A Product Development Roadmap

Identifying trends is a crucial aspect of business growth and customer satisfaction. To identify trends, businesses need to have a deep understanding of their customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors. This includes analyzing customer data, conducting market research, and staying up-to-date with industry news and developments.

Once businesses have a clear understanding of their customers' requirements, they can use this information to produce high-quality products that meet their customers' needs. This will not only help to attract more customers but also increase customer loyalty and retention.

In addition to product development, businesses can also use trend analysis to create effective marketing strategies. By understanding what their target audience is looking for, businesses can create marketing campaigns that speak directly to their customers' needs. This, in turn, can help to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

Effective communication is another essential aspect of trend analysis. By understanding how their customers prefer to communicate, businesses can tailor their communication strategies to meet their customers' preferences. This may include using social media, email marketing, or other forms of communication that resonate with their target audience.

In overview, identifying trends is a crucial aspect of business success. By understanding their customers' needs and preferences, businesses can produce high-quality products, create effective marketing strategies, and communicate with their customers in a way that resonates with them.

To identify a trend, it is essential to conduct thorough research about the market by speaking to customers and stakeholders. You can become your subject matter expert by executing plans based on your findings. It's also relatively simple to identify a trend using the internet and other resources available.

For instance, let's consider an entrepreneur who noticed that India is a milk-loving nation. People in India have a fondness for milk and milk products. This observation led him to discover that milk-based start-ups have significant growth potential, and many of these start-ups have achieved significant success. 

The entrepreneur made this discovery when he saw a milk packet hanging on the handle of a door with a code number on it. This observation made him realize that people today are buying milk online because they don't have the time to stand in queues or visit stores. 

Further, he also noticed the trend that most people in India are ordering groceries online instead of visiting stores. 

It's crucial to remember that establishing a business model requires more than just learning from one or two customers. You need to analyze the trend carefully and plan accordingly to succeed in the market.

In OYO, he learned it in three ways:

1. App usage

When he first started his business, he assumed that most of his customers would come through telephone and walk-ins. However, as time passed, he realized that to stay competitive in the market, he needed to adapt to changing customer preferences. One of the ways he did this was by taking note of the increasing popularity of ride-hailing apps like Ola, and recognizing that people were increasingly turning to mobile apps to fulfill their needs. 

Despite the fact that OYO was initially launched without an app, he saw the potential in developing one. With the aim of making OYO more accessible and user-friendly, he made the decision to shift the business model and prioritize the development of a mobile app. This move proved to be successful, and the mobile app quickly became the primary source of business for OYO. Today, OYO is recognized as one of the most successful and innovative hospitality companies in the world, thanks in part to its willingness to adapt to changing market trends and customer needs.

2. Sales team interaction

In the current business landscape, it is crucial for companies to cater to the needs and demands of small and medium businesses. OYO recognized this and took the initiative to interact with such businesses and offer services to their employees. Initially, OYO hired one or two sales agents to handle this task. However, as the demand increased, the company formed a dedicated team to handle its corporate and small & medium business accounts. This team has so far successfully associated 6,000 businesses with OYO.

Entrepreneur magazine suggests that businesses should be aware of the trends and changes in their industry and adjust their operations accordingly. One such example is the grocery business, which has seen a shift towards delivery services. As a result, businesses that offer delivery services are likely to be more successful than those that do not.

To achieve success in this field, businesses can opt to hire people who can deliver their products to customers instead of hiring people to sit in stores. This not only saves on the cost of leasing a high street location but also allows businesses to choose a low-cost location that would not affect their operations. Customers are more interested in the quality and convenience of the delivery service rather than the physical store, making this approach a viable option for businesses looking to expand their reach.

3. Team from the local area

It is recommended to prioritize hiring individuals who are from the local area when building a delivery team. This is because they are likely to be familiar with the area and can navigate through the local roads with ease, making timely deliveries. When a customer places an order, the last thing they want is to struggle with giving directions to a delivery agent who is not familiar with the area. By having local delivery agents, customers can have a hassle-free experience, and the delivery process becomes smoother and efficient.

3. Research & Implementation to Attract Customers

Staying updated with the latest trends is crucial for any business to stay ahead in the market. Conducting research and finding out what your customers prefer are key to creating innovative products or services that can go viral. Take, for instance, the story of Vini Cosmetics, which introduced the well-known Fogg deodorant. The product became an instant hit because the company's founder noticed a trend while conducting research. Whenever agents visited stores, they would ask the store owners "Kya Chal Raha Hai?" (What's selling?) and the answer would often be "Fogg Chal Raha Hai" (Fogg is selling). This trend was noticed, and the now-iconic advertisement "Fogg Chal Raha Hai" was created, which became viral.

To stay ahead in the market, it's essential to notice trends and keep a constant check on what's new and famous. There are several ways to do this, including interacting with customers and your eco-system, talking to your team, and using various tools like Google Trends. You can use these tools to track other websites, learn from your competitors, and see what's trending in a particular country or state.

For instance, during the COVID pandemic, if you want to know which products are in high demand, you can use Google Trends to find out. Suppose you're interested in finding out about board games. In that case, you can select the country and the time period of 12 months, and the tool will display a graph depicting the popularity of board games during that period. Similarly, if you search for gyms, you'll see that the searches have gone down while the graph of fitness has gone higher. In this way, you can always keep an eye on the keywords that are trending in a particular country or state and use them to your advantage by adding them to your set of services.

Throughout the course of experience, we have learned various valuable lessons that have helped us grow and evolve. Some of the most significant learnings that have stood out to us include the importance of identifying trends and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in technology. We have also realized that working collaboratively as a team can be highly effective in achieving our goals and objectives. 

Furthermore, we have come to appreciate the value of learning from our mistakes and using them to improve our future outcomes. One tool that has been particularly useful in our efforts to monitor trends and understand our customers' interests is Google trends. This platform has enabled us to track our favorite words, breakthrough words, and search volume of words, providing us with valuable insights into the current market and customer preferences. 

Most importantly, we have learned to understand the customer's pulse and tailor our approach to meet their needs and expectations. By prioritizing the customer's needs and desires, we have been able to build strong relationships with our clients and establish a reputation for being a reliable and customer-focused organization.