5 New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Tackle Product Development in 2022
Happy new year! It’s hard to believe that we’re already into 2022.
A new year means an opportunity to start fresh, which means that it’s time to look at your business calendar for the upcoming year!
As a small business, one of the most important parts of scaling your operations and offerings is developing new products. Product development is something that every business needs to understand, but not everyone fully comprehends exactly what goes into it.
Whether you’re a product- or service-based business, the principles for product development are the same. Mastering each part of the product development process means that you’ll be prepared to grow your brand in the new year and beyond!
We’ve put together 5 product development new year’s resolutions that you can apply to your brand in 2022. With these tips, you can stay organized, innovative, and always ahead of the curve.
5 Tips to Help Product Development Run Smoothly in the New Year
Before you even begin brainstorming new product ideas, you need to review trend forecasts to see if the marketplace is ready for your product.
Trend forecasting is the process of predicting consumers’ buying habits through research, observation, and customer feedback. It is absolutely necessary for your product’s success. Without it, you could be launching a product that is unnecessary or redundant in the current market.
The process of trend forecasting often begins months before you even start designing your product. It involves looking at social, cultural, political, societal, and environmental changes to predict how consumers' purchasing patterns will change.
For example, cosmetic companies noticed that the pandemic was changing the type of makeup that people were wearing. Lipstick and foundation were becoming less popular because of face coverings. In response, many companies began adding eyelashes to their product lines to accommodate for this shift or starting lash brands in 2020.
So, how can you use trend forecasting to level up your product development?
Start by identifying a need that you’d like to address in the marketplace. Is it a seasonal trend (also known as a micro-trend) that will be relevant for the next six to 12 months? If so, pay attention to which patterns, colors, fabrics, and styles are emerging.
If you would like to address a larger trend that is influenced by changes in society (also known as a macro-trend), then focus on the changing habits of lifestyles of your target audience.
Product Design and Testing
The next important step in product development is designing and testing your product.
When you think about product development, this part of the process is probably the first thing that comes to mind. There’s a reason for that; product design and testing can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years. After all, you want to make sure that you’re putting your best possible product forward!
A product design starts by using forecasted trends as a jumping-off point and then designing a product that satisfies a customer’s wants or needs. From there, you’ll work with manufacturers who have the skills, resources, and materials to make your vision a reality.
Designing and testing a new product can take anywhere from a couple of months to multiple years to perfect. Take your time during this process to create a few different prototypes, receive feedback, and beta-test your product. Your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Now that you have your amazing product, it’s time to let the world know. That’s where marketing becomes important.
There’s no use of having an amazing product if nobody knows about it, right? Spreading the word using digital marketing channels, such as social media, email, and SMS can help you increase brand awareness and get your product in front of the right people. Work closely with a digital marketer to create the best strategy to get in front of your target market.
You should also take advantage of free social media platforms, like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. Social media is a great tool to post product tutorials, share customer testimonials, receive feedback, and communicate any updates.
As interest in your product grows, you’ll need to have a fulfillment plan in place before the orders start flowing in.
In the age of ecommerce and online stores, we’re used to having our goods come directly to our doorstep. While it may be as simple as clicking the ‘order’ button from the consumer side, it requires planning and backend management from the retailer side.
Here are some questions to consider as you build your shipping plan:
Will you offer free shipping or absorb some of the cost?
Will you be shipping domestically and internationally?
Will you be using USPS or a private carrier like FedEx, UPS, or DHL?
How will customers be able to track their items?
What is your plan if a package is lost or damaged?
What shipping materials do you need to ensure your products arrive at their destination safely?
Will you hire a fulfillment center or ship goods yourself?
Before the age of ecommerce, shipping to a customer was a no-nonsense affair that involved a big brown box and environmentally unfriendly packing peanuts. Now, customers expect the packaging to be a part of the buying experience. Adding a personal touch like a handwritten note or cute packaging will make a huge impression and encourage your customers to order from you again.
Factoring in Holidays
Holidays are wonderful for getting together with friends and family, but they can cause a scramble for your business operations.
Build your holiday marketing plans early and promptly fulfill orders to avoid holiday-related delays! If you’re manufacturing overseas, be sure to consider foreign holidays to be considerate to your business partners and save you from delays and confusion.
Planning early in the year can lead to success down the road.
The process of developing and launching a product is an ongoing cycle. It can seem daunting at first, but it is also very fun and creatively fulfilling.
By following these five tips, you can alleviate some of the stress that comes with product development. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. With the proper preparation and planning, you can help your business succeed in the new year!