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Mar 3, 2023 7:47:27 PM | Start a Business Product Development: A Guide to Help You Create Your Own Products

Product development will make you reach a new milestone in your career! Learn now the most popular techniques used by successful project managers.

product development

Product development is the key to first-time entrepreneurs or development teams that want to start a new project. Whether working for yourself or for a big company, the question is always the same: what can I sell?

You probably have some ideas of what products to sell online, but you’re not sure if they are good. But don't worry, even big companies face the same issue! After all, every business needs to constantly create new products to tap into new market shares.

Whether it's a small or a large business, whether you're a new entrepreneur or an experienced product manager, product development comes to help you create your first product step by step and improve your product management skills.

I can't promise that you'll leave this page with the next million-dollar idea, but you'll definitely have a guide on how to design your business, create a product roadmap and ensure the success of your product development process.

💪🧠 Additional reading never hurts:

What is product development and what would be an example?

A notepad with the words "New Product" written in the middle, with a hand holding a pencil, a pen, a post-it and a eraser on a green table.

As a new merchant or product manager, while coming up with a product idea, you must be aware that the product development process is used when you want to create something new or improve an existing product to launch it in the market.

The product development process is not fast and will involve many phases such as designing and prototyping, research and various tests (safety, resistance and user experience, to name a few) to align the product features until you're 100% ready to launch it.

You've probably noticed that, as technology evolves, there's an increasingly vast amount of product categories. That's why apps and websites can be considered as products, right? Just to give you an example, product development can be used (and normally is) by a new startup that wants to create a delivery app (the product) and release it to a target market.

This product will need specific features to work, involving engineering, product marketing and logistics, with features that will match customers needs and differentiate them from their competitors. Until the delivery app is ready to go live, the company needs to run a lot of market and viability research to understand what features this app needs to have in order to ensure a satisfying customer experience.

The product development process is a must when designing whatever product (not only apps) because, before presenting a new product to the target market, we have to ensure that we know our customer (age, location, salary, etc.), their habits, needs, and that the product is financially and developmentally viable. That will be extremely useful to start designing a product that can meet clients expectations, designed to create great experiences for customers.

After research, the start-up needs to follow other steps such as designing and prototyping, to create the exact features needed, and a round of tests will be run to see if all the usability criteria are addressed, in order to release it to the market. That’s something essential, because the tests will show to the product development team if the product needs improvements or not.

While developing a product, a company must see how the release will perform among all their potential users and competitors, evaluate the performance and possible issues that the testers brought in order to improve features or change the product marketing strategy.

After running tests and achieving a minimum viable product, in order to maintain experience, quality and safety standards, the company will be ready to finally release the app (our example product) and start promoting it to the market.

But, hey, don’t think that after the release you will stop researching and testing the product and the features involved! After the launch, the product team has to continue to monitor customers’ feedback and try new versions of the product to keep the interest of the clients on the app.

💪 Already have a product? Start selling online with Shoplazza now!

 

What is a minimum viable product? (MVP)

 

 

You may have heard young tech professionals discussing the importance of the MVP and how they desperately need to launch their MVP in order to measure results. But honestly, do you really know what an MVP is? 

MVP is the acronym for Minimum Viable Product. It’s a product development strategy used when a new product or feature is developed with the basic functionalities required to be used by customers and gather user feedback for improvement and further updates.

I know, you’re probably wondering why you should release a product that isn’t perfect yet. But the goal of MVP is to test the product in the target market, identifying important features based on users’ feedback, rather than spending time and resources on a fully developed product that you’re not sure will be accepted. It doesn't need to be perfect; it needs to be marketable!

To use the MVP strategy, you need to create enough features to make the product usable by early adopters, making it possible for them to give feedback and their perceptions about the product. 

What is the purpose of product development?

A frame with a pin in the center of a dartboard representing the main focus of product development process

You must be asking yourself, “Why do I need to follow this development framework?” 

Product managers must be tired of hearing this, but if you want to create new and improved products, you must consider that the new product development process is the key to success. New products not only have to be in the market, they also need to meet the market’s needs and wants to provide value to the company that developed them. 

