Early on in our startup journey, we thought we knew what our customers wanted. But boy, were we wrong.
When we headed to our first convention for speech language pathologists as entrepreneurs selling vocabulary apps for the iPad, it was a new adventure. We were really proud of our accomplishments.
Our product was (and remains) unique, filling a great need in Language Arts. Each app level (elementary, middle school and high school) had 100 words and we thought we could add content by having schools use in-app purchases to buy more packs of words based on literature. Your class is reading Red Scarf Girl? Great! Buy the 100-word pack for that book. It was such an easy way to add content.
Feedback Changes our Course
We quickly discovered that listening to the consumer (in this case speech language pathologists and special educators) can change the future of your product. During those four conference days, we heard over and over, “We love your product, but our school has a ‘no in-app’ purchase policy.” Talk about deflating our balloon!
We also heard, “Our school doesn’t have iPads,” or “I haven’t bought an iPad, yet, so I can’t use your apps. Can you make them for Androids?”
Now we were hearing that our iPad apps were either “one-and-done purchases” for our consumers, or not on a platform they could use–and that wasn’t good for business. So, we changed course.
Three years later we have made the shift from an all-iPad platform, to a web-based vocabulary tool. Now anyone can buy our product and use it on a computer, tablet or phone. Gone is the idea of in-app purchases. We add content to our web app based on grade level, literature and vocabulary lists. Our content has expanded from 300 words to over 2,000 words and we continue to add content weekly.
Had we not listened to the feedback from our consumer, our business would be dead in the water. Thankfully, we now have a ready-for-sale, web-based product with lots of content. It pays to listen.