There’s a huge misconception within consumer brands. There is a belief that consumers care about 5-10 different aspects of a product of a service or a brand. Even if you search online for “top factors consumers consider in a product” you find a long array of “5 factors” or “top factors” or even “top 10 factors” articles. Reality is consumers are much savvier today and typically consider 40-60 different aspects of a product or a service as part of their experience. Even if a specific consumer cares about just 10-20 aspects, they are not necessarily the same ones as other consumers, leading to the fact that as a group, consumers care about many aspects of your products or services. So, when you’re reading another “top 5” or “top 10” article, you’re actually leaving behind 30-50 different things your customers care about when considering your brand!

Where consumers spill their hearts?

To identify consumer opinions you should look at getting data from either external or internal sources. External ones are eCommerce sites, brand sites or social media. Internal data sources can be your call center, customer service email, store data and even open ended survey questions etc.

Common themes

The common themes that consumers care about when considering goods and services are repetitive and are typically along the lines of:

• Price
• Value for money
• Quality
• Loyalty (existing customers)
• Ratings and reviews
• Free shipping
• Availability
• Samples and promotions
• A friend recommended
• ….

Even with this sample list we’re almost at 10 topics, and these are not product specific, imagine how many things people can care about around a specific product.

Specific examples

Let’s pick a couple of industries as an example to look at what people care about when taking an interest in a product or a service. For these the data came from public online sources for ratings and reviews in the United States.

In the paper care industry, spanning paper towels, toilet paper etc. consumers care about the following 41 topics as part of their buying and usage experience:

1. Overall Satisfaction
2. Price/Value For Money
3. Softness
4. Loyalty
5. Durability
6. Cleanliness
7. Size
8. Economical
9. Quality
10. Tensile Strength
11. Absorbance
12. Thickness
13. Texture
14. Functionality
15. Is It Recommended?
16. Returning Customer
17. Free Samples & Coupons
18. Damaged
19. Looks & Design
20. Ease Of Use
21. Perforations
22. Packaging
23. Features
24. Residue
25. Flushable
26. Smell
27. Meets Expectations
28. Cardboard Tubes
29. Time/Frequency Of Use
30. Cold & Allergy
31. Lint
32. Comfortable
33. Skin Sensitivity
34. Shipping
35. Item Availability
36. Efficiency
37. Convenience
38. Environmental
39. Moisture
40. Ingredients
41. Fragrance Sensitivity

In the smartphones industry (based on 2016 data, which is a bit dated but gives you the overall sense) consumers care about the following 56 topics as part of their buying and usage experience:

1. Overall Satisfaction
2. Price/Value For Money
3. Battery
4. Stability
5. Meets Expectations
6. Screen
7. Memory & Storage
8. Camera & Pictures
9. Size & Weight
10. Speed
11. Operating System
12. Looks & Design
13. Is It Recommended?
14. Upgrade
15. Video
16. Applications
17. Return & Refund
18. Phone Plan
19. Sound
20. Features
21. Shipping
22. Phone Calls
23. Amazon
24. Returning Customer
25. Unlocked Phone
26. Sim Card
27. Seller
28. Case & Screen Protector
29. Star Rating
30. Quality
31. Convenience
32. Activation
33. Hardware
34. Internet Access
35. Performance
36. Setup
37. Ease Of Use
38. Security
39. Customer Service
40. Games
41. Text Message
42. Learning Curve
43. Keyboard
44. Headset
45. Phone Level
46. Music
47. Waterproof
48. Touch Screen
49. Navigation/Gps
50. Lights
51. Usb
52. Cable
53. Transfer Data
54. Apps Store
55. Gift Card
56. Projection Feature

These are just 2 examples from different ends of the market – sophisticated products vs simple ones. In both cases you see consumers showing interest in 40-60 different topics in the market.

Conclusion

A consumer-focused product or a service can fail on one specific factor, see the not too recent example of Samsung Note 7. According to Harvard Business School about 95 percent of new consumer products fail. Harvard Business School encourages consumer brands to look at products the way customers do: as a way to get a job done. What you should be interested in is identifying the 40-60 factors that your consumers are considering when they are looking at what you offer. You really need to know all of them as a way to make sure you identify if you are failing on one or more of them.

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