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Despite the high competition overall industries, successful app development ideas can still transform the traditional market and pull your product ahead of the major business players. Not surprisingly, the mobile app market is growing rapidly. For comparison, global revenues in this direction are increasing every year. It is expected that this figure will rise to 935.2 billion US dollars in 2023.
Moreover, according to Statista, in 2021, 72.7% of people in the United States own at least one smartphone and use it at least once per month. So, many people can potentially use your mobile application or your competitors. Most companies are trying to create unique, innovative solutions that will help them maintain their current position and increase their market share in their industrial sector.
But here, the next important question is rising: how to validate an application idea and make sure it will be truly profitable?
In this article, we will give you the answers regarding app idea validation. You will learn what the process of testing your idea looks like to achieve the desired results. We are also going to tell you about our cases in creating successful mobile applications. This article is based on our seven-year experience in building mobile apps like Dollar Shave Club from scratch.
Why It’s Important to Validate App Idea?
You might ask why you need to run your app idea validation? It’s because having only the application concepts is not enough. It will help if you research to ensure your ideas are realistic, valid and will bring profits before you start production.
That’s because app development is quite costly, and spending a lot on an app similar to already existing ones can ruin your business. The Survey of CIOs by Kinvey defined that the average price of an app was 270,000 US dollars. But the development cost can depend on several factors:
- Team size
- Developers' salary levels
- Number of functions
- Time to market
That's another way of saying that idea validation for your app can potentially be a lifesaver for your business. It's not a step you can afford to neglect, particularly if you have limited financial resources on which to draw or you'd like your app to beat the market with its first release.
14 Steps for Your App Idea Validation
How to know if your app idea is good? Here we are going to discuss every step of the app idea validation process so that you can avoid all pitfalls and create the perfect mobile solution.
1. Find a Problem That is Worthy of Being Solved
If you are wondering at this point, "how can I create an app," often, the best way to validate an app idea is to scrutinize your problems and needs. Being your customer helps you identify the pain points that your app user is going to have.
Look at the apps created by companies like Airbnb, Uber, Groupon, or Facebook. What features do they have that customers love? You can apply those ideas to a different market or industry. You're trying to create a problem-solving app that is a combination of innovative and familiar.
Part of building a mobile app is to look at others in your niche and use them as a jumping-off point. Start by thinking about the most significant problem that your customer is trying to overcome, and then try to work out a proven app model that can solve it.
Tip: At this stage, you should attempt to answer the following questions:
- Would you use an app like the one you have in mind? Why or why not?
- If you wouldn’t want to use the app, what specific problems do you have with it?
- Do you use similar apps already?
- Will your app solve an old problem in a new way?
2. Find an Audience for Your App
At this point, you should try and pinpoint the target audience for your app. Who is your average customer going to be? "My app is for everyone" is not a valid response here.
Tip: At this step, you need to narrow your audience and target a specific group:
- Is your app intended for one gender more than the other?
- What is the approximate age group of your customers?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- What is the sort of marketing to which they respond best?
- What are their priorities, and what will they expect from an app within your niche?
3. Do Some Market Research
If you wish to create an app for business, you have to figure out how to appeal to your customers. Look for similar solutions that already exist in the market. Observe Android app ideas as well as those for iOS that already exist in the market.
Tip: At this stage, follow the next market research process that helps to validate your app idea:
- Start with a list of phrases and keywords that could describe your mobile app. Next, use search engines to see how popular those keywords are and make a leaderboard.
- Researching the Apple AppStore and Google Play will give you a list of potential competitors. These apps can make money, or else they would never have received a green light from the developers. Pay attention to the comments for these apps, as well as their ratings and update histories.
- Look at what technologies these apps are built and what structure they have.
- But also, don't forget to keep an eye on the software development industry trends like what web app development tech stack matters now, what most popular programming languages are, what server infrastructure to use. Your main competitors could have developed their solution a year or more ago. And your task is not simply to copy their tech stack but use new technologies in your platform, and you can easily beat them.
- Keep an eye on market technology trends too. For example, one set of technologies matters for e-commerce apps, while another for real estate. Research your business niche.
- Observe competitors' marketing strategies by studying the pictures and keywords they employ.
- Use tools such as AppAnnie and TopAppCharts.com. They're perfect for research and analysis, and they can also build your app marketing strategy.
