NPD in a post COVID-19 world – opportunities and challenges
Why now is a good time to launch your new product
Consumer habits have been upset. Many were on autopilot when buying – now the vast majority have shopped at different supermarkets, bought different brands and switched to online shopping. Our COVID-19 Tracker shows that 38% of consumers have discovered new brands during lockdown that they will continue buying and 39% have discovered new online retailers they will stick with.
Kopparberg launched a new spirit during lockdown
In order to be successful long-term a new product has to change existing behaviour – and right now behaviour is already in flux and therefore easier to influence. And there are plenty of companies including supermarkets, food & drink brands, sportswear and consumer goods manufacturers taking advantage of the changing consumer landscape.
But there are still pitfalls – so here are three key things to consider:
How to develop new products right now:
Make sure your product fits with current behavioural trends
Behaviour is changing and there have been spikes in sales for some products and slumps for others, so it is critical to understand how consumers live and buy right now. For example as pubs were closed, consumer alcohol spend went to supermarkets or online with many consumers recreating cocktails at home. New alcohol brands have a good chance of success and there have been plenty of launches such as Kopparberg Spiced Cherry Rum.
On the other hand consumers concern about health and wellbeing is also on a high right now – so low and no alcohol brands are flourishing. InBev has introduced its zero alcohol Bud in retailers during lockdown to at least offset some of the losses from not being able to launch in pubs and bars (yet).
We are also eating more meals at home – including taking more time for breakfast. So new products like Yolk Folk offering fuss free poached eggs fit right into current behaviours.
But it is not just about food and drink. Asics launched their new range of running trainers using VR – and as a record number of people have taken up running, giving trainer sales a boom, this is also in line with current trends.
Get fast, agile research
With things changing as quickly as they do right now, this is not the time for a six month research programme. But – quick and cheap online research sometimes misses the underlying drivers. What people say they like is not always what they end up buying – so it is important that your research still measures those less explicit influences. Using NPD tools that measure both explicit and implicit factors quickly and effectively – such as Emotional Logic’s NPD process – will help you refine your product from concept to post launch. Our research ensures your new product is inline with genuine consumer needs and fits with emerging consumption habits.
Adjust your launch to the new media and retail landscape
Obviously big live launch events are impossible for the foreseeable future. But online video watching has seen a huge increase over the last few months – so brands such as bike manufacturer VanMoof are opting for Livestream global launches instead.
Asics hosted a VR launch for their latest high performance shoes
Consumers’ social media usage has also increased recently. Natural deodorant brand Wild used social media to relaunch their range in the middle of lockdown and this helped propel them to number one natural deodorant in the UK. Hippie Snacks in the US offers virtual sampling of their almond based snacks as sampling in stores as currently not an option.
With bars and restaurants being closed the traditional routes to market for Tayport Spirits’ new Wild Rose Gin were difficult so the brand decided to soft launch with consumers direct and was running a very popular series of tasting sessions on Facebook and Instagram.
Media behaviour is constantly shifting (more info here) – initially we saw a spike in live TV viewing but this has now dropped below 2019 levels and video on demand and digital video are the big winners at the moment. As countries are coming out of lockdown we can expect media and buying behaviour to shift again.
Whether you need insight to adjust your strategies for existing brands to the new normal or are thinking about launching new products we can help you get it right. Emotional Logic is a specialist behavioural insight agency and we offer a range of cost effective research solutions to ensure your strategy connects with the constantly shifting needs of the consumer. Please get in touch for a free consultation.