Did you know that, according to multiple studies, including Harvard Business Review, 80-90% of new product launches fail? There are various reasons behind this, but rushed and poorly thought through product development definitely has a big role to play. But what is product development, why is it useful and who is it for?
It is very common nowadays that people are searching for the best product out there no matter what we are talking about. When buying a phone, people consider the camera, screen resolution, storage capacity etc. Washing machines are expected to have an integrated dryer whilst also allowing a big wash load, they should be small and stylish all at the same time. Is this all achievable? That’s where product development comes into play.
What is product development?
Product development is a process during which a new product is created from an idea, or an existing product is changed or improved. You could address functionality, look and feel, materials, technologies etc.
The product development process itself is fairly consistent - it starts with an idea or concept and ends with a new product coming to the market. However, it also has some steps that should be customized based on what the product is if it is done well - that’s why we don’t have a generic product development process that we follow as a mantra at Raab, we like to adapt the process to the project at hand instead.
What can product development help with?
Product development is useful in a wide variety of situations, let’s have a closer look at some of them.
Idea for a brand new productDo you have a brilliant idea for a new product that the consumers are currently missing out on? Then you should start thinking about product development to turn the idea into reality.
Providing added value for a product already on the marketIf you noticed a product on the market that you think you could make more user-friendly or add value to then it is worth exploring. The important part is that the end user sees the added value as well, otherwise you might not get the results you want as the customer might not be willing to pay more for your product or switch from the current one.
Developing your own existing productIn order for your product to keep bringing in good sales figures, it needs to be developed. Consumer needs change with time and the products need to keep up with these changes or they won’t be as attractive anymore and sales figures will slowly decrease. What was a popular product 10 years ago might not fulfill customer wishes and needs in the current day.
Product simplificationPeople are looking for the best of the best normally, but it could also happen that a product is over-engineered trying to fulfill every customer need - even the ones that the end user might actually not see as critical. But a product that is too complicated and too expensive might not sell. Product development can also help simplify a product if this happens.
Reducing production costsYou have a product that the customers love but the production costs are high and the profit isn’t quite where it should be? In that case, it is time to have a look if small tweaks could help bring costs down without sacrificing the quality and features of the product - product development is perfect for this as well.
So who needs product development?
The answer is quite straightforward - every business that wants to create a new product or already has a product and wants to be successful in the long term.
The competition for every product is a lot higher nowadays than it was 10 years ago - people shop online and this means that businesses worldwide are now your direct competition. This means that there is no time to snooze, every moment someone might come out with a cheaper or improved version of your product. Technological advancements are also happening very quickly which means that you should start thinking about improvements to your product straight away - consumer needs and interests change constantly and therefore what is expected from a product is also changing, you just need to keep up with these changes.