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How to validate an online beauty marketplace idea (with a sample)

 

Validating an idea is one of the first critical tasks for building a new product. While many businesses are beginning to appreciate the validation process, few are not practicing enough. This occurs because startup founders are thrilled about their ideas, want to launch them as quickly as possible and skip this process.

Most businesses don't want to waste money and resources down the drain for a product nobody wants to buy. That's why it's important to test whether customers are willing to pay for your product before you invest your resources and time in creating, launching, and marketing it. Although product idea validation is usually easier said than done, many startup owners often find themselves struggling to get it right.

 

This article will help you:

  • Conduct the validation process effectively.
  • Define your ideal target market for your product and service.
  • Utilize the right validation questions that make the most of the users' feedback.
  • Do simple yet effective research showing how marketable your business idea is.
  • Test your idea with numerous people in your target market with minimal effort.
  • Gain some takeaways from a sample of validating an online beauty marketplace.

 

Why you need to validate your business idea

The validation of your business idea enables businesses to save time and money by identifying the right users' pain points, researching the market demands, and then creating a product that meets their needs. What's more, it helps them mitigate value risks, feasibility risks, and business viability risks. Also, you can build confidence in your idea to turn it into a final product that achieves product/market fit.

The resounding Y Combinator's motto is: "Make Something People Want." This basically sums up the need to validate a product idea. The validation process with customers before building a product spares you many heartaches when the app is released.

 

How to validate the business idea

To test the validity of your product idea effectively, you need to create a clear validation process. Yet, a product validation process can come in all shapes and sizes. There is a robust framework in which most validation processes can work.

Step 1: Identify what to validate
Step 2: Write down assumptions
Step 3: Test the assumptions
Step 4: Analyze and evaluate

Let’s dig deeper into the details.

 

Step 1: Identify what to validate

There are three main aspects that you should validate.

  • Idea validation
  • Market validation
  • Product validation

Idea validation
Solving a user pain point will be an effective way to develop a product people want. They are also business opportunities for you. Thus, you need to define the problem you want to address and test your solution with potential customers. This allows you to assess whether people are interested in your idea, starving for the solution to solve their pain points, and the idea worth investing in.

The idea validation likely includes answering critical questions related to user pain points below.

 
User pain points What pain points are you going to cure?
Is it a problem worth solving?

Market validation
Market validation refers to identifying your primary customer segments, putting you into your potential customers' shoes, and evaluating the competitive landscape. One way to ensure a healthy market for building the product is to look closely at your competition, both direct-to-consumer brands, and third-party marketplaces. Find out what they are doing and compare it to what you plan to do. You attain valuable insights regarding customers' buying habits, real market concerns, and more competitors and market trends. Given that, you can gauge how viable the product would be in the target market.

The questions below can help you validate the market effectively.

 
Target customers Who are the target customers of the product?
Describe the typical user? What are their goals and needs?
What are their expectations about the solution?
Are they willing to pay for such a solution?
Market What’s the big picture behind this idea/product?
Is your market big enough to keep your business idea viable?
How will you penetrate the market?
Competition What competition will you face?
What are your competitors’ biggest pros?
What are your competitors’ biggest pain points?

Product validation
Product validation is the last factor in defining what to validate. While having a business idea is one thing, forming your product based on your initial idea is another. In this situation, you articulate your unique value proposition and validate whether the product will suit the market demand. If your end-users don’t see how your product benefits them or offers value, they won’t buy in, and you won’t have a desirable or viable product.

You can utilize the following questions to ensure you create a product people will pay for.

 
Solution What does your solution do?
Does your product solve your target market’s problem?
What makes your solution different from others?
How will it be built?
What results are you expecting after launch?
Value proposition What is your value proposition? For customers? For providers?
Distribution channel Which distribution channels will you provide your product? For customers? For providers?
Revenue stream What should be included in a revenue stream? For customers? For providers?

Step 2: Write down assumptions

The second step is to answer the above questions and form the assumptions from a customer's perspective based on your own experiences. Then, you get out into the real world to test how viable the idea is.

