Are you feeling stagnant and wondering how you can take your current design talents and use them for other products? You would surprised at how you could easily venture into other, potentially more lucrative markets.
For example, let’s say you’re a jewelry designer. Take a look at this $1,200 beaded chandelier below, and see how your talents would lend nicely to a product of this nature.
Are you a wood worker? I bet you never thought you could find success in the popular market for nursery night lights, but it is actually quite simple if you simply adhere your wooden design to the night-light base. The ones below sell for $32 each.
Are you a painter but canvas, paper and walls are getting a little boring for you? How about trying the trendy water bottle market, like this $38 art water bottle below?
Maybe you work with marble and you’re getting a little tired of just making cutting boards. Then how about a sleek and classic $98 marble shelf?
Do you knit or crochet and want to avoid the season lull once sweater season is over? Two great ways to use your skills are a $285 hammock or a $210 dream catcher.
So, I hope these ideas have inspired you, if you are finding that you are just not making it in your current market. Another thing that might help you is my Product Consultation, where I inspire you with fresh ideas based on market demand, current trends and unique offerings that will set your business apart.
Are your sales lagging? Maybe it’s time for a product reinvention, so I looked at Amazon’s Top Sellers and Movers & Shakers for the week to get some inspiration. Below are four product strategies you may want to consider.
Sell Products in Sets
This black choker set is one of the top-selling items on Amazon, and it likely has to do with the fact that the black choker is such a hot fashion trend right now, and comes in so many styles that buyers just can’t decide on one. So they don’t have to with this 10-Choker Set, and sets means you get to sell more products at one time.
Try a New Material
Onesies have always been popular for babies, then they became popular for adults, so now let’s go back to babies with this top-selling item on Amazon – a waterproof onesie for those rainy days. A cross between a snow suit and splash pants, I would have bought this for sure when my kids were younger.
Find a New Purpose
I have a lot of clients that sell laptop stands for the desk, but people really do work a lot while sitting in bed, either late at night at home or when they are staying in a hotel. Therefore it made sense that a “laptop stand for bed” became a top search on Amazon. You may not even have to change your design, but rather just the way you “label” it.
Add the Quirky Factor
Cat bed caves really took off on Etsy first as round pods, but now companies are getting even more creative such as this top-selling Amazon cat bed that comes in the shape of a shark, because quirky always gets attention. I’m sure it will have great editorial potential when Shark Week rolls around.
Wondering why people are not buying your products? With my Product Consultation, I will evaluate whether or not your products are attractive to customers, if you are on top of the competition, what hot trends you should be taking advantage of, what new customers you can target, fresh product ideas to try and where you need to improve and add more value. You can order from my Etsy shopor Selz shop.
latest customer review
“Etsy Shop Critique – What a deal! Attention Getting Marketing offers great insight and that you can implement as soon as your shop critique is complete. Would highly recommend this product to any Etsy seller, seasoned or beginner. Thank you, Gail!” Jane, Made by Jane Design on Etsy.
I have advised thousands of online shops, and a common problem is not being able to recognize why your products are not selling and what to do. It is tough when it’s your own shop because you are too close to it to be objective.
If the traffic to your shop is good, then you have to look at your prices, your shipping charges, your turnaround time, your reputation (negative reviews hurt sales), and most of all, your products.
So I am going to focus on your products and pretend that I sell wooden cutting boards so you can see what I mean.
Offer More of Your Best Sellers
What is your top seller(s)? This is the product you should look to for inspiration. Can you spin it off into more products, more colors, more shapes, more sizes, whatever the case may be. Why do you think there are so many coffee options at a Starbucks? So if my best seller is a wooden cutting board in the shape of Texas, then maybe I want to consider offering cutting boards that looks like the Texas state flag or a famous Texas landmark. Stick with what works.
Expand Your Target Market
I have always reminded my customers not to focus solely on the most obvious customer. Is your product suitable for businesses? In other words, have you thought about selling your wooden cutting boards to restaurants and cafes for serving the bread of other types of appetizers? Maybe you can customize the board with their logo (free advertising for them when people are taking a selfie of their food). Have you strictly been targeting women buyers? Maybe men would like a cutting board for their barbecue (they do, see next point).
Do your products have a lot of competition? In other words, are there other shops selling exactly what you sell? Then you need to delve back into product development and find out what customers are looking for. Therefore, if I sold cutting boards I would go over to Google autocomplete and type “cutting board that” “cutting board with” and “cutting board for” and see the searches that fill in. Some searches I found were:
Cutting board that catches juices
Cutting board that weighs what you cut
Cutting board with handle
Cutting board with recipe engraved
Cutting board for brisket
Cutting board for bread
Cutting board for sushi
I now have 7 new product ideas based on actual requests.
Gather Insight from Others’ Reviews
While you should definitely be reading your own reviews for insight into your products, you should also venture over to Amazon and read the reviews of your competitors’ products. Reading some reviews on wooden cutting boards, I found that people were unhappy when the board eventually split, the surface warped or it was too small. Things people raved about was when the board was easy to carry, didn’t take up much counter space and could be used for serving as well as chopping. Make sure your products have all the things customers want and none of the things they don’t.
I often see people trying desperately to come up with an idea for a business, but the easiest way is to simply solve a problem that people are having. It could be with a current product or service offering, or an offshoot of a problem with another product.
