Product Development

How to understand market state for an existing product with a tweak?

Eran Yasso

July 18th, 2016

Hi All,

Have an idea for a product in "child bracelet locator" area. However, I don't know what and if there is a need for such products. There are plenty of products and companies developing this (for example, googling this "child bracelet locator" will give you a lot of relevant results.) but I don't see that parents, including myself, tend to adopt these kind of products.


Is there a way, without insane costs (minor investment is optional), to get some details about this market and why it is not "working"?


I can ask people what they think about my idea, but I afraid they will give me the answer I want to hear (people are nice in their nature).


Since this is a HWSW products, I need to know exactly what it is market size and status.


I already have a HW guy who is willing to join the project, but first we need to know if we have a real reason, if there is a need and why people don't really buy this.


Thank you for your time,
Eran.

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

July 18th, 2016

Yes, there are products like this on the market going back all the way to 2008. Been in wearable tech since 2004, myself.  This is usually the main work of the co-founders. Are you looking for a business development co-founder? 

Paul Garcia President at TABLE

July 20th, 2016

I'm guessing that the reason is it's obtrusive (get's in the child's way), makes adults look like helicopter parents, and that there are already small clip-on locators for backpacks and other less obvious ways of putting a GPS device on your child. Depending on the age of the child there are also cell phone trackers and car trackers. Those are only guesses. It could also be that a child locator is considered a fearmongering sale and rejected for that reason. I just don't know. Better mousetraps are often difficult to sell. To draw attention and persuade a purchase decision the product must do three things. 1) have a personal benefit, 2) be dramatically different, and 3) provide a reason to believe in the product.

You have to ask what problem the device is really solving and how many people have that problem. One might assume that very few children if any ever truly get lost, and the traditional ways of keeping track of your kids have worked for thousands of years. This might be the simplest explanation as to why it's not a more popular idea already. It may always remain a very niche product for a small subset of parents. So as Thomas asked, is there really an unmet need considering the flexible use products that already exist?

Jennifer Fortney 20+ years’ experience in PR & marketing comms; Founder of Cascade PR, Chicago firm for small business & startups.

July 21st, 2016

Eran,

Have you ever considered going to local day cares and play centers and ask if they would mind if you "poll" parents? If you have a prototype, that's even better. The best way to get "real" market research is doing the leg work - getting in front of your target audience. Ask them why they would or would not purchase, what benefits and features matter most to them. 

Many of my startup clients did exactly this and it resulted in their products being much improved with direct customer feedback. It also helped in their sales pitches to large retailers - most achieved.

Next, I would chat with local police and get their feedback. All of this could open your eyes to facilitate creation of a great, new product, or help you decide whether it's worth the investment. 

Keep us posted!

Ivan Fortuna

July 19th, 2016

I would suggest having a questionnaire in FB or Twitter. Some questions samples:
- Would you like to track your kid location all the time?
- Do you use any tools for this? If yes, what tools? Does everything suit you?
etc.

You need to get min 100 answers for statistics. After this, compare in % with statistics among all families (based on Google statistics). In this case, you would be able to calculate approximate your market.

As for competitors, you need to be unique. Try to answer the question "Why my product is better than a list of my competitors?" If there is no a valuable point - create it and launch your product.

Hope my tips will help you to succeed.
Best,

Denise Dampierre Founder at Founder Institute

July 19th, 2016

Hello Eran, My product is in parent-child relationships (I am mother of 4 boys) and I just won a hackathon with Club Med. They are a vacation resort which offers multiple events for each person per day. When kids are dropped off at the Mini Club, parents do not know where they will be at 11:00 o'clock and if that is a photo-worthy spot. A "person bracelet locator" would be interesting for such use. There might be a market for big crowd events: baseball games, parades... which might be for one-time use. You might think of the issue the other way around. Babies might be dropped off at one place while parents move around. The baby-carers are the ones who need to know where the parents can be found. Currently parents are given these large, heavy, and ugly contraptions that flash and make noise. They don't fit into my chic purse (we live in Paris) and don't match my outfits nor my self-image. A discreet vibrating/flashing electronic bracelet is more to my taste. And with the incorporated GPS info in the bracelet, the daycare person would know how far away the parent is and how long it might take to arrive. With this information they could make wiser decisions in case of emergency. The questions I ask are - who is moving in an unpredictable/unrestrained manner...therefore who should wear the bracelet? - who needs/desires to be in touch with them? - with what urgency? Bon courage. Denise Dampierre [image: Picture] SoSooper.com (re) Open Dialogue for Parents & Kids +33 6 09 44 71 97

Thomas Schultz Partner at Horizon Partner Ventures LLC

July 19th, 2016

Eran- Oftentimes looking to get an idea of whether or not a product innovation has some market value is to first see if it satisfies an unmet need for the consumer.  This must be done without creating any bias (i.e., questions that may lead the interviewee).  There is a process to do this called Hedonic Attribute Mapping which, when done fully, not only identifies the unmet needs but also reveals the unarticulated needs as well.  It is a statistics based methodology with a resulting output of the product attributes the consumer would like but is missing from the current selection. This toolset of marketplace evaluation was formalized at P&G in the mid 1990's where they were able to change the approximately 15% new product launch successes to 35%+.  There are many good references to how to do a Hedonics test simply to let you know if there might be a decent market value.  Good luck.