Tinder for technology – the product shootout

A business insider view on the business benefits of the product shootout.

Tinder for technology – the product shootout

A business insider view on the business benefits of the product shootout

As business people, marketers and salespeople most of us will recognise the need to always find new ways to provide great customer service.

We live in a world in which the choice, complexity and specialisation of almost every product has increased.  Simultaneously new online and mobile retail channels have changed the way consumers research products, and make decisions and transactions.

The challenge for businesses in this context is to make sure that time-poor consumers are receiving the same levels of customer service and satisfaction as they would in a traditional store.

At Epson, we are using product shootouts (like this one) more-and-more often to help customers find the best solution for them. Here are some of the reasons why I think it is such an effective tool for businesses of all sizes:

  1. Comparisons make decisions easier

Behavioural economist Dan Ariely brilliantly illustrates in the book ‘Predictable Irrationality’ (and this TED talk) that humans are not as well equipped to make complex decisions as we might like to believe.

For example, without any prior expertise, choosing which model of projector to buy for your business could be a difficult and stressful decision.  The range of available options, price-points, features and performance statistics can often serve to confuse rather than clarify the choice.

Product shootouts have the benefit of presenting would-be customers with a direct choice between a refined set of options, hugely reducing the complexity of the decision.

  1. Demonstrable differentiators

A tried and tested maxim for storytellers the world over (including salespeople) is to show-not-tell your audience a subject.

For example, to the uninitiated, no amount of product packaging, online editorial or in-store promotion of the benefits of projectors offering the technical sounding ‘CLO’ or ‘Colour Light Output’ will ever be as decisive as comparing for oneself the image quality and colour brightness produced by projectors with this feature, versus those without.

  1. Expert and peer reviews

Product shootouts also have a scientific element to them.  To be effective and credible they must conform to standards established by an independent third party.

Once established as an un-biased experiment, they provide a fantastic platform around which to gather testimonials from experts and professional peers of your target buyer.  For example a small business owner, teacher or medical professional defining the features of a projector that make it the best choice for them will resonate with others in their profession which much greater impact than the opinion of a generalist technology reviewer.

  1. Cost effective and scalable promotion

Product shootouts are a comparatively low-tech and inexpensive marketing tool, but are nonetheless highly effective.  Their simplicity means that they can easily be recreated in-store or at trade shows for example.  Alongside peer and expert testimonials they can also be recorded and easily disseminated via social and digital media platforms as promotional video content to maximise their reach, benefits and effectiveness.

In short, the product shootout is very well adapted to the needs and mobile lifestyle of the modern consumer.  Much like famed speed-dating apps like tinder are reported to have moved from niche to ubiquitous, product shootouts are on the up. Both have enabled time-poor consumers to quickly and easily get an impression of what product they would be most suitable for them, while on the move.

And given the findings from Epson’s most recent ‘State of European Retailing’ research that 54% of European consumers now conduct their retail research online, the product shootout is an important tool to help your business to demonstrate the value of your product.

Read more about Epson’s retail solutions at: www.epson.co.uk/retail