Keys to Successful Product Development #5: Line Extensions - How to Protect and Capitalize on Your Equities


When you think about where new products come from, the first source for inspiration should be the success in your existing line-up.  You already own those products and their success.  You have already learned how to profitably make and sell those products.  You already have some insight from your retail partners (and hopefully from your own research!) as to who is buying them and why.  The easiest route to next year’s volume is to start with this year’s successes.  And remember that if you don’t capitalize on those successes, someone else will, possibly even one of your retail partners.  

So where and how to begin?

Anyone can knock off someone else.  But the product creator has some fundamental advantages over the knock-off guy.  The creator was there first.  That’s his biggest advantage.  All the time that the product has been in the market, they have the opportunity to explore its success, to learn about any shortcomings it might have – real or perceived – to learn why people were buying it, to learn which features are most important to the purchase decision.  All this should give rise to strategies to proliferate the product.

Maybe that’s as simple as creating new colors or sizes for selected retailers.  Maybe it’s as complicated as engineering new features.  Maybe it’s a miniature version for travel or a larger version for larger households or a commercial version.  Even the simplest products have multiple dimensions. 

Design Research offers concept and design tests to identify the most likely successes among the many possible concepts and designs you create.  These tests have been proven to increase sales three fold!  Should you feel a need to further understand your product’s consumer, Design Research can develop low-cost consumer profile studies for you.  We can also conduct in-home interviews to observe your product in use to see what works well, what’s not used or not understood, and what doesn’t work.  We can conduct focus groups to understand why they bought your product and which of your new variations holds promise.  

Protect your existing products now because they are the foundation of your future sales and profits.  Contact Design Research today to learn more about how we can help!