Big Box, Little Experiments
04 Oct 2010|cfinlay
Rapid prototyping and testing is not necessarily the finest skill of most large businesses. Suggest that a big company create a small sample product to get real market feedback and you will likely be greeted with sour looks. Or total confusion. They often lack the processes in place to make rapid prototypes happen or create meaningful experiments.
That said, Kmart has stepped up its game with a fun little addition to its shelves. Product reviews from the internet about the games they are selling. Crazy right? Not really. Small bookstores have been doing this for at least a decade. The cool thing about this is that Kmart is not waiting to install state of the art LCD screens with real time updates, they are just printing out the reviews and putting them up – verbatim with references (very important). This is what rapid prototyping and testing is all about. Get right to the issue of interest, make a basic mockup and see what happens.
Too often the answer is “do more research” which means talking to people, extremely important but what happens when a top line idea comes up early and can be tested? It gets put into a deck and destroyed in the gears of companies. It is frustrating and destroys value. Every company needs a couple of risk takers that care more about doing good work than being right all the time to take these little ideas from research and observation and see if they can be more.
It is easy to see what Kmart is interested in testing, real time customer feedback, updated information and the ability to leverage a web to life experience to their advantage. Not a bad strategy for bricks and mortar to fight back. It is just the beginning. Great to see them hitting the streets to test their ideas. Go Kmart!
Read more about it on the Kmart blog.
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