If you’re still unsure about using this development plan, we’ve prepared a list of reasons why we must use product development as part of a market release and why product management is important to your business.

1. Meeting customer expectations

The first thing we have to consider when developing a product is the customer’s needs. We must research our clients’ behavior to make sure that we know their pains and develop a strategy that can help them with those issues.

2. Making a profit

As a product manager creating a new product or evolving an existing product, you need to keep this product profitable in a competitive market.

3. Staying competitive

To keep the product competitive, a company has to invest money in new technologies and continually innovate their launches. Regardless of the target market, companies (large or small) must stay ahead of their competitors and ensure that their products are usable and needed by their customers.

What are the 3 types of product development?

A table filled with with papers, posters and post-its, rounded by people working in a project development

You’ve probably noticed that product development is not only for creating new products but also improving existing products. But these two types of processes are not the only ones.

New product development

Imagine that a company is creating a rocket capable of travelling at the speed of light. This product development process means that a completely new product will be created and launched on the market.

Of course, no one has ever designed this kind of rocket and released it, so the company doesn't have much leverage in creating this product because they don’t know whether the rocket will be accepted by the customers.

This project will require a lot of market research, design, prototyping, testing and a lot of marketing efforts to achieve their goal: creating a completely new, safe, usable and successful product for the market.

Product improvement

As a merchant, no matter what industry you belong to, you’re always looking for ways to improve your products to achieve better results in terms of profit and customer satisfaction, and that’s part of the product development cycle.

Through the product improvement cycle, you’ll be able to make incremental improvements to a product that's already on the market, adding new features, reducing costs to maintain profitability and making safety and quality adjustments.

This process is essential since all companies are always looking for opportunities to increase market share and to respond to the newest trends in the market or customers’ preferences.

Think of the car industry, for instance. Car manufacturers are constantly updating their models to meet competitors’ updates, making them safer, more modern and in line with consumer trends. 

Product line extension

Bags are one of the most desired items in the fashion industry. That’s why some companies sell the same iconic editions for decades on end. Whether it's Chanel or Hermès, they always maintain the quality of their deliveries.

Fashion is considered a form of self-expression, so changes, variations and new colors are needed for a person to express their daily mood through clothing.

Aware of that need, fashion retailers always develop new editions of their exclusive products in different colors and shapes, like ice cream flavors, so they can appeal to new customer segments or provide existing customers with more options to buyoptions that can match their needs or wants.

That's a product line extension: when a company creates a variation of the same product to create more options for their customers and acquire new customers that are interested in that specific model.

What are the 7 stages of product development?

Supermarket shelfs filled with different products and a woman in the middle with a shopping cart.

Product development is a workflow used to improve product management. It consists of seven stages that must be followed to make the final product releasable to the market without major issues that can affect its performance.

The stages might take place at the same time or out of order—it will depend on what project management strategy the company developing that product wants to use. Sometimes, more steps can be added in order to achieve other goals and cover other flaws.

To make sure we’ll meet customers’ expectation, we must follow seven stepssome of which have already been mentioned in this article.

1. Idea generation

Idea generation is the initial stage of the new product development project. Here is when an entrepreneur has a turning point and decides to innovate and think about releasing something to the market, sharing product ideas with the team.

This is the first step of every product development cycle and leads to the subsequent stages, when we start to listen to customers’ feedback, do market research, brainstorm and follow other idea development methods.

Your idea can come from anywhere, but it must be supported by usable data that shows it’s possible to make money selling this product.

2. Idea screening

In the early stages, once the first ideas and surveys are created, we need to be sure they are profitable and usable. So the idea screening step is perfect to evaluate the idea within the product team.

In this phase, we need to cover all the possible issues that can happen to our development and check if the product has enough market potential so we can measure profitability potential.

Every company has a goal when releasing a new product to the market, so we have to analyze if the features will make it possible for the team to achieve the goals specified in the direction the company’s strategy needs to follow.

3. Concept development

Every product has specific characteristics that help build a perception of it. Some are made to look cheap, some are made to look fancy, and others are made based on their usability. That’s what we call a product concept, and it needs to follow the company's strategy.

