How to determine the most important product features for the customer?

Case Studies and Real-world Applications of Research
What product features do customers desire? Consumer research also allows for the recognition of: How to identify desired product features? Is it worthwhile to know the product features desired by customers?
What differentiates a product from competing goods or enables it to meet the needs expressed by consumers are above all the characteristics that such a product manifests. As the product/service is one of the essential elements in building contact and bonds between companies (sellers) and customers (buyers), it is therefore worth ensuring that it has the qualities desired by customers - this is a fundamental step in building a stable position within the currently occupied market.
 

What product features do customers desire?

They say that those who ask don't go astray. When determining the most important features for customers (and consequently formulating their consumer needs) that will provide them with maximum satisfaction from usage, it is valuable to directly ask for their preferences. Product research, also known as "product testing," serves this purpose. It is an area of comprehensive market research that focuses on acquiring knowledge about a specific product, such as:
  • Consumer expectations regarding product features.
  • Demand for products/services with specific features.
  • Perception of products/services with specific features (in comparison to competitive goods).
  • Factors that act as barriers or incentives to purchase a particular product.
  • A comprehensive list of aspects influencing satisfaction with the purchase and use of the product.
The obtained insights serve as the basis for creating a completely new product or modifying an existing one to precisely match the needs and requirements of customers in the target group. This is extremely important for acquiring new customers, retaining existing ones, and contributing to the overall development of the business.
At the same time, the issue of desired product features resulting from consumer needs is also addressed in research focused on better understanding customers (consumer tests). These tests are aimed at evaluating the offered product based on predetermined unique criteria to forecast potential effects of introducing or modifying a product/service in the market.

 

Consumer research also allows for the recognition of:

  • Consumer purchasing behaviors and preferences.
  • Consumption styles.
  • Needs and expectations of buyers (both conscious and unconscious).
  • Catalog of brand-associated symbols.
  • Brand awareness level (along with recognition assessment compared to competitive brands).
  • Optimal promotion channels and product distribution recommended by consumers.
  • Recommended packaging concepts and elements of the brand's visual identity system.
  • Perception of advertising messages and concepts.
 
The aforementioned conscious and unconscious needs, which also influence the development of the catalog of desired product features by consumers, are acquired through what is emphasized as "consumer insights". This type of analysis is primarily conducted to understand the ways in which customers think and emotionally respond, as well as to identify certain unconscious mechanisms that guide them, often unintentionally, during purchasing decisions. Insights obtained through marketing research, in addition to the psychosocial profile and values embraced by consumers, help determine the goals and requirements accompanying consumers in the purchase process. This, in turn, translates into the development of a catalog of features that an ideal product should exhibit for the buyer.
 
See: Case studies and real-life applications of research
 
Discussing the issue of product features, in addition to features that determine purely utilitarian satisfaction, it is also essential to mention features that are crucial for the customer at the moment of purchase (especially for a new, previously unused product). Knowing these features allows influencing the purchasing decision process and maximizing the attractiveness of the product in the eyes of the buyer, as briefly mentioned in the context of consumer insight. Identifying these features enables, for example, the exploration of consumer preferences. During such studies, the recognition of determinants of consumer decisions essentially involves identifying factors that significantly impact purchases and evaluating the studied product against the competition.
 

How to identify desired product features?

As mentioned earlier, invaluable knowledge in developing a catalog of important product features for the selected target group is gained through market research. Like any type of research, these can be conducted independently (based on available resources and capabilities) or through qualified research agencies. The latter option ensures reliability and comprehensive services, typically backed by years of research experience and a rich methodological background, encompassing both nationwide representative quantitative research and in-depth quantitative measurement (enabling the aforementioned consumer insights) and qualitative research methods. The typical basic and complementary research methods that may be used in a multi-stage measurement usually include:
  • Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI).
  • Computer-Assisted Web Interviews (CAWI).
  • Paper-and-pencil interviews (PAPI).
  • Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI).
  • Focused group interviews (FGI).
  • Individual in-depth interviews (IDI).
  • Dyads, triads.
 

Is it worthwhile to know the product features desired by customers?

Definitely yes! A product with important features for the customer has the potential to meet their expectations. As numerous studies confirm, a satisfied customer is not only loyal and likely to return to trusted solutions but is also inclined to recommend specific products to others. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your products/services have features particularly desired by the target audience selected in this regard.
 
- Consumer needs research is one of the most popular ways of testing new products before they are launched. It is used primarily by start-ups, but also by many market-dominant brands seeking to respond to changing trends and consumer tastes. Our advantage is our own research platform, badania-opinii.pl, with a huge number of active users, among whom we are able to determine the necessary research samples - explains Dr Sebastian Musioł - methodology expert at Biostat Research and Development Centre.
 

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Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of identifying the product characteristics desired by customers?

Identifying a product's characteristics makes it possible to tailor an offer to consumers' actual expectations and preferences. This allows you to meet customers' needs more effectively, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and trust. In addition, aligning the product with the desired characteristics can positively influence sales performance.

What are consumer insights?

Consumer insights are aimed at finding out the actual expectations of customers, and have an impact on the effectiveness of achieving the intended objectives, both in the communication and sales areas.

What information can be gleaned from consumer research on product features?

From consumer research, it is possible to obtain information on customers' preferences and expectations regarding functionality, quality or other relevant product attributes. These surveys allow you to understand which features are key for consumers, what factors influence their purchasing decisions and which product elements are most valued.

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