I’ve faced that chaos. It’s the chaos of features, ideas and dreams for novelty that often clouds your basic idea — the problem you’re solving. One of the ways through the chaos when planning to develop and launch a new product to sell online is to sit down and answer “how am I adding value to my consumer?”
It’s the chaos of features, ideas and dreams for novelty that often clouds your basic idea — the problem you’re solving.
My mission in this article is to effectively communicate to you that product development is much simpler than online experts might reveal to you. By way of example, we’ll be using Simple Modern’s vacuum insulated water bottles. This company seemingly came out of nowhere and has effectively disrupted an $8.1B industry. After analyzing their Amazon account with our in-house tools, we estimate Simple Modern is averaging annual sales well over 9 figures on Amazon alone. But how did Simple Modern disrupt? Well, it’s simple.
Did they invent a new technology that allows your water to stay colder longer?
Did they create a water bottle that makes your water taste better?
Did they create a water bottle that cleans itself?
Instead of focusing entirely on innovation and providing a product that the customer doesn’t even know they need, they adopted a product development strategy that can be summed up in three simple words. Imitate and Deviate. They chose to imitate what was already performing well, had quantifiable demand, and they deviated their product to appeal to the objections of a consumer that was left with minimal options in the space of reusable water bottles.
Instead of focusing entirely on innovation and providing a product that the customer doesn’t even know they need, they adopted a product development strategy that can be summed up in three simple words. Imitate and Deviate.
There is often an unspoken dichotomy between how teams think of product development. One, disrupt through novelty, or two, be the cheapest. Innovation for new companies can rarely be sustainable due to exorbitant costs on the product development end as well as costs to educate the consumer. Being the cheapest is rarely a good long term solution due to mass amounts of competition that could come in and undercut your sales at any point. It is always more advantageous and sustainable to market on proposition, not price.
Simple Modern didn’t enter the market being the cheapest, but they did understand that reusable water bottles were being purchased as a means to reflect what the consumer stood for. They deviated slightly from their competition by offering color, size, and straw variations that weren’t available from their competition. Educating the customer on their value proposition was simple —no pun intended. Much simpler than the pants that turn into a seat idea that was proposed to me a few years ago..
This isn’t an argument for flooding the market with useless commodities that contain tiny variations, but is instead a call towards adding value to segmented markets with clear demand and later using your influence and recognition in a particular category to expand your influence across other categories. By the way, Simple Modern is now disrupting in the backpack space.
So remember, when creating your next product, don’t be the failed business story that says “I was too early to market” or “I was undercut on price”. Create something with the consumer in mind and strive towards adding value to the live’s of the people who you intend to purchase your product. If you are uncompromising in your commitment to offer value and listen closely to your consumer then congratulations, you’re in the 1% of online suppliers.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates