Surveys, focus groups, countless meetings, and research can give you a decent idea of how well your product will do in the market but putting a prototype in the hands of consumers and investors is invaluable. Here’s the 5 things your prototype can teach you.
1. Market interest
When it comes to physical products a mere photo or drawing of a product is not enough to excite consumers or investors. Having a prototype on hand during the market research phase will give you a better market interest barometer as well as the confidence to move forward into manufacturing.
You may also find that putting your prototype in the hands of consumers will open up a bevy of new use case scenarios which you can evaluate and take advantage of before the product enters into the costly manufacturing process.
2. Investor Interest
Investors although heavily focused on numbers will also want to have a tactile product in front of them. Having a prototype shows investors that you have enough skin in the game to see this product through to profitability. A great prototype also shows that you are working with a reputable product design and manufacturing firm and gives investors more confidence in your market projections and manufacturing costs, thus enhancing your chances of receiving investment.
3. Design / Functions
Sometimes things look so great on paper but once your prototyping begins many things can go awry which can compromise the design you originally had in mind. Melding beautiful design with intuitive functionality takes a seasoned and cohesive team who enjoys rising to the challenge of balancing form and function. Unfortunately losing design in place of functionality is commonplace in the prototyping business. This is why we recommend you do your research and hire a team of fantastic designers and engineers who are eager to take on the complex nature of form, fit, and function.
4. Manufacturing Pitfalls
The most common manufacturing pitfalls come from people who either did not have a prototype created or did not put their prototype through the proper paces before moving into the manufacturing stage. It’s paramount to run your prototype through rigorous market interest, product design, product safety and functionality tests before you make the decision to mass produce the product. Doing this with the guidance of your experienced team will help you avoid costly mistakes and agonizing delays during the manufacturing process.
5. Material Pros/Cons
Creating various prototypes using different materials will give you a much better picture of the costs, market interest and longevity of your product. Your product design and manufacturing team should have a solid understanding of all of the materials available to your product. During the prototyping phase your team should make you aware of the cost difference, user experience, safety and durability of each material or potential materials in your product.