Market Assessment

The "What If" Service Concept Test, TTO, Bear, et al, 2004

    When the TTO team needed a research tool to help guide project design decisions on what business service ideas made commercial sense for spaza shop owners to improve and expand their small grocery stores, they adapted a standard consumer research tool, modified it for their use, and put it to the test. This SEEP Practitioner Learning Program Technical Note (#1) describes the resulting qualitative market research tool ¿ the ¿What If¿¿ Service Concept Test ¿ that TTO developed and used in focus group settings to assess interest and potential demand among owners of spaza shops (home-based convenience stores) in Cape Town for five business service ideas that could grow their businesses and improve the overall market share of spaza shops in the retail grocery and convenience store sector. The note discusses how TTO used the tool to assess interest and potential demand for one particular service idea (payment mechanisms) and provides tips to other practitioners on how to use the tool and how to analyze the information it yields.

    Summary of results
    The tool can assist BDS program managers, particularly those focused on microenterprises, to decide on the merits of investing in the development of a business service idea¿from concept to trial to commercialization. The tool performs two key functions: 1) yielding information on how prospective consumers of business services understand a business service idea and perceive the benefits in using the service, and 2) assessing the consumers¿ willingness to pay for the benefits.

    As with any tool, the ¿What If¿¿ Service Concept Test requires adaptation to fit each situation, and practitioners should expect to refine the process. Contact TTO to learn more about its experience in using the tool.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Programme Design
    »TTO in the Retail Sector, South Africa, 2005