how to build a successful product line
Step 1: Doing The Research Within Your Market
When you are doing research for your product line, you cant just create a new product line that you love, it has to be something that people want as well. With that being said, lets talk about Demand Vs Saturation.
Imaging that you are wanting to sell hair clips. The demand for that is high because people want it and need it. Think about the demand for the type of product you are selling.
For example: I sell stationery.
Some style of stationery might be more popular than others.
So when you do your product research you have to understand the concept of demand. If you are just relying on SEO to bring you traffic, or at least that is one of the ways your using then you have to make sure that there is a demand in the SEO search.
If you type in the search bar hair clip and enough phrases auto populate, then you know that there is some demand.If you see only a few phrases that are recommended to you, then there probably isn't a high enough demand for it.
Similar to if you type in Unicorn in Etsy search bar. You are probably going to see result like : Unicorn birthday, Unicorn stationery, Unicorn gifts Etc...
Saturation is the amount of results in search. So if you are thinking about creating a unicorn hair clip or whatever you sell, or something that you want to create. Then you would type it in the search bar on the platform you are selling on and see how many search results there are.
There is 80,000 results for unicorn hair clip. With the saturation for that type of product being so high, it will be harder for you to get to the top of search, but not impossible.
So when you are thinking about creating a new product line, keep in mind the demand but also remember that the saturation for this product isn't to high.
For example: If the demand is high and there aren't a lot of people selling it, then that would be a good product to create.
You have to look at who your target market is and see what it is that they are wanting and needing. But it's also important to see what the demand and saturation is before you start trying to create those new products. If you want to learn more about how to figure out who your target market customers are then I recommend that you read my blog post that gives you two tips on finding your target market, here. For more detailed information about finding your target market you can get my target market webinar here.
Step 2: Demand In Regards To Trends And Needs
So you already know what kind of product you want to create but don't know which style to choose. First, whatever style you are thinking of, you have to make sure that there is a need for it.
For example: Invitations
There will always be a need for invitations, no matter what the celebration is. Anything from Baptism, Birthday, Anniversary, Wedding Etc... Also think about the themes that people are wanting, and the age group you are trying to target.
For example: If you have a princess invite, that would be good for younger girls from say around 3-7. The princess them probably wont work form girls that are 13 or older. That is why it is important to make sure you offer different types of themes to make sure you reach every target customer.
Also keep in mind what is trending at that moment. So if you sell art prints for nurseries, you can look up to see the top trending styles of nurseries and match those colors etc...
Here are a few tips to help you learn about what is trending at that time.
1) Follow pinterest influences
These are the people who use pinterest professionally just to link items to affiliate links. You will have to search to see which influences you should follow. They can also be found on You tube and have a pinterest profile as well. If you want to find out more about how to use Pinterest for your business then check out my Pinterest Webinar here.
2) Facebook Ads
Everyone uses Facebook now a days, so the more you use it and like things the more you will see Facebook ads that are targeting you based off of your previous likes. So you want to look at these ads and see how many comments they have. The more comments they have the higher the following. Look for the common denominator. See what it is about this product that makes them want it so bad. And once you figure it out, see if or how you can implement it into your products.
3) Following your big box competitors
Look at what your competitors are doing. Not the other Etsy sellers, but the big companies that are backed by thousands of dollars. See what they are coming out with and see if it is something that you could potentially offer as well. Remember the point of this is not to copy what other people are doing, but to get inspired.
Step 3: Launching a Collection
When launching a new collection, remember that it has to have a common theme. Such as a design element.
For example: If you are thinking about launching a floral collection, don't have design elements that have nothing to do with floral.
So keep in mind that when you are launching a new collection to make sure it is cohesive.
When I launch a new collection in my stationery I create the same design in a Note card, Notepad, and luggage tag.
Now lets talk about how to decide what the theme should be, besides doing research and finding out what is trending. You want to have a theme that is relevant to the time that you are creating it. With that being said, people should have collections launched throughout the year. In my opinion at least twice a year for new based product lines. And what that means is a product that will work all year around. Don't rely on things like Mothers Day, Christmas, Halloween. Yes things for mothers day and fathers day can work all year around depending on the product you sell. Now lets talk about when you should be releasing your collection. And by releasing I mean that you already have it created and your ready to actually list it. The release date should be at least 4-6 weeks before the event, especially if you have quick turn around time. Allowing 4-6 weeks before the event happens give your listing time to be favored and be able to find you in search. Also, that is around the time that people start to search for those items.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are trying to create a new collection is what your buyers are requesting. Keep in mind what customer orders you receive and see if there is a trend that you might not know about. You will see that most of the people that are requesting a custom order, all want something similar or if not the same thing. Pay attention to your custom order requests. If 20 people request for you to do a unicorn stationery set within the past 60 days, then it might be a good idea for you to add that as a product. However, if only 6 people request it in the past 60 days, then I would recommend not adding it just yet. Make sure that you are paying attention to what is trending and keeping a mental note of what everyone is wanting.
