The Alumni Magazine at Marriott School at Brigham Young University recently published an excellent article on how to improve adoption of new products based on new research into consumer behavior with new products. You can download the article here.

American overconfidence vanishes once consumers try a new product, and it’s replaced with exaggerated self-doubt.

In a study published in the February 2011 issue of Journal of Consumer Research, Billeter reports something that he suspected all along: American overconfidence vanishes once consumers try a new product, and it’s replaced with exaggerated self-doubt. “The bottom line is that before people try a new product, they think that it will be easier than it is,” Billeter explains. “And after they’ve tried it once, they think they’re going to be worse than they actually will be.”

So how do you keep users from abandoning your new product before they get the benefits?

Four strategies to help companies improve product adoption rates:

Billeter recommended four strategies to help companies improve product adoption rates:
1. Design products to feel familiar,
2. Hire a guide for your demo,
3. Take advantage of technology and timing, and
4. Buy time with bundled pricing incentives.

These might sound a little fluffy but read the details of their points – they have some very good ideas many companies could copy.

I love a good 60 second screencast on a product

Related to their points 2 and 3, I think software products and web tools should all have very well made screencast videos that act like guides to walk consumers through getting past initial setup and usage confusion to the wins.  Even relatively simple products can benefit from one.

Here are some of my favorite product screencasts:

http://culturedcode.com/things/iphone/ and click on the video or http://culturedcode.com/things/screencast.html
http://skitch.com/features and click on the “Skitch in 60 seconds” video
http://www.marketcircle.com/billings/iphone/# and click watch video in the centre right (small icon)

Enjoy!

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