How Research Killed an Uber Cool Startup Idea Part-2

25 January 2017 by Ambar Bhusari No comments
Uber Research 2

Research Findings

If you’ve made it so far you must be genuinely interested in startup research or if you’ve just landed here, you should read the first part of the blog. Anyways, to pick up from where we left last week, our consumer research threw some interesting facts. While the delivery idea sounded good on paper, there were few takers on ground. When we analysed the numbers and the conversations we had with prospective customers in Pune city, here’s what we discovered:

Problem of Plenty

In Pune, most people either have a lot of time or family members helping them take care of their day to day needs. Launching an app based service that takes care of all the delivery needs for a select few who are short of time and resources would have come handy. But it would not have made much business sense since it would end up serving a small niche, with little scope to scale up. Add to the fact, there are more than a handful of app based pick- up and delivery services vying for a share of the same pie.

Customer Adoption

Pune is not ready for hyper local delivery. Even though the customer experience with an app based startup is considered to be a major factor in decision making, people would refrain from paying for the service since it’s not tangible. At the same time  they wouldn’t mind paying extra for the product if there’s a price premium for quality. In a place like Pune, which is not geographically spread out getting customers to pay for a hyperlocal delivery service is a tough ask. The customers would rather do it by themselves rather than using an app and paying for it.

Touch & Feel Experience

In a city short of entertainment options, a visit to a supermarket is considered as a sort of weekend family outing. Strange as it may sound, people enjoy the touch and feel of the things that they buy. The tactile feel factor is what people base their purchase decisions on and will find it hard to entrust it to a delivery person to take those buying decisions for them. Besides, shopping is seen as a form of weekend family activity!

The Final Nail

We made a list of occasions where the product will fit in a user’s day to day routine. What came out as the research findings and shared with the bossman took him by surprise. The interaction of the user with the product was not as much as he had anticipated initially. It would have made a little business sense to become an uber of deliveries. Since the delivery focused needs of users were fragmented and way too less to have a specialised delivery fleet to serve them.

As truth began to sink in he reluctantly gave up the idea of delivery app, at least for the time being. And I get to keep my job for now. The bottomline, however is to highlight the power of user research in product validation. Sure entrepreneurs are passionate about their ideas and are often blind-sided. Thats where research comes in, to understand consumer behaviour, analyse the market realities and validate the product idea. And to tell it like it is, good or bad. 

Ambar Bhusari

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