Product Redesign: A How-To Guide
As a small business, you want to keep your customers consistently interested in your business and your products. Small businesses are a huge part of our nation’s economy, and if you look at the eCommerce market, you can see truly how big of an impact small businesses have on the world. However, if you sell most of your products online, you really have to have a product that catches your customers’ eyes more than any other similar product online. You may be the only custom engagement ring supplier in a 50-mile radius, but as soon as you open an online store, you become one of thousands. This just increases your competition, which should necessitate a need for something about your company that stands out. So why not try redesigning your packaging to draw new customers in and keep current customers interested?
A huge part of redesigning your product is dealing with the fact that some people (maybe some of you customers) just do not like change. It’s a difficult balancing act of keeping your company’s focus and core values at the forefront of your product while also allowing yourself to grow and change as a company. If you redesign your product in the right way, you can change and renew the energy of your company.
The first thing you have to do when beginning to think about redesigning your product is to let go of any sentimentality you have about the current or past product. If you stay too tuned into the old product’s look, you won’t be able to see the benefits of the new, and your product will not end up changing. The second thing you need to keep in mind is your audience. You have a group of loyal customers who you really do not want to lose. The best product redesign will bring in new customers and keep the old loyal customers happy, as well.
At the start of this process, you need to think about your reasoning behind this change. What is driving your need for a redesign?
Reasons to Consider Product Redesign:
- You need to visually unify past products
- Your recent business performance has changed (or decreased)
- New government regulations or requirements
- You are expanding into new markets
- Customer feedback and insight show that it looks best to change your product slightly
Figuring out early on why you need to change your product or redesign it will save you a lot of pain and embarrassment later on down the line.
When thinking about changing your product, think about the timeline of things you need to do. There isn’t a specific way or set of rules to follow when redesigning your product, but you can follow a general idea of how you should redesign your product.
Redesigning a Product: Important Considerations
Identify Customer Needs: The first step in designing or redesigning a product is talking to your customers. See what they are aware of when it comes to your product and what they honestly don’t realize or think of when looking at your product. Compare this to what you wanted customers to see or feel when looking at your product. Create a list with a rating value given to each customer need and specification.
Establish Target Specifications: Based on customers’ needs, establish the specifications of a prospective new product. Your specifications should be similar to a wish list, taking into consideration technical constraints. After you have a basic list of target specifications, refine your list to take into account your technical, manufacturing, and economic necessities or limits.
Analyze Competitive Products: Other products similar to yours might have design attributes that can be emulated or improved upon in your new product. If you understand the shortfalls of competitors’ products, you can improve yours to make it seem clearly superior or much more user friendly than others. The evolution of design builds on the success and failure of prior work, even others.
Generate Product Concepts: Illustrate the types of products that are technically feasible and would also meet the requirements of the target specifications.
Select a Concept for Product: By evaluating all the concepts, choose a final concept which has the attributes that best fit your requirements, specifications, and customer wants. Early models or other concepts can be kept and used for additional market research or to obtain feedback from key customers.
Refine Specifications: Get input from your company and from your customers. Think about tradeoffs you might have to make to create the best product. When product attributes are conflicting with technical challenges, you may need to drop that requirement or modify it to best fit the final product.
Perform Economic Analysis: Throughout this process, expenses and costs have been estimated for the final product and production of this newly redesigned product. Complete a thorough economic analysis of the product and the development required to make that product. This new economic model of the product and the review of the anticipated expenses will help you focus on what’s best for the product.
Once you’ve figured out why you want to or have to redesign your product, you then need to figure out how drastic a change you are looking for. Will you be creating a radically different product? This opens you up to the risk of losing old customers who were comfortable and emotionally connected to your product. Will you just be changing some small parts of your current product? Most of the time, you will be changing some small parts of your product, specifically parts that were not working well with customers. You will improve the delivery doing this instead of essentially creating a product from scratch. Sometimes situations call for a complete product redesign and a change of focus and direction, but most of the time that will not be a problem.
The actual mechanics of redesigning a product will depend on many factors that are specific to your product and company: your product range, your core values, your target demographics, your previous design, and the amount of working capital needed. However, achieving the tricky feat of a successful product redesign in a successful way comes with great prizes, like new possibilities, new customers, and new opportunities.