The product creation process frequently has a mystical vibe for most expert business owners and startup entrepreneurs.
When you hear the origin tales of other outstanding eCommerce businesses, it’s evident that the path to a final product is rarely a straight line. Tina Roth-Eisenberg, for example, created Tattly when her daughter brought home semi-permanent tattoos she thought were lacking in her home.
In contrast, David Barnett had to educate himself about using 3D design software in order to develop PopSockets, the now well-known phone accessory.
These success stories do not give an end-to-end product development plan on their own, but the similar characteristics they share highlight some of the stages founders routinely take on the path to beginning a firm and selling a final product.
Many things are required for effective product creation, including a compelling product vision, market research, product management, and then testing your idea, to mention a few.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to learn about the product development process and tips to help you optimize the process and bring your idea to reality!
How to Discover and Source a Successful Selling Product
We are going to lead you through how to uncover product ideas, validate them, and market the product once you’ve decided on one.
One thing that is very vital in developing a product is the company vision. This will inform the product vision clearly outlined in a product vision statement. The statement generally communicates concisely what the product hopes to do and what the product hopes to achieve long term.
This will guide all the stakeholders involved in developing a product, such as the project managers, the target audience, the product strategy, and so on. The company vision is what informs the business goals, which is why a compelling vision is the first thing to be addressed if you are going to develop a product.
The product vision can be clearly spelled out on the product vision board and kept where everyone can see it. This will help to keep the team’s eyes on the goal.
What exactly is product development?
Product development encompasses the entire process of bringing a product to the market. It also includes the renewal of an already existing product and the introduction of an old product into a new market. Identifying market needs, envisioning the product, developing the roadmap for the product, launching that product, and getting feedback are all part of this process.
New product development (NPD) is an essential component of product design. The procedure does not conclude until the product’s life cycle is completed. You can keep collecting customer input and iterating on new versions by improving or including new features.
Procedure for product development
There is no single position responsible for product development. Product development unifies every department of any organization, whether it is a startup or a large corporation, including design, product marketing, engineering, manufacturing, UI/UX, and others.
Each group is critical to the process of defining, designing, building, testing, and delivering the product. The intricacies of the process of product development process make product management all the more vital in this article.
7-step Procedure for Developing New Products
The process of introducing an original product concept to the market is known as new product development (NPD). The software and Agile development principles can also tremendously assist NPD.
Even though the product development process varies by industry, it may be divided into 7 stages: ideation/generating ideas, research, planning, prototype, sourcing, commercialization, and costing.
Use the development architecture outlined below to bring your creative product idea to market.
1. Generating Ideas
Many budding entrepreneurs become stuck at the first stage, which is ideation. This is frequently due to them hoping for a work of genius to uncover the right thing to market. While creating something genuinely “new” might be creatively gratifying, many of the greatest ideas come from iterating on an existing product.
By asking questions regarding existing products, the SCAMPER model can help you come up with new product ideas quickly. Each letter represents a prompt:
- Product use in a different way
- Reverse/Rearrange (for example, a duffle bag that will not wrinkle your suits)
Consider these prompts to generate fresh methods to alter current ideas or adjust them for a different target audience or challenge. Insights obtained from the business analysis could also be used to understand market opportunities better.
If you’re still seeking that aha moment, we’ve compiled a list of resources for developing your own product ideas, ranging from analyzing online markets and descriptions of products for inspiration to rewriting past trends.
2. Market Analysis
With the product idea already in mind, you might well be tempted to rush into production, but this can be a mistake if you neglect to validate the idea first.
Product validation assures that you are developing a product that people are willing to pay for and you’re not wasting time, money, as well as effort on an idea that will not sell. You can validate the product ideas in a variety of ways, including:
- Sharing your concept with the target audience via internet forums, for example.
- Distributing a survey online to gather comments.
- Launching a crowdsourcing campaign.
- Test marketing entails releasing your concept to a sample target market group to gather early feedback.
- Use Google Trends to investigate market demand.
- Creating a roadmap for a product launch to measure interest through email subscriptions or pre-orders.
- Requesting preliminary feedback on forums such as Reddit.
