But who is going to buy the product? People right? So although we are a product design company we have a lot of experience from idea right through to the finished item on the shelf. We are often involved in market research and target market research. We have also launched our own products such as this Eco product:
- Who is the customer ?
Its not really about “What is the product ” Its more important to work out “Who is the customer ” first. You cant please all the people all the time ! So we have to get specific about some things. Ideally a new product should be aimed to a definite niche. I always say:
“ If you can name a magazine that perfectly describes your target customer then you are half way there”.
If your product is a new yoga related it might be “Yoga Monthly”. Not only does this give you a place to research it is a good bench mark for whether your customers are congregating anywhere. Because of they are not, then how are you going to reach them ?
Also ask questions such as:
- What age are they? Try to narrow it as much as possible. Are they 22 to 32 years old?
- Are they mostly female or male?
- What are their interests do they have ? What are their likes and dislikes?
- Where to they live? Urban? Countryside?
- What other products or services do they like? Can you find common factors or a common style?
- What influencers do they follow? Instagram, Youtube, Facebook etc. Spend time looking into this to really get under the skin of your potential buyers.
- The Product:
What will your product offer them that is different ?
Does it solve a specific problem? Even if only a seemingly small one. It will still give you something to shout about.
Do you want it to have a eco angle? This is becoming more important in many markets. Is it reasonably viable? ( Realistically possible to design and not too expensive to manufacture) Design companies can often help you answer this usually for quite a low cost. Talk to us if you want help here.
- Keep it simple
if your product is overly complex are you truly in a position to be able to take it right through to market? Of course we are always able to simplify things for you in the design process but only up to a point. If your product has 50 parts that is a lot of work and can cause headaches in procurement and production. Could it be simplified to a “Minimum viable product” ? If it is a range of products perhaps you need to consider what is the core range to launch first?
- Don’t over design it your self.
Once you have the product idea your convinced is a winner, spend the larger part of your time on the customer research that will help to inform the design brief. Then allow the design professionals to do the design. This will get you the best leverage from your time and theirs. Product design companies will appreciate it if you are very clear what you want but are not coming with an actual design. They are the experts there. Or if you do its best to allow it to be just one of the ideas that will be put into the hat as the process evolves.
- The Business
If you are an existing business with a very clear idea of your market and margins then this might not matter as much but if you are a start up then it is really important to consider things like:
Is the market large enough? Have someone look at the number of Google searches for related terms in the geographic location your aiming at. Start by assume you might be able to capture 0.1% of them as customers. Work out what the average order value might be. ( A bit of guess work here perhaps). Where will you sell the product? What marketing channels will you use ?
Will the product have enough margin to make the business viable? For example if you have to spend £5 on advertising to get one customer and your product sells for £12 and costs £4 to make and £2 to ship. ( £12 £5-£4-£2….leaves £1 ! ). And that 1£ will be swallowed but unforeseen costs! It is amazing how much margin low ticket items need. If its £12 RRP you might need the manufacture cost to be £2 or £3. Unless you have a channel to market already. Larger ticket items are different and can have lower margins. If needed, we do our best to help our customers with all of this through the design process. We work with a target manufacture cost in mind form day one.
Sometimes one product is not enough to make a viable business. Especially if it is a low ticket item. So can there be a product road map? Once you have convinced someone to trust you and buy your product will be much easier to get them to trust you again and buy your second, third and forth products. It is also much easier and cheaper to market to them!
I am only touching lightly on this whole subject here of course. If you want expert help with marketing and product launch we can put you in touch with experts.
If you want help creating an amazing product then we are the experts that can help you do that. Formed in 2009, Design+Product has helped many customers successfully develop and launch products of all shapes and sizes.
See here for a few examples