The Steps You Need to Discover, Design, Build, and Launch a Successful Product
A winning product requires more than just having a clever idea. In fact, the original idea for your product’s design will rarely match the finished product once you have refined all of the details.
Having a solid design strategy allows you to solve problems before they happen and to spot opportunities for improvement before you commit to an inferior design. Before launching the production of your new product, make sure your product design strategy has the following things in place.
1. Discover Insights that Drive Innovation
Before you start designing your product, you want to see how similar products are designed and figure out what you can learn from them. The initial research is one of the most time-consuming parts of product design, but it saves a lot of time and money in the long run.
Competitive analysis is a crucial part of the research stage. An easy way to get started is to answer a handful of questions about the products currently on the market.
Answer the five following questions:
- What are the most common features, and how do they align with the price?
- Which components stand out the most regarding usability?
- Which design elements harm or inhibit the user experience?
- What makes this type of product aesthetically pleasing?
- What do customers rave and complain about in online reviews?
Once you have an idea of what your competition is doing, you need to understand better the market – the customer you are selling to (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Target, Home Depot, Lowes) as well as their customers (the actual end user of the product). Ethnographic research is all about getting to know your potential end user and understanding what their needs are, how they currently use existing products in a similar category as your product concept, and what pain points are they experiencing while attempting to meet their needs. This information is crucial in product design, and especially later in the launch and ongoing marketing of your product.
Characteristics to consider about your target customers:
- Demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.)
- Problems they experience and anxieties they have
- Goals they want to achieve and their dreams/aspirations
Always consider what kind of experience they want from your product, and how you can infuse that into the product design.
Unique Selling Proposition
Ultimately, the purpose of market and ethnographic research is to identify your unique selling proposition – or as others might say, your position in the market. What’s going to set your product apart from all the others in the same category? Why is your product unique and different than your competitors?
When you have that figured out, you’re ready to move forward with designing your product.
2. Design a User-Centered Product
Now that you know which features your product must include and whom you’re creating your product for, you can start creating designs. Unless you’re an engineer or an exceptional artist, this part of the process typically requires the help of a freelancer or design agency.
During this phase, you have the opportunity to explore different features and functions of your design while incorporating ideas for how your brand will play into your product design. Think about color schemes, textures, manufacturing techniques, and potential packaging concepts that fit with your product and target market. Most importantly, consider consumer usability and foresee possible ‘problem areas’ or issues that a consumer may have with the design solution so that these concerns are addressed early. It is good practice to explore your design at this stage by using a couple of essential design tools such as sketching, mockups, and even CAD modeling.
Once you have a winning design and concept that fits with your brand, the next step is building a working prototype of your product and testing that prototype. This is where things like qualitative and quantitative research could come into play.
Having a functional aesthetic prototype is crucial because you want to actually see, hold, and use your product and you want to see how well your product tests with real users before spending the time and resources developing and tooling production parts. It’s important to have people test your product without providing much information for them so you can see how easy it is for them to figure out on their own.
3. Build, Engineer, and Test Conceptual Prototypes
Some products are easier to manufacture than others. If you’re lucky enough to have a simple design with few materials, your development process will go much faster.
However, most products require careful planning for the development process to ensure the process is as cost-effective as possible and to avoid functional or structural issues with your product. Also, a large part of this process involves finding the right vendor that will work with you and your team to execute your design while making sure to meet your cost needs and quality standards.
After troubleshooting any problems that arise and fine-tuning the design for manufacturing, you’ll want to work with the manufacturer and develop engineering pilot samples to review and test the final production samples. This lets you know that your product is ready for mass production and will not disappoint your customers. Then, of course, you want excellent quality control in place for the long-term success of your product.
4. Launch a Successful Product
There is a myth of “if you build it, they will come” that tricks us into believing that great products sell themselves. This simply is not the case. Sales are a result of a well-planned launch and ongoing marketing strategy.
Your strategy starts with a unique sales pitch, eye-catching POS displays, beautiful packaging that communicates the product and fits with your brand, and a well-executed marketing campaign that accurately targets the right people for your product. You want everything planned out before you launch, followed up by an evaluation post-launch to see if you should make any changes before investing in expensive advertising campaigns.
If this sounds like a lot of work to you, that’s because it is! The good news is you don’t have to take on this process alone.
At BOOM Designs, we have a unique product design strategy that has resulted in many successful products all over the world. We can handle everything from the initial research to the launch of your new product. Whether you need help with all the stages of product development (Discover, Design, Build, or Launch) or maybe just one or two phases, BOOM Designs can become an integral member of your team and help you launch that winning product.
At BOOM Designs, we have a unique product design strategy that has resulted in hundreds of successful products. We can handle everything from the initial research to the launch of your new product.