- Look at what's getting funded. You're trying to figure out what the people and organizations who may end up backing your idea are interested in the most. VCs, accelerators, and other startup innovators often share thoughts on their websites and blogs about what business ventures they'd like to fund. The YCombinator Request for Startups page is a great place to look. You can also look at investor portfolio pages and notice parallels between the businesses these firms invest in.
- You're trying to figure out which niches are perceived as being on the rise and what business models seem likely to succeed.
- You will find interesting articles on the best features for healthcare app and how to develop a mobile healthcare application.
4. Clearly Define the App and Create Proto Personas and User Flows
After you research the market and your competitors and identify your target audience, the next step of app idea validation is to move ahead and define your vision for the app. A general direction and stated goal will keep you on the right track. That's a crucial part of the app development process.
You can create proto personas based on a series of assumptions backed up by data. This understanding of an ideal customer is needed if you want to validate your startup idea effectively.
The right proto-personas play an important role in defining whether your final product reaches the end-user for whom it is developed. Remember, though, that a proto persona is a live document. As you get to know your target audience better, you must update it.
Here is a quick explanation video on the differences between UX personas and proto-personas and how to build the last one for your project.
Tip: To create accurate proto personas, you must:
- Carefully review the information gathered about the goals and motivations of your customers.
- Break down that data and actively use it to know your ideal customer better.
- Take all the personal information you have and use it to determine what problem your app can solve.
5. Creating the Customer Journey Map
Validating an app idea is not just about understanding your customers. You also need to comprehend what their journey is going to be like within your app. Without this knowledge, you can never fully understand whether your startup idea will work.
Many entrepreneurs find that their businesses fail because they develop tunnel vision. It usually happens due to a lack of knowledge about your customer's journey. A user journey map is a record of user interaction with your product. This map chronicles the journey from the user or customer's point of view.
Examining your app's journey map helps you fully understand the user experience and how to set up your design process.
As you learn more about your target audience, don't forget to update your customer journey map.
Tip: Use some questions that you should be asking yourself at this stage:
- Why would potential customers choose to use my app over that of a competitor?
- Using my app, how long does it take for the user to solve their need?
- What features does the app need to have that will solve my users' problems?
All that helps show you how successful your startup is at solving the problem that customers have. It will also allow you to identify the app features that are most critical to develop during these first stages. For example, suppose you are going to develop a shop app. In that case, you need to consider features as attractive good cards, easy user navigation, and check out, among other important UX features for retail apps. But, of course, figure out all that from your audience's needs.
You will find interesting articles on real estate app development and property management mobile application development.
6. Set Validation Goals
As you go from app concept design to decisive action, you'll need evidence that your idea is viable in the real world.
Tip: Here, you should set clear and measurable goals, such as the following:
- Idea approval from 10 potential customers
- 5 successful pitches to investors
- 1 successful sale of a product concept
7. Develop USP of Your Future Product
USP is an abbreviation for a unique selling point: how your product differentiates from others in the market. That's a question that you'll need market research to answer. Make sure that you convey this question to your potential customers, and take note of their responses.
Tip: Here, answer what benefits a customer can get from using your product compared to ones that already exist?
8. Validate Your App Idea
Here is the step of app idea validation. You should now have a clear vision of your app business ideas and the technical skillset required to make them a reality. You should have some idea of their potential value on the market as well. However, you need to test the hypothesis behind your app idea. The collection of real user feedback is the validation you need before sinking your financial resources further into this venture.
Here are steps to building an app that should create excitement before the launch:
- Research what users think about a similar mobile solution and survey customers. Choose a relevant user group to provide feedback on your idea. The group that you choose should be reflective of your ideal customer. For example, if your audience is young generations, you can ask people for feedback on platforms like Reddit.
- Create prototypes or build MVP for your app for market validation. It's a stripped-down version of the app that tests how its basic functionality works for those inclined to use it.
- Build traction for the app by generating market interest. It can be done through introduction videos like the one made by Dropbox.
- If your business already has a website, you can also create a buzz by mentioning on your website that the app will be released soon.
- You can use social media accounts to make your customers aware of the launch date.
Create a pre-selling landing page that includes a short pitch of your app,
basic screenshots or mockups, and an email subscription form for potential
customers. You can add a "selling soon" feature to appear on your website.
It validates the need for your idea and engages a group of believers who
will help you launch the product. This form of promotion can be instrumental
in getting the first few sales. Watch a video on the main points of the
pre-sell page in the process of validating your idea.