Hopefully some of these product ideas will inspire you (be sure to also follow my Pinterest board, Products I Love!) :
Problem Solved: Cell Phone Off the Floor When Charging
Now this is not an expensive product, but it solves a definite problem. This cell phone holder ($8) from Solutions simply keeps your phone off the floor when you are charging it (why do they make the charger cords so short?). What would make this product better? If you could fold it up and stick in your purse to take with you.
Problem Solved: Make Brushing Teeth Fun For Kids
Anyone with kids knows how hard it is to get them to brush their teeth, so anytime you can take something that a child finds a chore and make it fun, you will have success. Tooth Paste Pete($5) is just a cap that goes over the toothpaste tube and makes it instantly makes bedtime a lot easier.
Problem Solved: Small Dogs (and Fat Cats) Can’t Jump
There are so many issues that small dogs as well as older dogs have, and one of them is getting up onto high beds. This portable pet step from Collections Etc.($15) offers a simple solution. Making it available in other stylish colors would make it even better.
Problem Solved: Being Seen When Biking at Night
These LED Spokelit Bicycle Lights ($11) are a great way to increase visibility and security when biking in the dark (still need a headlight!). Considering that cycling at night is a factor in nearly 50 percent of all cycling fatalities, it offers a solution to a very real problem.
Where to Find Product Inspiration
Look around you. What products are you dissatisfied with and why? Ask your friends, family and colleagues what types of products they are looking for and can’t find. Maybe even try reading the reviews of popular and top-selling products to see where they are missing the mark and you could possibly fill that void.
Are you looking for a product idea for a business? Sometimes the easy way to find a new product idea, is to take a common everyday product we all use and make it even better.
Reinventing a Product
Let’s take soap for example. How do you improve upon soap?
Well, maybe you could:
make it last longer
add some secret ingredient
OR you position it to a specific market segment:
soap for men
soap for kids
soap for sensitive skin
OR maybe it is how you package it:
in a pump bottle
in cutout shapes
on a rope
New Product Ideas Checklist
So, simply take a current popular everyday product, and then answer these questions. How can I make it:
solve a current problem with the product
combine two products in one
If you need inspiration, I encourage you to check out and follow my Pinterest board, Products I Love, where I post everyday products that people took and gave a new, interesting and marketable update.
Need a Hot, New Product Idea?
Then you will love my 30-minute verbal consultation by phone or Skype, where you can ask me any questions about how to improve your product offerings, expand into new markets and get in on the hottest upcoming trends. The cost is just $49 US and you can order here.
A simple test to know if you are offering products that people want and/or need is to use the auto complete feature of search engines, such as Google and Bing. Try to do this every six months as needs are always changing. Some of the best ways, are to use the words “that” “with” and “for“.
Type in “table that“, let auto complete fill in and you get searches:
Try it with “necklace for” and you get:
Try it with “eye cream with” and you get:
Not only is this a great way to do market research, but it also helps with your SEO efforts because you can add tags and product titles based on these searches.
About the Author: I’m G.B. Oliver, a small business marketing consultant. I can create a complete & detailed Marketing Action Plan for your small business. Inquire using the form below.
I took a look at the new product arrivals from some of the major online retailers, and I noticed several themes emerging that smaller online shops may want to consider when designing their products for this year.
While owls and birds will still be popular in home decor and jewelry, a new trend that seems to be popping up is African wildlife, such as giraffes, tigers and cheetahs. 2013 is also the year of the snake, so that may influence design as well (and if you want to get a start on 2014, when the next Hobbit movie comes out in December, I imagine dragons will be big!).
Neon is back is a big way, for both home, jewelry and fashion, but many designers are also mixing neon with black, grey and navy so it is not too strong a statement. Pastel colors such as mint are also popular. Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is Emerald Green, so expect to see it in various hues (check out this blog editorial to see what I mean).
Geometric shapes (including individual chevrons, a trend from last year), twigs, branches, horns, tusks, skulls and lots of spikes (50 Shades of Grey influence, maybe) seem to be popular jewelry trends. Choker and bib necklaces continue to be current. Traditional hoop earrings do not appear to be that trendy, but rather smaller stud earrings or large dangle earrings.
Keep Calm and Carry On has inspired lots of word art with everyone looking for that next trendy, inspirational saying. Vintage fonts are popular in art as well, along with vintage travel posters. A lot of photography art seems to be taking on a blurry trend, or black and white with small washes of color here and there. Artistic animal heads on walls continue to find new creative ways.
Chevrons, ombre (fading from one color to the next), trellis patterns are all still popular. New pattern trends seem to be polka dots, houndstooth and global bazaar/moroccan prints.
Expect lots of accents of metal studs, metal plates and shimmery gold and silver in both home decor, jewelry and fashion. Stylish household objects in ceramic will also be really popular in 2013.
Kids’ Product Trends
Neon is also a big trend for both kids fashion and room decor, as is Parisian themes and sequins. Ceramic accents, banners for bedrooms, and everything in a shape whether it is mirrors, rugs, lamps, bookends or clocks. Another hot fashion trend for kids is moccasins.
FINAL WORD: Why should you care about trends? Because trends get editorial, which means you have a better chance with product submissions to the media if your products are current. It doesn’t mean your whole shop has to be trendy, just one piece will do.