Of course you, me, and mostly everybody loves experimentation and innovation. But, honestly, how many of us are always willing to take the leap of faith? Experimentation means failing several times before finally succeeding. And when you fail, there isn’t just failure but several other consequences like spoiled business reputation, wastage of funds and resources, lost customer trust, etc. Having said that, we cannot just keep waiting for a revolutionary idea to strike our minds. So, we can experiment with a bit of planning that can minimize the risks and help businesses survive in the market. This concept is essentially called Minimum Viable Product development (MVP development).
Let’s Get Started With The Definition
Minimum viable product, as the name suggests, is the prototype of a product that can be used as a proof of concept to test if the actual version will be able to sustain in the market. It has the basic functionality at its core that can be used by the customers. Apart from that, the entire structure runs on manual processes instead of automated processes. Once the MVP is accepted, you can spend as much money on the automation to offer a product that is tried and tested before launch.
Are there any types of MVP? Yes, six of them. Let’s go and find out which one is suitable for you.
The most cost-effective method to introduce your product to your customers is via piecemeal MVP. Using off-the-shelf tools, a functional prototype of your product can be put together and customers can use it for its basic features.
Let’s understand with an example: To create a website that connects customers with a local restaurant, there will be a vast feature list that you might wish to develop in the final product. For instance, you will require coupon codes, referral codes, etc. that require QR codes functionality. But in an MVP this is not the core functionality so we can have some manual process to enable the QR code feature. You can manually generate QR codes in a PDF file and send the same to users via email.
Which Business Adopted This? Groupon, a huge corporation, started off as a half-developed product and is now one of the most successful businesses across the world.
In concierge MVP, you can utilize human-powered service instead of automated machine components. So, when you do it all yourself with your team, you get to interact with users directly and learn about their feedback and preferences.
Let’s understand with an example: To start your own food delivery business, you collect data about your customers’ meal plans via surveys. Accordingly, you schedule deliveries and provide them food at their doorsteps. So, for this product, concierge MVP will require you to search your customers first, probably your friends, family members, or neighbors. Next, you should be interviewing them to find out what they need to eat. Then, you need to travel via your vehicle to purchase the listed food for the best prices and deliver one by one. Now, since you and your team members are doing it all in person, you can interact directly and ask for reviews and suggestions.
Which Business Adopted This? Food on the Table application was launched using this MVP concept and it has been helping people to shop wisely ever since.
Wizard of Oz MVP
In this MVP, you let your customers think that they are using the final product and not some prototype while the real product is still under development.
Let’s understand with an example:
Let’s say you want to build an online store to sell t-shirts. So, the product will be an interface where you can upload t-shirt pictures and write descriptions with each t-shirt. So, before launching the final product, you create a Wizard of Oz MVP wherein you develop a WordPress website. Now, instead of investing in the entire inventory, you go to stores and click pictures to upload on your website. When any customer places the order, you go back to the corresponding store and buy the t-shirt. After that, you handle the payments and shipping through manual processing and deliver the t-shirt.
Which Business Adopted This?
Zappos, a renowned retailer of shoes and clothes now, was launched using this method.
Explanatory Demo Video
A demo video can also be considered as an MVP that describes the features of your product. Consider it as a trailer for a film that is yet to be launched. Using this explanatory video you can entice the potential users into using your product when it comes.
Which Business Adopted This? Dropbox adopted this type of MVP before releasing the application. The video explained how the product will work and it went viral because it provided a real solution to real problems of the people. Therefore, the potential users were eagerly waiting for the launch and the application was an instant hit.
Using a landing page MVP, you can put your product or application’s description, feature list, and describe its unique value proposition that includes product benefits. You can explain how the product works and how it is better than the existing alternatives.
Let’s understand with an example: Your product idea is to create an application where users can shoot one-minute videos and share directly on social media. Before creating the application, you put out the product description and its details on a landing page MVP. Along with the product’s name, you list all its features, show example videos and how real users will be using it when it is launched, etc. In the end, you can add some call-to-action to know if the users are interested in using the application once it goes live.
Which Business Adopted This? Buffer was launched using a landing page MVP. Recently, a lot of businesses have started doing this and it helps the brands launch with complete planning and preparation.
More like email marketing, you are sending a single email to all your prospects and wait for their response. The email should be well-written with all the product details including the workflow, benefits, and unique selling propositions. In the end, there must be a call-to-action to know their feedback.
Let’s understand with an example: A businessman wants to create a platform that allows users to share food reviews and recommendations about local restaurants. But to test this idea, he creates an email list consisting of email addresses of several different individuals. With the subject “Coming Soon”, he sends the email that describes everything about the product and in the end, there is a question: Would you be interested in using this product? And there are two clickable buttons below it: Yes or No. Response from every receiver will be recorded that will help the business release its final product.
Which Business Adopted This? Product Hunt by Ryan Hoover started this way. When positive feedback was received he went ahead with the product launch and helped people search for new products.
Pick the MVP model that best suits your business requirements and budget!
Now that you know which MVP model you want to adopt, you need to create a foolproof strategy for your MVP. Yes, you read that right! Just like your final product’s development, you need to have a strategy for the MVP development too, failing which your prototype can crash. And that is not what we want. So, in the next blog we are going to explain how to launch an MVP with proper planning.
Read All About MVP Development (Part II) here.