- You can introduce your app on startup or investors' platforms.
- Prepare your product hunt campaign launch. Through it, you can get lots of feedback as your app gets closer to making its debut. The ShowHN area of HackerNews is a great place to post your app idea to start generating interest.
- Attend meetups and hackathons to promote your MVP or app idea. MeetUp.com is one place where you can find out about local tech events.
- Create beta and demo versions of the product. At this point, you're ready to get an early version of the app up and running. See if the functionality you were expecting works for the test subjects you bring in and ensure that you're getting honest feedback.
9. Use Wizard of Oz Testing
That is a market validation approach that simulates the behavior of a new product, device, or service. It gives the customer the impression of using a fully-functional application when it is still under development. Most of the operations can be done manually.
Often apps you can make money with employ Wizard of Oz testing. It allows companies to find out how customers might interact with a product or service which doesn't exist yet.
One example of this idea in action is Zappos. Nick Swinmurn created an online shop featuring a variety of different shoes.
Source: Wayback Machine
In reality, he didn't yet have any warehouses or merchandise. Instead, he took pictures of shoes at nearby stores and posted them on the internet. When orders started coming in, Nick bought them from local stores and mailed them out himself.
This strategy was aimed toward understanding whether customers were ready to buy shoes without trying them on. As you think about how to make your app, use this example for inspiration.
Read Also: How to conduct UAT testing
10. Processing the Feedback
In addition to app idea validation, you will now have collected a treasure trove of customer feedback on various key points. As you design your app, you must be sure to interpret the results correctly. What do your potential customers like, and what do they want to change? What's working well, and what specifically is so appealing about it?
11. Make App Development Decisions and Get Funding for Your Idea
Once your app development ideas have been validated, it's time to make some decisions. You can continue developing a specific startup idea. However, if that doesn't seem feasible, you might want to pivot away from your original concept. The rule here is that you need to make a logical assessment of the project based on the feedback that you have received.
Read also: Startup Pivot Process Step-by-step
There are several app ideas to make money that won't get anywhere without investors. Investment ideas might include Kickstarter, an accelerator or incubator program, angel funding, or VC funding. You may need to pitch an app idea to a group of potential investors, so be sure and practice before you attempt.
12. Start to Build Your App
How can you create an app? Well, now would be the time to engage an app development team if you don't have one on staff. They should focus on core features first. They'll need to choose a platform, define a tech stack, and create UX that is easy and intuitive for the user. They'll make mockups and then do the graphic design. It will be followed by making the landing page, building the finer points of the app with a language like Swift or XCode, and then launching the app in beta before the polished version hits the market.
There is no easy Android app maker, or one for iOS either, for that matter. The process is going to be meticulous if you want the finished product to satisfy your niche. There isn't a mobile application builder that is one-size-fits-all, which is why you must make sure that your team is experienced and dedicated.
You will find an interesting article on how much it costs to develop a mobile app with a feature breakdown and another one about app business plans.
Tip: Your team should only move forward at this stage if you truly feel that your app has been validated. There should be the customer journey at the front of their minds and what the result of that journey should be. In most cases, you are looking for a conversion. If the use of the app does not end with the customer buying something, then it should be considered a failure.
13. Work on Establishing Your Brand Identity
Once you've gone through MVP app development, it's time to focus on how to promote your app. How your company is perceived will go a long way toward determining your app's success or failure. Your visual identity says a lot about your business. The public should approve of the design elements that you employ. The functionality of your app will only matter if people think that it is visually appealing enough to interact with it.
14. Create a Sales and Marketing Plan
You can have the best business plan in the world, but without clients, it is doomed to fail. You must craft a strategy that is realistic based on all of the research that you have done. You should be prepared to show your plan to investors, partners, and any other interested parties that might be able to assist you financially. How to invest in apps is something that many financiers are wondering. You need to be able to swoop in and offer something to dazzle them.
At Softermii, we understand how to validate an app idea and create successful projects. Our team has deep expertise in a wide range of industries such as:
Below we will show you some of our case studies.
Real Estate Association
We developed an app for realtors, Real Estate Association, that provided real-time information regarding the properties available for purchase or rental. Further, we will tell you the details of this case.
The task (challenge)
The app's goal was to eliminate issues that negatively impacted the ability to finalize deals.
