A Mini Market Research Experiment

They are called puzzles. But in Q4 they were my market research experiment.

The idea came from my brother: Offer a limited number of prints of one image and then tell your audience that the first one to sell out, you will use that image to do something bigger.

My nieces were clamoring for puzzles to be in my store. The profit margins I could get on just a few puzzles are horrible without me having to have everyone pay $25 to $30 per puzzle. I knew the market couldn’t support such an expensive puzzle.

I lowered my profit margins as low as I could and offered a limited number (5) of signed and numbered puzzles.

I offered 3 images as puzzles: “In a Fair Boat”, “Catch”, and “Up a Tree”.

In a Fair Boat




My hypothesis was that “In a Fair Boat” would win. From the first order, however, the image I wouldn’t have picked at all, blew “in a Fair Boat” out of the water.

For a while “Catch” and “Up a Tree” were neck and neck. Then in one fail swoop, my sister-in-law broke the tie when she bought '“Up a Tree”

I’m really glad that I did this mini market research experiment. I would have ordered a bulk order of “In a Fair Boat” and I would have wasted my money. I still have 4 of the 5 of that puzzle and I would have had all 5 of them if one of my customers hadn’t said “Surprise Me” when they ordered a puzzle.

Next year, I think I will do it again. But this time, I’m only going to order 3 puzzles of each image. I’d rather run out of puzzles than have to hang onto inventory. Besides, then I can really sell out. Maybe I’ll have more images next year to choose from and just maybe, there will be more than one that lots of people buy and I’ll have a hot race on my hands.

Leave a comment