Product development is a crucial stage that many companies have to go through, frequently time and time again, and with it comes development of manufacturing techniques. Firms have to make it right first time or they will have to Buying a cafe in Melbourne face increased costs, lost sales, lost time, and lost share of the market. The outcome of this process can actually bring huge success or failure to a company.
But why is there a need to go through the product development stage? Is it a one time process that a company should undergo, and once developed surely a product is just that: a product? In fact, any business that does not invest in improving its products will find itself in serious trouble and lagging behind its competitors.
Nothing stands still, and this is particularly true of the needs of the public. What was cutting edge yesterday is a standard product today and will be obsolete tomorrow. In fact many businesses design obsolescence in their products as part of their product development. What future is there for a business that makes products that last forever? However, that aside, constant development is important because you cannot launch new products unless you develop them, and if you don’t launch new products, your company will die.
What should be done to develop a product? First, you can make goods that will generate a new market, or what people call a niche. You can introduce something new that will cater to a specific group. This can be quite a risk, because if your target market sees your product as a waste of money, you will incur big losses. But if the consumers support your new product and render it commercially viable then you will make big profits.
Another strategy you can consider is to add products to the existing line. This can mean new flavors, new colors, and new sizes, depending on the current products that you are offering to the market. This will encourage present buyers to patronize your new products, and it will expand your existing market to bring in more sales.
Product improvement is also part of product development. Once a product has been launched, its development can continue with improvements in cost, aesthetics and performance. With the increasing competition nowadays, there will always be something better in the market, or worse, something similar to your current products or services. A cheaper way to develop products is to improve the current ones so that they can stand out among your competitors. Continuous improvement of a product must be done so that you can constantly satisfy your customers. Through intensive marketing strategies, improved products can kick-off well in the market.
And lastly, if your current products are known for a particular use but they can actually do other things that can benefit other consumers then you should try to reposition them. For example, you have a food product that is popular for its delicious taste, but it also has health benefits which are not known to all. In this case, you can market the health benefits of the food instead of its taste alone. This can lead to an expansion of your target market, since the product will be repositioned to appeal to those who love food as well as health conscious people.
A company can choose one or a combination of these product development strategies. Just remember the main objectives of your product development process:
1. To be prominent compared to your competitors.
2. To continuously satisfy customers.
3. To expand your current market.
1+2+3=Growth! Growth through an increased market base, increased sales and increased profit. The full term is R&D: Research and Development. You research the market and also your competitors’ products. You use the results of that research to develop products that meets the market demand, and beats anything your competition has to offer.
Your competitors then do the same thing, and you then have to follow – ad infinitum.
However, it is not only product development that is important in a business but development of everything else that makes a business special. You should develop your sales techniques, your marketing strategies, your manufacturing processes and your office procedures. Products, processes, procedures, strategies and techniques, all of these can be researched and developed until they are all cutting edge.
You should do all that you can to make sure that your products are what your customers want and will continue to be so well into the future. That involves long-sighted product development strategies that will keep your business in the forefront of its field, and always one step ahead of the competition.
Don’t be a ‘me too’ company, but a ‘cutting edge’ company through well thought out and planned product development strategies.