So when do you think you should be creating these products? Well that all depends on what type of products you sell. If you can create new products that are inspired by the event then you should start trying to create those new items around 12 weeks in advance. Now if you have products that you need to outsource then I would say that you look at a calendar and see how long it will take to get your products in time for the event. With giving yourself 8-12 weeks to have the product created, you give yourself enough time to have everything ready because I don't know about you but I don't have a full week to commit to creating new products. If you have a turn around time of 1-3 business days then you should list your new products within that 4-6 week timeline. But if your turn around time is 1-2 weeks, then accommodate to that. If you are worried about not having enough products for a collection, don't.There is no right answer to how many items you should have in order to launch a collection. However, on average most people launch a new collection with a minimum of 10 products. That isn't a set number. So if you have 6 or 15 new items for your collection that is absolutely fine too.
Step 4: Being Different
When you are trying to come up with new products, it can be difficult trying to stand out from everyone else. A lot of u look at what our competitors are doing and try to create something similar to that. With that being said, what makes you different than your competitors?
For example: If you sell custom t-shirts.
You know that a lot of other sellers are creating the same if not very similar products to you. So I would suggest that you use unique fonts, unique designs and colors to make your items stand out. Find out what makes your products unique. Even if it is just having your shirts 100% organic.
Other ways that you can stand out is having great customer service, fast turn around times, low or free shipping cost, offer free proofs, have a chat feature on your website. If you want to know my top 7 tips to making your customers happy, then click here to check out my blog. I would also recommend getting a book that I have read multiple times. Its called the Blue Ocean Strategy. It will help you figure out how to be different and stand out from others. You can not have a successful business if you aren't different then others in some sort of way.
Step 5: Staying Organized
When it comes to creating a new product, or anything in business really, you have to stay organized. Lucky for me I am able to hire an assistant to help me with listing new products. But I also use Trello to help me stay organized in life and in business. I highly recommend that you get Trello, its free or you can pay for the upgrade. So I am going to walk you through on how to use Trello. In Trello you have multiple boards. You can name the boards anything that you want. So when you are thinking about creating new products you can have a board called " Product Ideas". Within that board you have lists that you can change to whatever you want.
For example: change one of the lists to Design style.
So within Trello you can name the boards after the type of product you are wanting to create. Such as naming one "birthday invitations". And within that board on the lists you can add the different types of invitations you want to create.
For example: Princess, Train, Super hero, Unicorn, Dinosaur etc...
If you don't want to get Trello to help you organize when you should be creating products then I would recommend a more old school approach. You can simply get a yearly planner similar to this that will help you keep on track.
So why do all of the invites that you want to create have to have there own list? Its because if you are like me, then these ideas arent just good for birthday invites, they can also be used in other categories as well.
Such as having a Unicorn birthday invite, you can also make a unicorn note card, unicorn notepad, unicorn luggage tag ..etc..
Another cool feature that trello offers is the ability to add links within your boards.
For example: When I am getting my collections together and I have to buy clip art for that product, I can put the link to the clip art that I want to buy for that product.
Click here to check out my blog post that will give you my 4 morning business hacks that keep me on track!
Step 6: SEO and Photos
It is very important that you know how to do SEO correctly. If you have a huge social media following and don't need to rely on SEO to get found then great! But not all of us have the following that we would like to have. So It is important that you know what keywords that will help you get found in search. Just like SEO, it is important that you also have good photos. The photo you have is the first thing that customers will see about your product. If they aren't good enough then you wont get clicked on. Your photos have to invoke some sort of feelings for them, in a good way. If you photo are poorly done, and you know they could be better than work on them! Your photos could be costing your sales if they aren't attractive enough.
There are many tools that you can use to make sure that you are using relevant keywords for your SEO. I would highly recommend getting Marmalead to help you find popular keywords for your listings. If you are just clueless on what SEO is and why it's important for your business then check out my SEO webinar and my Google SEO webinar to help you step by step on how to use SEO.
If you are wondering how you can improve your photos to be more attractive then I would recommend that you check out my blog post that gives you 3 steps to creating a better product photo.
Sept 7: Advertising and Marketing
There are several different ways that you can advertise new product lines. You have to figure out what would work best for your customers. Such as : Email lists, Social Media, Ad campaigns
I personally use my e-mail list to drive more traffic to my shop when I release a new product line.
If you are thinking about doing this strategy then I would recommend that you e-mail your followers a few days before you launch the collection and give them a incentive to buy. Such as telling them that if they get it during pre-sale the get 15% off or whatever your comfortable doing. That way it will give people the urge to want to get that product before it comes available to the public and for a good discount! If you want to learn more on how you can use your E-mail list to help market your business then check out my E-mail List Webinar. If you don't have a E-mail list yet, then you can also use marketing inserts for your packages to help drive more traffic to your shop. Click here to get all of my marketing inserts I use in my packages.
GOT ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? LET ME KNOW BELOW, I'D LOVE TO CHAT!
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