Whatever method you choose to validate your idea, it is critical to obtain input from a large and objective audience on whether they’ll purchase your product. Be mindful of overvaluing the feedback from users who “certainly would buy” if you created your hypothetical product—you can’t count anyone as a customer until money passes hands. Asking family and friends for guidance (unless they already have prior expertise) is also something to avoid.
You may also want to do a feasibility analysis or assessment to see whether or not your proposed project is worth investing in.
Product validation makes sure that you are developing a product that customers will pay for.
Competitive analysis is an unavoidable component of validation research. If your idea or specialty has the opportunity to benefit market share, then there already are likely rivals in that field.
Visit your competitors’ websites and register for their email lists to see how they draw clients and make purchases. In order to define your own competitive edge, you should ask your current potential clients what they like and dislike about your competition.
Before you begin planning, the information gathered through market research and product validation will allow you to measure the demand for the product and the competition level. Don’t overlook research as an important aspect of product creation!
It’s important to do extensive planning before constructing a prototype because product development can quickly become complex. Having a well-defined product roadmap is usually helpful at this stage.
It’s easy to become lost in the manufacturing and sourcing processes if you don’t have a clear idea of your product’s design and function before you start talking to manufacturers or looking for materials.
A hand-drawn sketch of the finished product is an excellent planning starting point. The sketch needs to be as thorough as possible, with labels outlining the various features and functions.
Design Documents for Products
Designs for a Bluetooth speaker were included in Hidden Radio’s successful Crowdfunding campaign.
Since you are not yet submitting the drawing to a manufacturer, a professional-grade drawing is not required. You may easily find illustrators for hire on sites like Dribbble, UpWork, and Minty if you are doubtful of your abilities to draw a diagram that makes sense for your product.
See if you can use the diagram to figure out all the things you’ll need to build the product. The list doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but it should help you start thinking about what materials you’ll need to manufacture the product.
For instance, the following points might be included with an image depicting a new handbag style:
- Zippers, both large and small;
- The closures are made of silver;
- Nylon webbing; Leather webbing;
- Sleeve for defense;
- Label with embossing
- Pocketbook inside the cloth
The product’s pricing and category need to be considered with its components. Can it be used frequently, or is it more for special events? Can we expect it to make use of high-end, sustainable materials? In the planning stage, you should think about these issues since the answers to them will shape how you go about creating your product, how you position your brand, and how you approach marketing.
Packaging, labeling, and general product quality should be checked before going on to the sourcing and pricing phases. These aspects of your product’s appeal to your target consumer should be considered at the planning stage. Once again, having a product roadmap can help you stay on track to meet your goal of launching your product to the public.
The purpose of the prototype stage in product development is to create a finished product that can be used as a sample for mass production.
Prototyping usually requires experimenting with numerous iterations of your product, eliminating options, and making tweaks until you are satisfied with a final example, as it is uncommon to get at the final result in a single attempt. The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) concept is a great one to adhere to.
Morrama developed multiple prototypes of the Angle razor
Further, prototyping differs greatly depending on the type of product being created. In the simplest and least expensive cases, you’ll want to stick to products you can easily prototype.
This includes things like culinary recipes and certain types of cosmetics. DIY prototyping can also be used in other industries, such as fashion, ceramics, and design if you happen to have experience or education in those areas.
However, it is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to work with outside parties to develop a product prototype. It is common practice in the fashion and apparel industry to employ the services of a local seamstress (for garments and accessories), cobbler (for footwear), or pattern maker (for clothing). If you do a search on Google for “local services in the field,” you might be able to locate such providers.
Most city centers have art, design, and fashion schools where students can learn these methods. Most program managers at universities and colleges will have an internal job board where you can seek prototyping help.
Toys, home decor, electronics, and many other items with solid surfaces may benefit from having a 3D rendering created before they are put through the prototype stage. UpWork and Freelancer are great places to find CAD-savvy artists and engineers to hire for this kind of work. Entrepreneurs interested in learning how to design their own 3D models can use accessible online programs like SketchUp, Tinkercad, and Vectary.
In the past, making a physical replica of a 3D design required separate molds for each part. Setup costs for items like tools and dies needed to cut and shape plastic and other hard materials are common when using molds.
