As a designer and creator, you’re tasked with making new products for your shop all while keeping an eye on current trends.
Adding new products to your inventory keeps customers engaged even if they don’t buy every time.
Think about it in your own life. Do you ever visit your favorite store just to see what’s new? Even, if you aren’t looking for anything specific. Maybe, Target, for example?
You drop-in to peruse the shelves or racks knowing that they frequently have new items and might possibly have something you like. Just knowing that they might have something you like is a good reason to drop in. This is why it’s important to add new product lines on a regular basis.
But, how do you know what to make? That’s what we are going to discuss today.
Designing new products is something that we as handmade sellers have to make sure we are consistently doing within our business. The frequency of this is going to vary within your market and expectation of your target audience.
As a general rule, I would say a good target is releasing a new product line once a quarter. This helps to keep things fresh and keeps customers interested in your shop. If you can create product lines more frequently, that’s fabulous!
But, how do you know what to make?
That’s where it gets a little tricky. At any given moment, there are a ton of trends to choose from and, if you are like me, you always have a ton of ideas rolling around in your brain.
So, how do you focus all of that down to a successful and profitable product line?
The first thing to keep in mind is whether the next product is consistent with your brand. You wouldn’t want to all of a sudden release a baby shower line if all of your previous products have been aimed at teenagers. Your audience is not going to be interested and might be a little freaked out. So, even if you think it’s a great idea, it needs to be on brand.
In addition to being on brand, is there a demand for the new product? Does your target audience want it or need it?
You may be wondering how to answer all of these questions. This is where market research comes in to play. It’s time to research what your customers are buying, what patterns or textures they are going crazy for, what’s trending on the social media platforms that they are hanging out on. And, how can you make it better than the competition?
For example, you have decided you want to develop wall art in a farmhouse style – you know it’s on brand, you know there’s demand for it – now it’s time to decide how you are going to make it better so that YOUR farmhouse style product line stands out from the crowd. Can you combine new textures, fonts, or colors that your audience wants but can’t find elsewhere? This is where it’s really important to brainstorm because it’s what takes your sales to the next level.
If you sell something that everyone else makes then it doesn’t matter where the customer shops, but if someone sees your wall art in their friend’s home and they can only get it in your shop – THAT’s what matters. Then, you can charge a premium price too. But, that’s a conversation for another day.
Alright, to summarize- if you’re developing a product you want to keep three things in mind – is it on brand? Is there demand for it? And, how can you make it in such a way that it stands out in your market?
The first part of the year is a particularly important time of year to think about and plan product lines, so I hope this helps to get you started. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!