There are five criteria in respect of which the likely acceptability of a new source of supply (or one perceived as such) in a specific market can be assessed. These are:
- The relative advantage that the product has over the product it replaces or those products with which it competes. Relative advantage is usually perceived by the customer as additional value – therefore, a product perceived to have a relative advantage is unlikely to require modification
- The product’s compatibility with existing values and behaviour patterns
- The complexity of the product, which could lead to the consumer experiencing difficulty in understanding the product’s purpose and/or how it works
- The extent to which the product may be used on a trial basis, e.g. the availability of samples or the extent to which the product may be purchased on a limited basis prior to the importer having to commit himself to large numbers
- The extent to which the advantages of accepting the new product can be observed by prospective buyers
A product which, when rated against each of the above criteria, does not score highly, is likely to require modification, as well as requiring greater emphasis on advertising and sales promotion in order to overcome consumer resistance. A product can frequently be modified physically to improve its relative advantage over competing products, to enhance its compatibility with cultural values and even to minimise its complexity. In addition, small sizes, samples, packaging, and product demonstrations can assist in overcoming resistance.