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How “idea dropshipping” can help you test new concepts—and save hundreds of hours

So you’ve come up with a new idea, and you’ve been hard at work in the lab.

You’re enduring long nights and fast food dinners to build the perfect product so you can launch it into the world…

… But what if you could skip all that?

Because here’s the thing: you can often gauge customers’ interest in an idea without doing much work on the backend.

Here are a few examples:

  • The CarsDirect facade. Bill Gross founded CarsDirect in 1998. Back then, a website for buying used cars was a hot new idea, but Bill had a problem. He didn’t have inventory. So he faked one. When a customer placed an order for a car, Bill went to the retailer, bought the car himself, and sent it to the customer.
  • The IBM “speech-to-text” feature. Back in the ‘90s, IBM wanted to test a speech-to-text product. So they recruited a few users, gave them microphones, and showed their words appearing on screen. Here’s the plot twist… IBM had actually hired human typists to transcribe what the users were saying.
  • The Dropbox demo. The earliest demo video of Dropbox showcased the product and drove tens of thousands of signups. Only thing was, the video was likely faked. It didn’t show actual, up-to-date product functionality. But it did its job, which proved to Dropbox founder Drew Houston that people wanted his product.

The common thread? All of these examples involve “faking” the front-end portion of a product’s functionality to gauge interest. Your biggest risk is creating a product that nobody wants. This system lets you test ideas safely.

How you can apply this to e-commerce: When you’ve got a new product idea, don’t build it. Instead, create a pre-order or an out-of-stock product listing to gauge interest.

Then build the product once you know people want it.

Time and sanity… saved.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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