Survey the market, and don’t just think local - look at what international peers have achieved in the past and present and infuse relevant ideas to your product. Reach out to who you think may be your target audience and begin sharing the idea with them. If it’s one that challenges them, chances are they’ll need to see it to believe it.
This is also when you’ll be considering your business model very carefully versus incumbent players. When I was looking into the fashion rental landscape, I quickly noticed a pattern that most options were focused on buying inventory (which is not a circular solution to fashion consumption), occasion wear (which means fewer transactions) and had an air of exclusivity (which also means fewer, potentially demanding clientele). Given that my idea for pushing fashion rental a step forward was to become a sharing economy, this market research had started answering my questions about our business model.
Testing and Feedback
Because your target audience will need to see your ‘vertical, intensive progress’ idea to believe it, you ought to think about offering them a trial. Ideally, you will create the most cost-effective and convenient prototype or ‘minimum viable product.’ In the case of By Rotation, I built a beta (or test) platform on the desktop over a weekend, using my past experience as a web designer. It was not a beautiful website by any means but did the main functions: create profiles, list items, rent items and leave feedback.
This cheap-and-cheerful test not only helped me in acquiring users and understanding their behaviour quickly, but it was also user-friendly enough to be included by press in multiple articles. Perhaps the biggest learnings for me were about what our final product should be: the UK’s first peer-to-peer fashion rental app.