Author: Elisa Alessandroni
Publication date: 13.10.2023
In general, we define B2C or Business-to-Consumer, as a type of commerce where businesses sell products or services directly to individual consumers. In particular, the main purpose of a B2C is to increase its profit. In order to do that just think around three main objectives:
Get to market as quickly as possible, as many companies aim to minimize time-to-market.
Ensure that the product meets quality standards higher than those competitors before commercialization.
Rationalize the cost structure.
Most companies would like to optimize all three objectives, but some of them may conflict with each other. However, you can look for a situation that balances these objectives.
Business-to-consumer steps and methods to explore customer needs
It’s not so easy to sell the right product; it’s like a long method that involves different steps:
understanding your target market,
addressing consumer needs, and
creating a strong value proposition to convince customers to buy your product.
In this article we concentrate on how to discover consumer needs. B2C uses different methods to obtain information about their preferences such as:
● market research like surveys,
● focus groups or
Methods to collect customer-related information
Surveys are the most common way to collect quantitative data. This method is used in various fields, including marketing, product development. It can be conducted through groups or individuals.
● Focus Group
A focus group is qualitative research based on an interview conducted with a limited group of individuals. The point is to understand people’s attitudes, preferences, and needs. The composition of the group varies from 6 to 10 individuals. In addition, the presence of a moderator. In this type of research, body language is as important as words.
These are individual interviews in which the interviewer asks numerous questions in order to collect the larger amount of information about his or her preference. In addition, it is essential to prepare a plan of questions to ask even if it may be impossible to ask some questions. So, it is necessary to show empathy to the interviewer, listen actively and avoid interrupting. After having collected an amount of information, it’s time to define the principal needs, or common themes that emerge from the research.
Robert McKim has introduced a qualitative approach to identify dissatisfied needs in order to get closer to end users. This approach is referred to as “NeedFinding”.
Needfinding is a process applied in various fields such as design, product development and more. In this way, it serves to identify the needs, and preferences of the customer. Understanding these needs is necessary for achieving success during the selling, as it revolves around increasing perceived value and addressing a range of needs.
However, needs can be difficult to discover without a strong and organized research methodology. Thanks to Needfinding, companies have the possibility to discover needs and use them for product development.
4 steps of the Needfinding process
1. Frame e prepare
At this stage the company aims at determining the research goals and the type of customer to study.
2. Watch and record
Here it is important to observe people’s behavior to gain information about their habits.
3. Ask and record
Watching people's behavior is not enough; so companies have to ask and start a discussion about what customers do. These are crucial information to identify their needs.
4. Interpret and reframe
The final stage consists in interpreting the results. After having followed this stage, a company has identified the principal needs and starts with the product development process.
The story behind Nike GO FlyEase
This big business was able to respond to a specific need from a customer. In particular in 2012 Matther Walzer sent to Nike an email which asked for a specific type of shoes. He was born with an injury that limits his mobility. Due to this, he was unable to tie his own shoes; so Nike provided a new type of shoes without laces in order to help him and solve a problem.