August 17

A trip to the shopping mall for feedback

When I saw this week’s newsletter would be focused on product feedback, it reminded me of the time I once went to the shopping mall during work hours. No, I wasn’t trying to play hooky or do some daytime shopping. I actually went to the mall to get some customer feedback.


At the time, I was working at a wearables company and we were about to launch a brand new fitness tracker. We received two different samples from our manufacturer that were just slightly different from each other. We had to choose which of the two designs we would go into production with. But we had to make that decision that day.

Our target market for this fitness tracker was actually office workers. I went around to our own office asking for opinions because we were, after all, a part of our target market. But the reaction in our own office was pretty much split down the middle. 50% supporting one design – with the other 50% supporting the other. I was about to resort to a simple coin toss, but then I realized something. It was nearly lunchtime, and at the shopping mall downtown, it would soon be packed with suit-and-tie types grabbing a quick bite at the food court. So I grabbed both devices and headed to the shopping mall

I ended up having conversations with dozens of people in one lunch hour – getting great qualitative feedback about both of our designs. It’s feedback that I wouldn’t have otherwise had – and it led me to feeling a lot more confident about the design we ultimately chose.

Why am I sharing this story?

Sometimes, getting customer feedback can be done in obvious ways. But sometimes… it’s not so obvious. If you’re struggling with how to get direct feedback, imagine where your customers are… literally, right now. And go to them. You may be surprised just how quickly you can end up getting real, valuable feedback.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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