Designing just the right new home features package is challenging. One on hand, we want to design homes that appeal to our buyers and strike an emotional chord, but on the other we don’t want to risk wasting money on features that do not connect with our particular buyers.
Past experience is not always the best indicator of what features to include. A company may be building a new product, or may be building in a new location to a new set of potential buyers. Demographics for a new area can be different enough from previous target buyers to raise questions on the ideal feature mix.
How do you establish a menu of highly valued features to include or offer as optional while you are still very early in design?
Get early feedback on what to include and what to leave out of the package. In order to reduce the risk, plan on including a Feature Study while you are still in the product design stage.
In a Feature Study, you can find out from recent buyers:
• Features that were included and wanted (confirmation)
• Features that were included and not wanted (opportunity for savings)
• Features that were not included that they wanted (opportunity for competitive advantage)
• Features that were not included and did not want (confirmation)
With this information, you can see where the market is delivering, and identify opportunities to save money or claim competitive advantage where wanted features are being missed. In other words, you can use the information to improve your bottom-line.
What’s involved in a feature study?
Here are the planning steps to this knowledge insight:
1. Identify the characteristics of your projected customer.Knowing your projected customer is critical to effective research design. Characteristics include:
– What annual income is needed to buy the home at the price you’re planning
– How close or how far away do projected customers live
– What home size do they have, or
– What household type (e.g. are they single or are they a family with kids at home).
2. Identify the range of features on the market to test. Establishing what you want to learn is the most critical element to designing research.
-What are you planning to offer?
-What do competitors offer?
-What’s included in resale homes in the area?
-What are you curious about?
3. Plan the format. Is it best to mail the survey, invite participants to a web-based survey or call them? Who your projected customer is will help you decide.
4. Write the questionnaire. Make it interesting and keep it as short as you can.
5. Plan the distribution.
6. Launch the survey.
7. Collect the results, share the results and visuals with the team.
8. Use the insight to determine the ideal features.
Would you like to learn how to use this tool to fine-tune your feature-offering? Post a comment and let me know. – Maureen