6 Ways to Use Crowdfunding for Product Development

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Entrepreneur by David Drake | June 24, 2015

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Numerous products are launched into the market every day. However, prior to launch, each product needs to pass the product-market fit and more companies are testing the water via crowdfunding, an online model of raising funds and financing from individuals. By going down this route, entrepreneurs are able to test quickly, more effectively and economically.

Here are six ways to use crowdfunding for product development.

1. Measure market readiness

Crowdfunding is an effective tool for measuring market demand. Startups, and even existing and established companies, have used this path to check the market’s readiness for their ideas or to introduce their product prototype while raising funds.  If your idea or product is getting the backers to let go of their hard-earned dollars with only some perks as an exchange, like a shirt or a plaque of appreciation, then this can indicate a readiness for your concept.

Related: Why Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail (And What Can Be Done)

2. Involve others in the design and development process

Allowing customers to participate in the creative process is a powerful way of empowering them and  also getting precious feedback on what the market really wants. Imagine having your potential customers help you solve your design challenges for the future packaging of your next generation intensive moisturizing facial cream, or tell you their preferences for the future flavor of your iced tea drink. Crowdfunding helps you attract people who are interested in the success of your product. Involving them in the design and development process will help enrich the product in a whole new way.

3. Capture customer response and feedback

Traditionally, a company conducts a product and market research to test acceptability of a new product before they launch it in the market and it is an expensive activity. This is done through surveys, food taste tests, blind testing and more. The collection, evaluation and analysis of this data sometimes require sophisticated logistics and funding.

Related: Crowdfunding Strategy: How To Decide On Your Funding Goal Read

With crowdfunding, most of the people who back your fundraising project are already your product’s users or company’s advocates. When they receive the prototype or first-bulk production of your product (as a token for supporting your online fundraising) you can expect to get some very essential feedback on what they really think about your product.

4. Use complaints to improve your product

Most products being launched are an improvement of their previous model. Crowdfunding is an effective way to gather reports of customer complaints and get them to provide you with appropriate solutions. When the concept of the improved product is launched via crowdfunding, invite your fans to help in the development process. Since they have invested their time and money on your project, they will give you solutions and advocate the product to the naysayers when the new model hits the market. This is a win-win solution as you turn fans into investors and non-fans into delighted customers once again.

Related: Crowdsourcing – A Powerful Marketing Tool for Startups

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1100+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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