 

Step 3: Test the assumptions

Once you list out assumptions, you need to choose a research method that best tests your assumptions. Several research methods are available, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. It's critical to use the proper methods, and you also can combine different approaches to get a complete view of the market. Below are some popular research methods:

  • Surveys and interviews: Conducting customer interviews or surveys is a common and effective way to gain actionable customers' data from many different angles. While a survey or questionnaire provides a huge volume of responses, interviews enable you to dig deeper into people's input and identify their true problems. You can refer to our previous article How to conduct an effective user interview for your MVP to explore more about user interviews and how to ask the right questions.
  • SEO methods: You can take advantage of digital tools, and methods like Google Trends, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc. They help you quickly gauge possible user interest in your product by researching keywords and trends, which gives you a general idea of the current market interest in your product.
  • A/B testing paid ads: This involves running A/B test online ads that highlight different aspects of your product. The goal here is to determine how much your users value specific product features and provide insights into where future product development should focus.

 

Step 4: Analyze and evaluate

When you've gathered all your data, take some time to look over it all and study the research data. This step is crucial because you can learn all the findings from your target market and solicit key takeaways before building your minimum viable product (MVP). Thereby, you can choose the most critical and proper assumptions to add to your MVP and validate them after shipping the MVP to the market.

 

A sample of validating an online beauty marketplace

You have gone through a step-by-step guide to conducting an idea validation process. Let's go over a sample below. We are assuming validating the business idea before building an online beauty marketplace in the US.

 

Step 1: Identify what to validate

 
Idea validation
Users’ pain points

- Customers find it inconvenient to call salons for booking services, or the salons are full on the weekend.

- Customers often don’t want to use cash anymore.

- Day-to-day activities in salons didn't run smoothly, and salon owners took much time to manage and operate the store. The staff took lots of time to arrange appointments, record customer information, invoice, and report manually. It's also challenging to manage all customer reviews and reviews after experiencing the service.

Market validation
Target customers

- Above 15 years old.

- For owners and staff members at beauty salons, professional artists, and specialists in the beauty marketplace. They’re looking for the best online salon booking app connected to customers in the US.

- Customers are interested in beauty. products/services in the US.

Market

- There aren't many direct businesses that offer online beauty marketplace platforms, which means there is room for our system.

- We can penetrate the market by building a system that meets users' demands with a better user interface and user experience.

Competition

- Some direct competitors from the beauty marketplace, like CEONAIL, Wellyx, and Phorest salon software. The UX and UI of these competitors are pretty average. Additionally, these rivals' websites received low traffic, indicating that their systems aren't widely utilized and lack a strong brand.

- Some indirect competitors from salons: The Full Spectrum Hair Salon, Patrick Evan Salon, Hue Hair Salon SF, and Avante Salon. These apps are specialized for each salon, and operation costs are high.

Product validation
Solution

- Provide an online booking app at a reasonable price for the beauty marketplace.

- Connect with many beauty salons, professional artists, and specialists with their customers in the US, allowing customers to schedule and close appointments quickly.

- Automatically records customer information details, such as name, phone number, email address, service history, payment, etc.

- Synthesize all customer comments, reviews, and suggestions to improve service quality or use as an advertising campaign on social networks.

- Integrate expense reports and payment gateways into one machine. Customers can make a payment online quickly.

Value proposition

- For customers: Easy to use and unified service experience all in one place, allows them to know more about the beauty products, read the previous reviews, schedule a suitable time slot and pay for it within a few touches.

- For providers: Quickly set up their own online presence, handy tools for handling bookings and invoicing.

Distribution channel

- For customers: Since many individuals in the US are looking for online beauty booking services, they will reach your site through search engines as soon as you rank top 1 in specific keyword searches.

- For providers: You first build supply by contacting the salon owners directly and convincing them to use the trial version. Later on, growth will come through word of mouth.

Revenue stream

- From customers: Your app is completely free to use for customers.

- From providers: You plan to make money by charging a commission from each salon’s booking, which is the most common revenue stream for modern marketplaces.