In this stage, product managers need to create a detailed concept development for a product. For example, if we’re talking about a skin care product, we have to know what are the benefits of buying this cream. Will it help my damaged skin to recover or will it only hydrate it? Which ingredients are present in the formula and how can they help my skin look healthier?

Looking beyond the benefits, the product concept needs to translate a message the company wants to convey to the market. Who are my potential customers? Do they intend to pay a considerable amount for this cream? How much are they willing to pay?

The concept doesn’t have to be the same forever. Some products have an initial concept until the concept testing phase, when the development team recalibrates the product strategy.

That info will help the next phase, design and prototyping. Now that we know what market share we want to target, we can insert features that match the product concept.

4. Design and prototyping

When it comes to design and prototyping, we have to make sure we’re creating an identity for the product in terms of features and branding. The design team will be in charge of creating the product’s structure, normally in a computer-aided design process.

Identity doesn’t mean just packaging but also other important features and characteristics that will make the product meet the expectations of the customers and stand out in the market.

The main objective here is to create a prototype that will meet the minimum expectation of use.

5. Testing

The prototype is ready to be tested! In this phase, the product development team needs to identify any design or usability-related issues and run market testing. The product will be released within a small group of test users on a beta version, so only those with access can try the features.

After a short period of time, the product team will meet with the testers and ask for any observations. If it’s a website or an app, the first thing we need to think about are bugs. If the product is food, we need to interview the people who tried it and ask several questions to understand the taste of the average client.

6. Launch

Product launch is the stage that involves more marketing efforts. Now is the time to invest money or time (or both) to show the world what you’ve developed!

You can start your advertising and marketing strategy by setting your product to distribution and disclosure. Through your market research and business analysis, you already know where your audience is and where you need to sell in order to make a profit!

Go to social media, use paid traffic sources to boost your results or start a marketing campaign on television. Everything depends on the other phases that you went through while creating your concept.

7. Post-launch evaluation

Now, we have a secret to tell you: the product development process is continuous, so when you release it, you’re definitely not finished.

The post-launch evaluation means that you’re going to see how the launch was by going over the metrics, customers’ initial feedback and possible issues, so as to measure the product’s success. 

This is one of the most important phases because now you need to maintain your goods on the market and ensure they can fight against their competitors. If you need to make some improvements later on, there’s no need to panic; it’s a super normal process to meet the demand.

What are the 4 types of products in product development?

It’s important to note that a product can fall into multiple categories and the category can change over time as the product evolves through product development and updates.

An illustration of two couples with smartphones looking into a game map representing the product roadmap.

Basic product

A basic product meets basic needs of consumers, like milk, meat or paper.

Augmented product

Different from a basic product, the augmented category has additional features and benefits. Remember when our phones were just used to make phone calls? Now we have smartphones that take photos, have apps and various features that help to add value to the product.

Expected product

The expected product is the one that needs to meet the basic requirements and features that are expected in the category. Have you ever thought about buying a car without doors and a steering wheel? I don’t think so.

Potential product

A potential product is a kind of product that doesn’t exist but is wanted by the customers. A potential product lives in the future and can be reached through research and technological development.

When you were a child, you probably dreamed about various items that are reality today, like self-driving cars and virtual reality devices, right? At that time, they were considered only potential products. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to have all the features to build these “future innovations”. Funny, huh?

Product development: conclusion

It's your turn! With all the knowledge passed on to you through this article, I'm sure you're able to get your ideas off paper and turn them into a successful product on the market!

Now that all the steps are clear, don't think the job will be easy. It takes a lot of research to achieve the expected results, but we’re sure that you’ve already improved your product management skills.

Now imagine if you were able to launch your first product and sell it on your online store within the Shoplazza platform? That would be cool, huh?

João Gabriel Freitas

About the author: João Gabriel Freitas

João Gabriel Freitas is a Content Marketing Specialist at Shoplazza. He's addicted to discovering new restaurants and loves to walk around the city. When he's at home, he's probably listening to music or trying to learn a new language.