We’ve all had that moment of excitement – maybe it’s late at night, or while you’re in the shower, or out for a run. That moment where the idea for a new product or design just pops into your head! You rush into the studio in order to make your new idea a reality.
But before you add that product to your to current line, you need to step back and evaluate that new product, not as a designer, but as a business person.
I’ve been working on a new product line, and here are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I decide which pieces will make the final cut. These are questions you should ask yourself too as you consider adding a new product to the mix:
Does it improve upon an existing product? Sometimes new products aren’t really that new, they’re just an improvement to an existing product. If a new design is similar to something you already have in production, make sure it’s an improvement, and not just a lateral step.
Does it cannibalize an existing product? We all hope that adding in a new product will lead to more sales. But if the new product is too similar to something already in the line, you risk cannibalizing the sales of the existing product. The best product additions are ones people can buy with an existing product, not instead of.
Do I need to remove a product to bring this one in? Depending on how you answered the first two questions, adding in a new product may actually mean taking one away. If the product is an improvement on or a direct competitor with an existing product, taking away the older product could help the new product sell better.
Does it fill a gap in your current product offerings? When adding new products to a line, you should be looking to fill gaps, because gaps are usually missed opportunities for a sale. If the bulk of your line consists of $80 necklaces, adding another $80 necklace isn’t as effective as adding $40 earrings (which you can use as an up sell) or a $200 necklace (which becomes an aspirational piece for collectors.)
Does it fit with your current pricing? Once you’ve done your cost and market-based pricing for your new product, you also need to consider how that fits in the pricing of your existing line. Does the price of the new product make sense with everything else in your line? If your pricing is really inconsistent, it can be confusing, or worse, a turn off, to potential customers.
Designing new products is one of the most exciting parts of what we do. And adding new products on a regular basis is also good for sales. But every product idea shouldn’t necessarily make it into your final production line. Using these questions can help keep your product line manageable, your customers happy, and your business profitable.