Welcome to the first in a series of posts documenting our journey – be that failure or success, into our own App MVP development here at Appliquette. Through the series we’re going to talk about how to get started with an idea, understanding the problem space to better define your idea, performing concept validation, creating an MVP, highlight some of the tools we use, and talk about the Go To Market strategy, plus talk about anything interesting that might pop up along the way.
About us: We’re an award-winning team of app developers, designers, product managers and marketers with a passion for creating impactful digital products that help businesses thrive. If you’re stuck on any of the stages above with your work be sure to reach out to us and have a conversation. We mostly work on client projects but as always that itch to create your own thing never goes away so there are always plans and thoughts to build something ourselves. As a bit of a spoiler alert the product went live last week so you can check out version 1 before reading about it here.
Feedback Ledger is a tool aimed at helping Hospitality/Small business owners & managers better understand their customers and stop losing business by capturing meaningful feedback in an easy to understand dashboard.
Developing mobile or web apps is not a small task, and to fully fund and maintain a product it can quickly add up to quite a large budget spend so its often good to frame your mindset around launching a minimum viable product (MVP) first. Doing so lowers the initial risk and cost and allows you to get to market faster. In doing so you will also learn, validate and test the concept quickly.
As part of our internal MVP development journey we wanted to document the stages a little bit in a series of blog posts, there are two main reasons behind this:
Ok maybe three reasons.. Retrospectives are a healthy part of product development, by reflecting on the steps we have taken by blogging about them we can gain insights internally on what worked, what went wrong or what we could improve in the future. Thankfully for you all of our learnings can then be applied when we work on your projects 🙂
To begin with any product / app development you need an idea, but more than just an idea you really need a problem to solve, and even better than that, a problem to solve with a motivated audience ready to adopt the product (the holy grail).
It might sound obvious but having a real problem with a real audience is crucial. CB Insights identified that 42% of startups failed because there was no market need, that’s a big percentage of people spending a lot of time and money on a product without a market need. Sometimes we might be standing in the shower and then have that lightbulb moment which can be very exciting, but we have to always be mindful that if we’re tackling problems that are interesting to solve rather than those that fit a need in the market then we’re going to be doomed to fail.
Validating the market fit is a process and often the hardest step, perhaps because for many research and understanding the needs are not as sexy as problem solving and creating things, meaning it’s often overlooked or not performed in much detail.
There are a number of steps to think about to achieve this:
We’ll cover the points above through the series ahead.
Along with a number of flat launches and downright fails we’ve had some good success over the years with our own internal products, our ‘Shake it!’ platform went from a local marketplace app with 40 thousand users, shaking daily to win prizes, to the technology being adopted by Adelaide United Football Club, Adelaide Airport, and the Rundle Mall + Vogue Fashion Festival where we saw amazing results.
This was a concept that was well validated, solved a clear problem well and had a strong Go to market strategy that managed to capture some key venues, and at the end of the day provided good results (the product worked).
More recently, in 2020 we launched ‘YourLocal’ as a response to the COVID crisis. We saw a major opportunity to help Hospitality and Small business through one of the most uncertain and stressful periods the industry has ever faced, and continues to battle. Working alongside local food legends Nugg Lyf we developed YourLocal, a Food Delivery platform that could provide customer ordering via an app and fee free delivery to hospitality businesses. As a result we saw 20,000 local downloads in a few weeks, hit trending status on both app stores and Landed news and media stories with the Advertiser and Channel 7.
We ran this for 2 months with amazing success, to the point where it was clear that to continue further we would really need to scale the business development side of this properly rather than it being pretty adhoc at the time. We realised we’re probably not in a position resource wise to tackle this huge project and made the call to wind it down.
This was a really interesting app development experiment for us, it was clear from a technology and development point of we were able to respond fast and get this thing up off the ground, and put together a decent marketing strategy that saw a lot of downloads, but there are a lot of elements that go into scaling an app or product that we weren’t in a position for due to the speed to move. Importantly one of them being ‘Understanding if these users would pay for the product’, not that this was really an objective at the time but it’s an important consideration for all commercial projects and something we had left in the background.
It seems like our products have always been leaning into the hospitality category, partly because Josh from our team has a long family background in hospitality, and also because over the past 2 years we’ve been playing in that space from a business point of view.
Josh (Appliquette, Product Manager, Aka the Nugg Lord) with support from Andrew (Director, Appliquette) have managed to grow hospitality business Nugg Lyf ‘home of Adelaide’s realest Nuggs’, from a random concept thrown out by Josh on a phone call, to a tiny virtual kitchen selling on UberEats, to now 4 storefronts across Adelaide employing 28 people and slinging nuggs to the masses, created all alongside the development work we do here at Appliquette…
..yes we love coffee
We never sleep it seems, but it has opened some interesting doors to explore for us in terms of Food and Tech and shown us how there’s a huge opportunity for complimentary apps and products to work in this space.
With this background in mind, here comes a problem to solve:
What do hospitality customers actually think? Can we get a real-time heartbeat of customer feedback?
If we can get this information, our assumption is we can use it to help increase revenue. Repeat customers not only mean more money spent, but also a solid foundation for the continual growth of the business.
So we start with a hypothesis:
We believe that by better understanding the customers
For hospitality business owners
We can Improve customer loyalty by taking meaningful action on their feedback
So that we can increase business revenue without spending more money on sales or marketing
Now we have a hypothesis for our app MVP, next we need to work on validating that, and to help us to do that we need to do some discovery work…
We’ll take a look at understanding the problem space more in the next article, and so the journey begins!
Appliquette is an award-winning team of app developers, designers, product managers and marketers with over 10 years’ experience creating impactful digital products that help businesses thrive.
Chat to us now to kick start your project!