In the recent past, you have wished and been wished a happy new year. When was the last time someone wished you happy new product? In case you have to stretch your memory about your last new product launch, chances are your products are dated!
Let’s take a sock manufacturer as an example. Say, they have been happy with their business as the local market they have been supplying to has been kind to them. Business is steady and profits are healthy. They are unlikely to innovate, presumably somewhat oblivious that they are indeed part of the booming worldwide socks market. As retailers and e-tailers look for fresh new products to woo their customers, this sock manufacturer is likely to take a back seat.
On the global scene, the socks market is one of the fastest growing segments of the apparel industry with a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% at present. By 2023, the global socks market is estimated to be worth around the $11.6 billion mark. Specialty socks, athletic socks and women’s socks are some of the market segments likely to show growth not only in the Indian domestic market but also most of the rest of the world. Today’s net-savvy consumers base their purchasing decisionson what their socks can do for them, how they look and feel; and increasingly what they do or don’t do to the environment. So if your socks can claim special performance or comfort characteristics, come in clever designs and/or claim environmental benefits, you are likely to have a winner product.
Now innovations like that don’t come in easily unless you put in commitment and effort into your product development function. But it’s not as monstrous as it sounds either. Access to innovative yarns, knitting and finishing technologies, special performance effects together with a good understanding of the needs of the target consumer are enough to get you started. Along the path, you also need good project management to turn the ideas into reality.
Now why doesn’t everyone do it if it’s so easy, I hear you question. The key reason – inability to accept that future will not simply be a repetition of the past. Dreamers call it vision and practitioners turn that vision into reality.
Are you that practitioner? Assuming you are that symbolic “sock” manufacturer whose markets have served them well over the years, will you be taking the lead in 2018 in move towards introducing products that excite and delight the customers you currently do not have? It’s a decision that has far reaching effects on your own business.
We want you to envision your own plans for your own products for this year! Happy New Products!