Busting Product Myths: More Features is Better

Written by
Frederik Bussler
June 3, 2021

When it comes to product development, it's hard to know which features are worth having or not. It's especially difficult to figure out how many features a product should have. Many people believe that more features means more value for the customer, but often the opposite holds true. 

Here are three ways that adding more features can actually hurt your business.

1) More Features Costs More

Adding more features to your product is going to cost you more money. Each feature you add will require more time for design and development, and it will also require more time for marketing and selling. 

That means you'll have to charge customers a higher price for the product in order to make up the difference in costs. If you have too many features, you're going to end up pricing yourself out of the market.

2) More Features Are Harder to Use

The average person doesn't want a product that requires extensive knowledge of how it works before they can use it. They want something that they can use right away without any hassle or confusion. To the average person, a product with too many features just looks confusing and complicated. This makes them less likely to buy it, which just makes your business less profitable in the long run.

There are many products that are simply too complicated for the average person to use. For instance, many people often use up far too much time trying to figure out how to operate their printer or how to use their remote control properly. It’s pointless to add more features to these products because if they can barely be operated with the current features, adding more features would just make it worse.

3) New Features Can Alienate Customers

The moment a new feature is added to your product, it becomes scrutinized by your existing customers. They'll buy your product because they like the other features on it, but they won't buy it because of the one new feature that's been added. 

You may end up with a lot of older customers who don't even want your newer products. You'll need those older customers to keep buying from you if you're going to be successful in business, so don't do anything that will alienate them!

Building Simple Products

In the world of consumer electronics, it’s not uncommon for a product to have a dozen or more buttons, knobs, switches, and other controls on it. It’s also not unheard of for the instruction manual to weigh more than the product itself.

Bang & Olufsen makes simple speakers and other audio equipment, often with only one control: the volume. The company’s Vice President of Design says this: “Acoustics, beautiful design, superior craftsmanship—that is what we are here to create.” 

The company also avoids using confusing words, and sticks to product copy that describes the “music experience” instead of complex technical features.

Determining What Features to Include

AI can be used to determine what features to include in a product by mining customer reviews and billions of data points from existing products on the market. In particular, Commerce.AI's product data engine has crawled and analyzed virtually all high-quality unstructured product data on the Internet.

AI can also be used to collect honest, reliable customer feedback at scale, using the power of voice surveys, which are demonstrably more effective than traditional text-based surveys.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This statement rings true today as companies strive to make products as simple as possible and avoid over-complexity. Product teams can take a leap forward by involving AI in the product process.

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