Updated: Jul 30
Designing & prototyping a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is not only a chance to enter a market fast but also to provide a very simple customer experience.
A lot of startups create MVPs with easy features focussing on easy coding and cost efficient aspects rather than having a basic version of the product for customer easy to use, test and feedback on.
What is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
MVP is a premature product with sufficient features to gain market share and attract first customer (early adopters) to be able to validate the underlying product idea. This allows us to serve basic needs of customer while collecting feedback to achieve a final product with product/market fit and customer fit.
What is important for customers regarding a new product or service?
During the Design Thinking Process, the company should ideally satisfy a basic need of the customer and transform this basic need into a new product or services (e.g. Facebook, the human needs to communicate and share and be recognized). This could be technology based or not necessarily and can also apply to basic needs like food, clothes, shelter, etc.. The MVP should apply directly to this need to create an urge to get or test the product or service. At the same time, as seen in the graph below, there is a demand of customer for easy usage. In this fast-paced environment a lot of consumers do not have the patience to learn or even to read how to use something complicated. That is why a lot of design prototypes copy existing design patterns (navigation buttons, icons, menu structures, etc.) so that customer can directly find out the exciting new features rather than getting stuck in the process.
While an MVP should definitely cover some basic needs and make the minimum feature easy to use, in some cases the real enjoyment and satisfaction stage will be developed later, when we received the feedback and insights from the first customers. To satisfy the attributes Easy & Enjoyable first, we need a continuous feedback, analysis and development improvement cycle in which customer experience feedback and customer effort score is one of the main drivers for product and service evolvement.
For more information on customer experience management, please read our blog "What is Experience Management"
Is a great MVP enough to win the hearts of clients?
A successful MVP is not only helping to win customer and markets but also to motivate the team members in an organization. This is important as a lot of starts-up would roll-out a MVP first to their staff and their friends and families. The more motivation and excitement it creates, the better reach, buzz and the more feedback we get on this early stage.
Beside the MVP, we need the right communication and marketing campaign to support the roll-out and to win open-minded and curious early adopters. As mentioned above, it is crucial to state which need the product or service addresses and how your product satisfies this need better or different than previous solutions. For example the premium Tesla launch did not only target rich people to get a new roadster with some technical gimmicks into their already crowded garages, but appealed to mindful consumers as early adopters as part of an ecological revolution for transportation. On top Tesla also used the basic human FOMO principle by applying a prepayment and pre-ordering system and using scarcity to their advantage.
Furthermore it is also important to have support and feedback systems in place, to help customer on the new product or service and to collect as much feedback as possible to kick-start the continuous improvement process for design and development. Ideally an MVP should include instant chat (or hotline) support and has minimum one customer satisfaction / effort score rating or other feedback tools. Besides, family, friends and early adopters could be invited to test focus groups to observe or discuss the product or service design, flow and communication.
Product/Market Fit and Customer Fit
It is important to assure that the product or service is unique or distinguishable enough to find a space in a current market or to open a complete new market. However just product/market fit does not fully take into account the needs and satisfaction of customer at a given time or in a given space. Going back to our Tesla example, electric cars were already invented more than 100 years ago, but nor the environment or market fit (no focus on electricity, charging station, etc.) neither the consumer fit (no ecological awareness) were ready for this product.
If you would like to have more information on how to ensure that your MVP provides a decent customer experience which covers basic needs, provides easiness and some enjoyable wow moments, feel free to contact us on contact link or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org