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Shop News
28 Aug 2007

Product development for free: online shoppers give advice on improvement

One in seven Internet users contributes product suggestions

Women engage more frequently than men in product development

Companies take inspiration from customers
Internet customer forums are gaining in popularity fast as a consequence of Web 2.0. A total of 75 per cent of Internet users read the recommendations of other shoppers regularly. Furthermore, more and more online buyers are forwarding their feedback directly to retailers and providers. Almost 15 per cent of online customers write suggestions for improvement, which means they engage actively in the design and ongoing development of products and services. For retailers and providers this willingness to provide information represents an ideal opportunity to turn consumers into loyal customers by letting them get personally involved. These are the findings of a trend survey entitled "Networked customers - how Web 2.0 is changing online shopping" conducted by novomind AG in conjunction with and
Women prefer to direct their feedback to retailers and manufacturers
Women especially get actively involved in product development by providing feedback. One in five female customers asked writes at least occasionally to retailers or manufacturers to tell them what she particularly liked or disliked about a product she has bought. Men, on the other hand, direct their feedback more towards customer forums in order to alert other shoppers about product defects or to recommend products.
Great potential for product development
It is still only a minority of online shoppers who send their product feedback directly to the provider. 64.3 per cent of respondents have not yet done so. However, 36.1 per cent can envisage forwarding suggestions for improvement at some point in the future. To benefit from this, companies will have to minimise the technical obstacles standing in the way of suggestions and an increasing number of online shopkeepers have recognised this potential. They are making it easier for their customers to give feedback. For instance, they are setting up virtual advisors, contact forms and chat rooms with service staff. On some platforms, users can even get directly involved in the products themselves. Using special software tools they can select the design and colour of their choice and create their own customised products. This means online shops and manufacturers are placing the development of the product more and more into the hands-or mouse-clicks-of their online customers. In doing so they are breaking down barriers to shoppers, avoiding planning errors, and saving money otherwise spent on expensive market research.
Background information
The report series from the trend survey entitled "Networked customers - how Web 2.0 is changing online shopping" presents the results of an online survey conducted on behalf of novomind AG in conjunction with and This survey investigated the current trends in Web 2.0 applications and how customers make use of them. The survey was conducted between 30 January and 28 February 2007. A total of 374 end-consumers took part.
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communications
novomind is a software developer in Hamburg and the fastest-growing company in the field of electronic customer communications and mail management. As the leading provider of innovative solutions for digital customer communications, novomind AG provides software for service-oriented and personalised customer dealings. The software not only optimises efficiency in customer administration significantly, it also gives the user a faster return on investment. The portfolio of the Products division includes the novomind Self-Service Suite. The software package contains all the communication modules necessary for a customer service centre on a central knowledge basis: e-mail management, virtual customer consulting and systems for interactive, real-time communication. The novomind AG Services division implements complex e-business applications. More than 40 major companies have already decided in favour of novomind technology, among them Citibank, Otto, Yello Strom and the German pension institution Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund. Club Bertelsmann, EnBW and Mexx as well as public-sector users, such as the German Bundestag (parliament) and the German Department of Trade and Industry, have already successfully introduced novomind systems to optimise their customer communications, turnover and PR.