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Experiment First: Real Customer Feedback = $$ not words

October 29th, 2012


Founder Nick Swinmurn of Zappos started out with this hypothesis:

“Customers are ready and willing to buy shoes online.”

To test the hypothesis, this is what he did:

  1. Go into local shoe stores.
  2. Ask: “Is it OK if I take pictures of your inventory of shoes and post them online?”
  3. Make this promise: “If a customer buys a pair online, I will come back to the store and buy the shoes full price.”

The question he wanted to test for was: Is there already sufficient demand for a superior online shopping experience for shoes?
The answer he got from people buying the shoes he posted pictures of was: Yes

After that. He started setting up a team, buying inventory, finding investors and technology. All that stuff that some other people start doing before they know what the customers really need.

I will be running an experiment soon. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Inspiration for this blogpost was The Lean Startup a book by Eric Ries. We will go live about this book on the Bookcasting Podcast on wednesday. Click here to buy the book, and I will get a dollar.

Questions for you:

  1. Could you make an experiment?
  2. About what?
  3. Or could somebody you know make an experiment?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.




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  1. November 1st, 2012

    Yes I’m actually planning an experiment on :)

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