International market research for a development project in the area of elevator, conveyor, and storage technology

International market research for a development project in the area of elevator, conveyor, and storage technology
For successful clients and market-oriented development of new products or systems it makes sense to integrate market research already in the pre-development phase. Schlegel and Partners often plays an important role here, especially in international market research requiring prompt execution for technically demanding and complex products and systems, as the following case of one of our clients shows.
Our client is a leading company in an oligopolistic market for logistics systems for high-rise buildings, including the world’s highest building. Since the innovation project is a completely new system, it was important for our client to learn more about potential customer acceptance and about parameters for further development work through market research. Information was gathered about dimensions, energy consumption, safety, comfort, noise, maintenance requirements, design, and, of course, cost compared to existing systems.

Expert face-to-face interviews in the United States, in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe with architects, builders, and planners were chosen as adequate methods; these target groups can make decisions regarding the use of a new system and are able to contribute input for the development work from their wealth of experience.

The following issues were addressed in high-level technical discussions conducted in different languages and based on a semi-structured guide:
  • Existing, yet not sufficiently resolved questions concerning technology and comfort in the use of said systems.
  • Brief introduction of the new system, without going into too much technical detail for patent law reasons.
  • Main criteria for product selection; concerning system competition as well as choice of the supplier.
  • Discussion of potential strengths, weaknesses, and other requirements for a new system.
  • Willingness to test the new system with the provider.
  • Assessment of our client’s competitive positioning.
  • Possible marketing effects for suppliers and users.

The survey was a two-step process. After the first phase of approximately fifteen expert interviews, the questionnaire was adapted to the findings after a workshop with our client. Further hypotheses were then integrated, which were discussed with the next interviewees in the second phase.

As a result of market research we were able to provide our client with essential input for the development of the new system. We were able to confirm some assumptions, but also to reject others and introduce completely new aspects for the development scheme. The findings covered both the technical development of the system and the market entry theme – possible drivers and barriers.