Our team has applied their experience in developing applications for real estate agents. We decided to use the following list of technologies to develop Real Estate Association:
And we created an app that streamlines the interaction between agents and their clients, increasing the number of successful transactions and customer satisfaction.
As our results, over 3,900 agencies are currently using the Real Estate Association to assist their staff and clients. This app helped:
- Increase productivity for real estate agents
- Bring the real estate market to a new level of efficiency
- Improve customer satisfaction
Besides, our specialists have added the next useful features to the application:
- Zones Monitoring
We created the audio and video chats app Parta for building communities. Here we will show you the key points of this project.
The task (challenge)
Our team had to develop an app that combines Twitch, Tiktok, Instagram, Clubhouse, and Zoom.
We wanted to build a social network that brings people together during the pandemic and recurring lockdowns. So our team decided to use this technology stack to develop a video conferencing solution:
We chose Mediasoup as a video broadcasting technology for Parta because it supports higher loads of users who use the application simultaneously.
We developed the MVP in three months, which helped us quickly launch the product to market. Our team got feedback from users and built a full app in a couple of months with much attention to UX design.
Such apps like Parta require a team of over 20 specialists, but we created it with five specialists: 2 Developers, 1 QA, 1 Business Analyst, 1 Designer, and 1 Project Manager. Our team kept a minimalistic yet easy-to-use design to make the user experience enjoyable.
Moreover, we managed to add features to Parta from various popular apps (Twitch, Tiktok, Instagram, Clubhouse, Zoom):
- AI-generated news feed
- Private rooms
- Video calls
- Room moderation
- Gifts & donates
Our development team created a Locum app for automating the recruiting process in the UK pharmaceutical market.
The task (challenge)
The app aimed to build a simple and convenient platform with private and big group networking.
We created an innovative app that solves the staffing problem in the pharmacy market through automation of the recruitment process. Locum app has two separate user flows in-app for pharmacists and pharmacies.
Locum app is an innovative recruitment platform for staffing for specific industry markets. This solution created the first online mobile community of pharmacists and pharmacies in the UK.
This app includes many features:
- Profile history updates
- Messaging platform integration
- Scheduling & booking of locum appointments
- Jobs sharing feature
- Search in-app along with filtering for fast and effective employees/employers finding
- And much more
As you see, we can create mobile apps for different industries. If you want to find out more about case studies, you can explore our portfolio.
Validate an App Idea and Create Your Mobile App With Softermii
Now, you should be ready to validate your app idea and build an ideal solution.
You're not just going to conceive of an innovative app idea. You'll test it to make sure that it will meet with approval in the marketplace. What you feel is a brilliant idea and strategy will only succeed if the public feels the same way. You can show them an idea, but the response is up to them. If you elect to ignore negative feedback, then your project will not have the outcome you desire. That's why app idea validation is a necessity rather than an additional option.
Otherwise, if you are unsure how to proceed with your app idea validation process, you can always request our free quote on your project from our business analysts. We have extensive expertise in mobile development for different markets (Real Estate, Healthcare, E-commerce, Fintech, and much more) and know what ideas work best for one or another segment.
Anyway, regardless of your decision, remember that app idea validation is a critical step for the success of your business and cannot be missed out on.
Contact us to validate your app idea and develop a successful solution for your business. We can also help you with app idea development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Creating a mobile app is a costly and time-consuming process. If you do not check the idea of the application at the very beginning of your project, you can create an unnecessary solution for the market. Moreover, it is also a waste of money and time. But you can avoid all of this if you dare to test your idea.
In this article, we have prepared a separate block for you with an answer to this question. Idea validation can consist of 14 big steps, each of which is needed to get successful results. You will face the steps from finding a problem worthy of being solved to creating a sales and marketing plan.
Each company has its own goals, requirements, and business needs. The cost may depend on several factors: team size, developers' salary levels, number of functions, and time to market. Therefore, the cost of creating a mobile application is different for each business, and on average, it can be approximately 270,000 US dollars.
Our team validates the idea of your application before starting to create a solution. Our developers have experience building projects in various fields: Real Estate, Healthcare, E-commerce, and Fintech. We have created many different mobile applications that you can find in our portfolio.
Is it worth building an MVP first before building a full version of the application?
You can save time and budget if you create an MVP first, a short version of your mobile app with basic functionality to test your idea. If you are satisfied with the results, you can create the full version of your project.
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