Anyone doing a business must be familiar with the concept of product development. Whether you are starting a business, penetrating a new target market, or expanding it to new regions, you need to create a product development plan.
Product development is not only done when a company launches its first product. It sometimes needs to improve an existing product or make a product line extension. In growing companies, product development is done regularly. Some organizations often reinvest the generated revenue back into the business to develop a product that’s more advanced or in better quality than its previous products. Other firms like to diversify their product phase and thus indulge in product development every other quarter.
The importance of product development cannot be undermined. This post will discuss why it is essential for growing companies to build effective product development plans and implement them on time. Knowing this helps businesses allocate their budget and resources efficiently.
Like an organization needs to develop a good marketing plan, they also need to watch their resource allocation and product development. Before it can be launched and made available in the market, a product’s phases need to be carefully thought through. Skipping any critical phases or neglecting the optimum manufacturing procedures can lead you to develop a product with poor quality.
But before we go on discussing the importance of product development, let us define what product development means.
What is Product Development?
Product development is delivering a new good or item to the market or improving the existing products for increasing sales. In the beginning, a product is just a sample. A company needs to put a lot of effort and resources into transforming into something sellable in the market.
The process of product development involves everything that is required to be done to turn a product from a concept into a commercialized item that people would want to buy. The process usually starts with generating a new product idea and requires research and development work. Once the company conducts sufficient market research on the product idea, manufacturing is started until packaged and delivered. The process ends when the product is distributed via wholesalers, retail outlets, or other distributors.
Product development is sometimes also called new product management. Some define it as a series of steps from conceptualizing a product idea, including the design and development, and end in distribution and marketing. When you develop a product, it doesn’t need to appeal to your target customers. That’s why it is critical to do proper research before commercializing a business idea. Quantitative market research needs to be carried out before manufacturing your product. If it is delayed, you might end up wasting a lot of your resources by keeping false hopes and using inaccurate or insufficient data about your target market.
Although product development is a creative process, it requires a systematic approach to it. The best way is to build a framework that puts all the stages of the product development plan in a well-organized structure. Here are the five elements of a well-structured product development plan.
1. Identify the Design Criteria
This stage identifies the design criteria by brainstorming different, possible, and new products.
2. Conduct an Idea Analysis
In this step, you evaluate the initial product concept deeper. Conduct concept studies to determine whether it is feasible or not for your company to manufacture the product.
3. Carry Out Concept Genesis
This involves turning the product development opportunity into a tangible and feasible concept.
4. Create a Prototype
Before you develop a product in its true sense, you need to create its prototype. A prototype is a small and simple version of the product, made with minimum resources and used to test the possibility of the product to drive sales. Prototyping gives you a rough idea of how well your actual product will perform in the market. If your prototype fails, you need to consider other product options that you might have thought of, instead of continuing with the production of this one.
5. Product Development
This is the final stage and involves the actual product development. This means you now manufacture the actual product that will be made available in the market for people to buy.
Importance of Product Development
Product development is vital for businesses for several reasons, as discussed below. The success of a new product requires a substantial amount of resources to be invested in it. There is always a chance of outright failure. Due to the high risk of failure, it is good to know why you should still invest in a product development plan. By understanding the importance of product development, companies are convinced to use product development services of professionals and experts to make sure that the process is handled correctly.
1. Provide New Value For Customers
You need to indulge in product development to provide new value to your customers. If you keep selling the same product to the same people over a long time, your audience will get bored with your brand and probably stop buying. Coming up with new product ideas and testing them in the market keeps your business alive. It gives an energetic feel to your brand and makes its brand personality more attractive. This is because your customers can see that you always have something new to offer. They get enticed to keep visiting your store every month, or at least visit your website regularly to check out what’s new.
By making more and creative items available for people in a community to buy, you provide a variety and improve your society. Many new products are often an incremental improvement over their older versions. Companies that frequently upgrade their existing products can build a favorable impression of social innovation. It is as if these companies understand their social responsibility and work hard to contribute to the betterment of their people. In certain instances, new product development can give great and immediate gratification to the customers. That’s how it is beneficial to society.
Product development is also crucial for growing your business. More variety in your product base means more avenues for sales to come in. New products can prove to be the lifeblood for your company. If your past products fail, your new products have a chance to be successful. The more products you have to sell, the more chances you have of developing and maintaining a sustainable income stream in your business. New product development also helps you access more sponsors, investors, and partners for your business.
By growing your business, you are also serving society in other ways. You are creating more employment opportunities for the people in the community and supporting society at large through charity giving and taxation. Organizations do not have much choice but to grow. To grow and sustain their operations, they have to indulge in new product development once in a while, if not too frequently. The research and development they do to develop a product development plan help the business in many other ways. For instance, if you learn about your competitor’s pricing strategies through your research, you can price your product at a slightly lower level to penetrate the market faster.
Product development is essential. But what’s even more important is to be able to market the product once it is launched. In this digital age, the most effective marketing means is done online.
If you want to grow your business by developing effective marketing and product development plans, you first need a professional website to showcase your brand. Trying to promote your products or services without having a website in this day and age is like closing your eyes and wondering why you cannot see anything.
Build a simple website on a user-friendly website building platform, which allows you to edit and update your content any time you like. If you choose Strikingly as your web development platform, you will get many easy-to-use tools and features to play around with until your awesome website is ready.
At Strikingly, we believe in product development as well. We implement this belief into our business by creating and updating the features that we offer for making your website building experience smoother and more convenient.