Guide

Research and develop ideas, new products and services

Researching new product and service ideas

The key to successful research and development (R&D) is conducting extensive market research. This is essential as it helps you to identify and understand the needs of your customers and, ultimately, develop better products or services.

How to identify market need?

To determine if there is a market or demand for your product or service, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it satisfy or create a market need?
  • Will it outlive passing trends or capitalise on the trend before it dies away?
  • Is it unique, distinct or superior to those offered by competitors?
  • What competition will it face - direct or indirect, local, national or global?
  • Will the market want your product or service at a realistic price?
  • Can you identify potential customers?
  • Will your product be safe for public use and comply with relevant laws and regulations?

Market research plays an important role in answering many of these questions and increasing your chances of success. See more on market research and market reports.

How to carry out market research?

Be as thorough in your research as possible, as mistakes made at this stage of development could prove costly later on. The more information you have, the better you will be able to understand your potential customers, the marketplace and how your product fits in.

When conducting market research, remember to consider not only the needs of your customers, but also the needs of other parties such as retailers or distributors.

Find out how to understand your customers' needs.

Develop your USP

As well as meeting your customers' needs, your new product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) - a feature or property that makes it stand out in the marketplace.

Before entering the market, you should assess your competition and determine:

  • how they meet their customer needs
  • what will differentiate your product or service from your competitors – this will be your USP
  • why would the customers choose your product or service over your competitors', both now and in the future
  • what risks you are prepared to take to launch your product or service into this market

Find other best practices to help you understand your competitors.