The advent of 3D printing has made it possible to quickly and cheaply turn drawings into physical examples.
The Barware prototype was made by Wintersmiths’s creator Chris Little with the help of 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing service. Little says that he only needed a few days and small money to do the task. After using the service to prototype a knife at the cost of around $30 per 3D-printed model, Alex Commons of Bulat Kitchen highly recommends the 3D printing service Hubs.
At this stage, it is time to start testing a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP is your product’s version with just enough features to attract early adopters. The product development process might begin with the early validation of concepts. It also helps facilitate the delivery of client feedback to product managers, which aids in the development of incremental improvements to the product.
In order to gauge interest, determine how customers react to various pricing and advertising strategies, and so on, startups provide their “minimum viable product” to potential customers in the form of limited trials. It starts the feedback process, offering suggestions based on customer needs. As a result, improvements can be made to the product, and something of greater value can be made for the intended audience.
Procuring materials and securing reliable partners for production can begin once you have a working prototype of your product. Building your supply chain entails identifying and securing all of the suppliers, production steps, and distribution channels necessary to create and ship a product to a customer. At this point, managing a project is more important than ever.
Manufacturer/supplier discovery will be the primary focus of this phase, but logistics like warehousing, transport, and storage will also be important to think about.
A prominent theme of Phil Knight’s autobiography, Shoe Dog, is the importance of a diversified supply chain. The best way to save money is to shop around, so it’s important to identify multiple suppliers and potential manufacturers for the supplies you’ll need.
It also provides a fallback plan in case one of your manufacturers or suppliers lets you down. To safeguard your company’s continued success over time, gathering as many options as possible is important.
Every iteration of a product takes a somewhat different route to completion.
There are a lot of places to go, both online and offline, to find providers. Despite their seeming antiquity, trade shows focused on sourcing continue to be popular among business owners.
Trade shows and exhibitions, such as Magic in Las Vegas, provide an excellent opportunity to network with hundreds of suppliers in one place, to examine products up close and in detail, and to strike up personal relationships with sellers that can prove useful when negotiating over prices.
You’ll need to decide on where your product will be made throughout the sourcing process. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, so it’s smart to compare them.
One option is to make purchases on Alibaba, currently the most widely used online marketplace for purchasing foreign-made goods. You can find finished or raw materials for sale on Alibaba, a marketplace for Chinese sellers and factories.
Searching for listings of similar products and then contacting the factory to see if it can build your identical design is a frequent strategy for finding a manufacturer on Alibaba.
When you are finished with your product’s research, planning, prototyping, and sourcing, you will have a better idea of how much it will cost to manufacture. The cost of goods sold (COGS) must be determined before a retail price, and gross margin can be set. This is accomplished during the costing phase of business analysis.
Make a spreadsheet with a separate line for each new cost you incur. All materials, factory setup, production, and shipping should be covered by this amount. Shipping costs, import taxes, and customs fees can significantly affect the cost of goods sold (COGS) regardless of where the product is made.
If you successfully acquired multiple quotes during the sourcing phase for different materials or manufacturers, you may want to include columns that compare the costs of each line item. One alternate solution is creating a second spreadsheet to evaluate how domestic output compares to other countries.
Your anticipated gross margin, or profit per unit sold, can be calculated once you know your total cost of goods sold and have settled on a pricing plan for your product.
You now have a product that can compete successfully on a worldwide scale. The final step is releasing your product to consumers. The marketing department will now report directly to the product development team as they assume charge of the product launch.
If you can’t afford pricey ads, don’t fret. If you use the following tactics, you can still have a successful go-to-market strategy:
- Promoting a new product by emailing your subscription list.
- Affiliate marketing that makes use of influential people.
- Get Your Products Into Holiday Gift Guides
- Allow purchases on Instagram
- Conduct Chat Marketing campaigns
- Solicit opinions from early buyers.
The quality of your product vision, your ability to make decisions, and how well you manage the process will very likely be the best measures of your success. Your business strategy and process management are also crucial, but there will be so many other factors at play like we’ve discussed in this article.