When a new product is introduced to the market, what do you think the chances are that it will be a success? We're not talking a "Silly Bands" or "iPhone" type success — just that a product actually enters the market and is a profitable venture. Do you think a new product has a 20% chance of success? 10%? 5%? By most published success rates, those guesses would all be over-optimistic. Try 3% or less. That's right — 97%+ of all new product ideas flop, either before they even make it to market or shortly thereafter.
The reasons a product might not be a success are many and varied. There are a few mistakes however, that are consistently made by inventors and product developers that often contribute to an unsuccessful product launch — or a product not even making it to the launch phase. Below are the areas where many products go wrong. There are never any guarantees, but avoid these, and your chances are a whole lot better.
3 Reasons New Products Don't Make It
1. The Product — No big surprise here. This is by far the most common reason for a product launch's failure. If you don't have a product that people want to buy, you're doomed. Unfortunately, it's difficult for many product developers to be objective. In your eyes, your product is fantastic. Who wouldn't want one? Well, you'd better answer that question before getting too far.
Solution: Market research is the key here. That doesn't mean just asking friends and family. You need objectivity and real, honest feedback. For no more than the price of some donuts and coffee, you can convene a focus group (who have signed confidentiality agreements) to find out if your product really is as cool as you think it is. Smart inventors and developers do this a few times, just to cover their bases.
2. Production — Even if you have what would have otherwise been "the next big thing," handling the production phase poorly can sink your launch. Horror stories abound of people whose products were produced in all sorts of configurations, sizes, and colors not specified in any production order. And often, by the time the disaster is uncovered, money has been paid, and the expense and time to find a new production solution is too great.
Solution: Take the advice of those who have gone before you. As easy as it is to research and find advice online, there is no excuse for not performing plenty of due diligence prior to picking a production solution. Get recommendations and referrals — a lot of them. Talk with people who have had similar products produced, and use the people they used. Especially if you're having something produced overseas, don't make the mistake of trying to handle this piece on your own. This is the time to put pride aside, admit you don't know what you don't know, and ask for help.
3. Distribution Channels — Once your product is produced, how will you get it to market? Depending on the nature of the product, you might have a number of options, ranging from brick and mortar retail stores to online channels, to direct response and mail order. This is something that needs to be in place and ready to go prior to the first item being produced. If you have product and no way to move it, you're in trouble.
Solution: Negotiate all your distribution channels ahead of time, and make sure their expectations for product quality, delivery schedules, packaging, and all other pertinent factors match exactly with what you'll be providing. Don't make promises you can't keep, and don't rest with the channels you secure. Always be on the lookout for new ways to move your product.
Yes, there are a lot of other reasons products don't make it, but if you nail the above three factors, you'll have a much better chance of success with any product launch. Do you have experience launching a product? Share what you've learned in the comments section or on our Facebook Page.