Every once in a while a new product is launched that reshapes several industries together, forever. Think, the smartphone. Landlines and letterboxes died with its coming. Think, cloud computing. CDs, floppy disks, cassettes and disk tapes faded away into oblivion. Several other technological products can also be added to this list.
All these technological innovations are success stories of product engineering.
Product engineering has always been the root from where new markets have emerged and old ones disintegrated into. The interesting trait about product engineering is that it doesn’t always stem from trends. If you are going to rely on sales numbers and market research about what customers want, you may not be able to create a champion product. Your product will be lost as one among the hundreds of other brand names with the identical product.
As Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said: faster horses.”
Product engineering helps create new and groundbreaking products that customers never knew they wanted in the first place.
Today, product engineering largely refers to software product engineering. The Internet has also played a major role in pushing product engineering to prominence. Gone are the days when customers asked a salesperson at a store to help them find a product. E-commerce, mobile apps, and the Internet at large are drawing them closer to products and services that they really need, without the need for assistance.
Software As A Product
Products have long transcended their role as tangible things. In today’s world, products are largely software or digital tools that are shaping new customer behaviors and are also influencing how businesses are done, in a significant way. Software product engineering is what enables businesses to create digital tools that help acquire more customers.
Now, the question that runs in the mind of every business owner is, ‘How can software product engineering be a customer acquisition magnet?’
A software product can turn around the fortunes of a business that is heavily reliant on manual processes. For instance, an e-commerce website helps a retailer sell more and withstand local competition. It also helps penetrate a global market at local prices. There are still more reasons why businesses should bank on software product engineering to acquire more customers.
We have outlined some of them below:
Customers have become digital natives
According to Statista, the world currently has a 62% Internet user penetration. With every passing year, more and more users will join the digital native population. A digital native can be described as an individual who was born and brought up in the age of digital technologies and who is well-versed in using such technologies.
As the population of digital technologies increase, businesses will be forced to rethink their digital business models to sustain and expand their market share. Software product engineering can help just that. It has the agility to shift according to dynamic customer preferences and create purpose-built products that customers would love. That is a shortcut to acquiring more customers quickly.
Computing power is easily accessible
A major force that is enabling software product engineering is the easy and affordable access to computing power. Commodity hardware and cloud hosting services have drastically lowered their prices in the recent years. The price fall is said to be in the range of 20-30%.
Now businesses can quickly upscale or downscale their service capacity in tune with customer demand. Service disruptions as a result of resource shortage is a thing of the past. This reliability and easy accessibility also attract customers in troves.
Mobile and web apps are everywhere
The Internet as a whole is made up of web and mobile applications which are literally free and available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Customers can seek information, request services and even personalize their choices with the help of mobile and web applications. These applications help customers take instant actions without having to wait.
Mobile and web applications purpose-built for specific customers are, in reality, results of software product engineering. Without software product engineering there is a probability of losing out on a sizable share of the market. With product engineered mobile apps and web apps, it is easy to access such a market.
New digital interaction models
Customers are increasingly expecting their service providers to interact through digital means. In fact, they want personalized services rendered through digital channels and on a real-time basis.
Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO, L’Oréal USA says, “Because of mobile, consumers now have a personal stylist, hairdresser, and makeup artist right at their fingertips, 24/7.”
Mobile apps and immersive realities create a digital experience that draws customers more than anything else. Businesses need to engineer software products that can easily engage with customers and help retain for a foreseeable future.
The Future of Product Engineering
Digital transformation has made product engineering a must-have strategy for businesses. Businesses have to rethink their product strategies to acquire digitally native customers. Businesses need to create cross-functional teams consisting of research specialists, product engineers, marketers and visionaries to create software products.
Companies do not always have to keep creating the same product that every other competitor is creating. It is necessary to innovate and come up with something inventive and innovative that can serve customer wants in a better way. That is where product engineering comes into play. If done right, it will bring customers to the product like bees to honey.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”