Our client was a manufacturer of bath linens who wanted to test the market’s receptivity for a new product that they could sell to consumers. We designed a direct-to-consumer quantitative study to do just that.
What We Did
Our client had an idea for a new bath towel. The new concept product was a premium bath towel that was heavy, soft, and fluffy, and became fluffier over time with use. It was made from 100%, extra-long fiber cotton that felt like Egyptian, Pima, or Turkish cotton. Its heavy weight resulted in rapid moisture wicking and absorption of water from the skin. It was the right balance of weight and thickness, and maintained its size and softness over many washings. It was to be offered in bath and hand towel sizes. Washcloths and bath mats were also to be available. Offered in a wide range of colors, the concept bath towel was engineered not to fade.
To provide the client with the elements of a market-driven go-to-market plan, we conducted a direct-to-consumer quantitative study. Data from more than 400 consumers across the U.S was collected and analyzed. These consumers were active purchasers of bath towels and matched our client’s definition of their target customer. Seven product features and ten service features associated with the concept product were evaluated. The service features we investigated were
- No hassle return policy with a full refund or replacement if the bath towels didn’t perform as customers expected
- Free sample washcloth so customers would see and touch the special fabric out of which the bath sheets were made
- 60-day trial of the bath towels; if customers didn’t like them, then they could return them—no questions asked
- A light weight, reusable storage container for the bath towels
- Standard free 2-day shipping
- A 5-year, no-fault guarantee provided along with product purchases
- A free subscription to the company’s monthly newsletter that kept customers informed of new products and design tips, as well as advice on home décor
- The option to receive special samples of new products
- A free copy of the company’s printed catalog with an augmented reality experience that enabled customers to see the true color and/or pattern of the bath towels in their own home
- Seeing real customers’ ratings
We designed and executed an agile concept test for the new bath towel product as one of the exercises in the direct-to-consumer quantitative study. Analysis of the resulting data revealed the value consumers had for each of the concept features and the price they would pay.
What We Learned
Over 70% of respondents were interested in the concept bath towel. The idea of a bath towel becoming fluffier over time was well received.
Among other exercises in the survey, we asked consumers, “What do you want your bath towel to do for you?”
The weight of the bath towel was important to almost half of the consumers, but most did not factor weight into their decision-making process. The most important product features were
- Not trapping odors
The highest rated service features were
- Free shipping
- Free returns
- Free samples
The three promotional descriptors that were the strongest motivators of purchase and not recognized as hype were
- Highly absorbent
Free shipping, easy returns, seeing real customer ratings, and a guarantee were what consumers wanted from retailers to make their online purchase(s) easier and faster.
We defined the missing elements of the client’s marketing mix with facts from the direct-to-consumer quantitative study. The next step was to build out a sales forecast so our client could be ready to go to market.