“Congratulations! Your retail business is booming!” We use this subject line in emails to our growing customers. However, it is a bigger deal than just an email header. When retail businesses blossom, it can be difficult to maintain strong growth rates. What should be the next step after optimizing your operational tools and processes? Retailers should consider expanding their product lines as the next avenue to continue growing their business.
Expanding A Product Line
Expansion is an essential part of a successful growth strategy. Developing new products or adding on to existing product lines allows retailers to keep up with existing customer demand and interest, acquire new customers, and solidify longer, more stable business growth with diversified product offerings. Still, creating, developing, and marketing a new product is a daunting and challenging process.
Here are some quick tips to help guide you through the product development process.
First Things First: What Is the Next Big Thing?
Retailers should analyze their currently offerings, evaluate what is available in their industry, anticipate upcoming trends, and plan what will provide the best ROI for their business. Prototyping is also key. Make informed business decisions by testing product ideas via a prototype to get a clear view on the materials, workload, packaging, etc. needed to create each product.
But how can you assess whether or not the products you’re creating is something customers want? Some companies, like Stitch Labs customers Nomad Goods and Comfortable Club, have used crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to test and validate customer demand for product prototypes.
First Impressions Are Everything
A product can be the best thing since the iPhone, but if it’s not positioned well by your marketing efforts, it might as well be consider a new rotary phone. How a product is promoted by a retail business is almost more important than the product itself. Asking the questions about where customers are shopping and what are they willing to pay will help focus and build a marketing strategy.
The research has been done, production established, and marketing planned and ready to launch. What’s next? Releasing the new product online and in-store(s)! When this happens, keep your ears open toon customer feedback and reviews, while monitoring the rate of returns as a success metric. Consider this launch a perfect opportunity to test out new marketing channels, such as mobile ads or paid social advertising.
Need more help navigating the product development lifecycle? Read the new Expanding Your Business Through New Product Development chapter, of our Ultimate Guide To Scaling Your Retail Business.