible, identifying product-sourcing opportunities for business and predicting the next top-selling items are viable ways for companies to increase their sales revenue.
Get to know your consumer. This is not just about knowing your “target audience.” According to some of the world’s leading innovators, consumers don’t actually know what they want in products. Consumers are notorious for saying that they’ll do things that they will never do and reporting interest in things they know nothing about. This isn’t because consumers are inherently liars, it’s because they can’t really articulate their own needs or wants clearly or realistically. By getting to know your customer base better than they know themselves through in-depth analysis, you can begin to predict the types of product and service they may be looking for or in need of in the future.
Follow trends. Hot trends are always good signs of the next products or services consumers are looking for. In the world of fashion, the international fashion-week events that take place in New York, Paris, and London are worth monitoring for trends that will give retailers an idea of the designs, fabrics, and colors that customers will be seeking in the coming months. For service industry companies, keep an eye out for what new service companies are offering their clients. Brands like Airbnb and Uber have both spawned a multitude of successful and lucrative “copycat” companies that offer similar services to clients. By observing the new services and products offered to customers, successful businesses can modify and alter their own services or products to meet the growing demand.
Do market research. While consumers may not always accurately report what they really want or need in a product or service, it still makes good business sense to do market research to uncover what it is exactly that they think they want or need. This information can still help you predict the type of products or services consumers will be looking for in the near future.
Look at the non-buyers. Some growth opportunities may be right in front of you. It’s easy to focus attention on doing market research on the people who are already spending their money, but take a closer look at the ones who aren’t. There’s a reason the current offerings are not appealing to them and prompting them to buy. Find out what it is that they’re looking for and you just might have the next top-selling product or service on your hands.
Use prediction software. Some software companies now offer highly intelligent prediction-software systems, especially for fashion retail stores. This software allows retailers to test consumer reactions to key product variables, like collections, designs, colors, sizes, and pricing, by connecting companies to hundreds of thousands of trusted reviewers who have demonstrated the ability to report fast and honest feedback.
The business of retail in any industry is never easy. Consumers can be finicky and when the only way your business can survive is to push for sales, predicting your next top-selling item can be a risky, yet profitable option. Do your research and you’ll have a better idea of what your customers are looking for the next time they come to shop.