 

Step 2: Write down assumptions

We can come up with three main assumptions for the above problems:

  • Salon owners don't have good tools for managing their booking schedules and invoicing online for their customers. Streamlining this procedure will bring value to them, and they desire to use your systems for their salons.
  • The first version of the online beauty marketplace platform will include the main features: online profiles, appointments management, customer management, online payment, and reporting.
  • When the marketplace platform brings real customers for salons, salon owners are willing to pay a small commission.

 

Step 3: Test the assumptions

To test the assumptions, we chose three main research methods: SEO methods, Landing pages, as well as Surveys and interviews.

SEO methods: In this case, we discover what phrases and terms people in the US use related to the product by using SEMrush.

 
# Keyword Search volume Keyword difficulty
1 nail appointment near me 2900 Low
2 appointment booking app 2400 Low
3 nail appointment 2400 Low
4 appointment scheduling app 1900 Low
5 hair salon book online 1900 Low
6 free appointment booking app 1000 Low
7 nail salon online booking 1000 Low
8 book hair appointment online 1000 High
9 hair cut online booking 880 Low

Note: This information was extracted from SEMrush in Dec 2021.

What we learn:

  • We can define keywords with the biggest search volumes to find out about audience interest and trends.
  • We are able to explore the phrases and words that the target audience searches while looking for a beauty booking solution.
  • We know what words to utilize on our landing page, ads, and other marketing materials.

 

Landing pages: We are able to build landing pages for each target audience to gauge their interest and the product's market feasibility.

Firstly, we create a basic design with different copies for each persona, highlighting the value proposition. Then, we set up a CTA (subscribe to waitlist) for measuring user interest. Next, we establish a quantified validation goal to measure the test results, let’s say 100 subscriptions to your waiting list. Lastly, we drive visitors to the landing pages by using Facebook groups, Facebook ads, and Instagram ads. The campaign is expected to last about three weeks.

 

Survey and interviews: We can start to recruit users to understand their problems truly and want with the beauty marketplace by utilizing two main approaches:

  • Interviews: to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ habits, needs, and existing problems connected to the beauty marketplace.
  • Surveys: to understand their relationship with applications and learn about the online salon booking apps they use and the content they require for the online beauty booking app.

When it comes to recruiting users for interviews and surveys, we can use the waiting list of the Facebook groups, Facebook ads, and Instagram ads. One strategy to encourage people to engage is to provide them with discount vouchers.

What we learn:

  • During the interviews, we learn about the online beauty booking procedure. Specifically, they can offer perspectives on how beauty salons handle the requests, manage and remind bookings, what challenges they face, and what would make the workflow more efficient.
  • From the surveys, we can gain insight into what tools and communication channels our target customers prefer. We also discover their current attitude towards online beauty booking apps. This information will ease our marketing efforts because it helps us choose the benefits to promote and leverage the proper channels.

 

Step 4: Analyze and evaluate

To test the above assumptions, we:

  • Interview 5 potential users.
  • Have 30 survey participants.
  • Drive 1,000 visitors to the landing page.
  • Gain 100 people signed up on our waiting list.

If the example results show such numbers, it's pretty positive. You can get started on your idea to build an online beauty marketplace platform.

 

Read also:


Final thoughts

Validating an idea is one of the first real headaches any serious business tackles. There will be no one-size-fits-all process for every business. However, it's absolutely worth the time and money you invest into it. It enables businesses to gain a much higher chance of success for the final product, from identifying the market to understanding your users' pain points and their demands. As you sweep away unneeded components, the idea field gets cleaner, facilitating product feasibility and more efficient resource usage. Given the validation outcomes, you may create your MVP, build your full-fledged online marketplace and focus on the business viability.

If you've been considering pursuing your online marketplace ideas, it's time to get out there and validate them. We hope this sharing can help you start the validation process, eliminate chaos and keep things on track, eventually finding a product-market fit.

 

CTA Enlab Software

About the author

Hien Dang

As an extrovert person, I love creating new ventures and taking on challenges. Finding myself passionate about connecting people and businesses worldwide at the intersection of marketing and technology, I invest my time in upskilling, researching, and producing high-quality content in the tech industry.

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