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How To Differentiate and Make The Best Products in 2020

 There used to be a time when you could just throw a logo on a product, list it on Amazon and make money. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. 

With over 100,000,000 products on Amazon, each market is only going to get more competitive as we head into 2020 and beyond.

It is more important than ever to differentiate your products from the herd of sellers on Amazon and ensure you stand out in your respective market. 

Whether you're looking to start a private label brand or just create one successful product, Let’s examine how you can differentiate & bring the best possible products to market. 

These are the same principles I’ve utilized to gross millions of dollars and counting by bringing products to market.   

The Importance of Customer Reviews 

When creating a product to bring to market, you should always do so with the customer in mind.

If you want to win in the long-term, your product has to be the best possible solution for its intended use. 

The easiest and most reliable way to learn what customers need or want is to simply listen to them, by digging deep into customer reviews.  

Reviews are gold on Amazon because customers are voting with their purchases and subsequently their words, in the form of reviews.

Whether customers leave reviews telling us what they like about a product or what they don’t like, we can learn from each scenario and use it to our advantage. 

Looking at the negative reviews can give us an idea of the unfilled needs in a given market, while positive reviews are indications of the needs that are absolutely necessary for customers.

 What can we learn from reviews on Amazon?

  • Target Market: Who's using the given products?
  • Use Cases: Are customers using products for a specific use case?
  • Negatives: What don’t they like or wish the product has?
  • Positives: What do they like that we need to keep?

In order to get the most useful information, you should aim to only look at verified purchase reviews when possible. This means the reviews are not fake and the customer paid at least 50% of the retail price. 

Reading reviews from your target market or competitors is a useful and effective strategy for finding unsatisfied needs, important product features, and required needs directly from the customers themselves.

Build Insightful Personas

One of the most important factors that led to my success in creating a winning product, was creating a  mental avatar for my competitors as well as my customers.  

When you identify who your competitors are, you learn who they are serving in the market and who they are not serving.

This allows you to find a gap in the market where you can come in, add value and differentiate yourself with a competitive advantage. 

Building your consumer persona and clearly identifying the groups you are serving is one of the most important steps, in setting yourself up for success while creating products. 

A customer often makes purchases based on trust. By building customer personas, you can present yourself to shoppers in a way that communicates to them you understand their pain points or needs.  

This genuine understanding of your customer’s concerns will, in turn, increase the chances of buyers exploring what you have to offer and leading them to likely buy from you over the competition. 

You can find out a lot of critical insights about your customers during the process of building buyer personas.  

 What can customer personas teach you?

  • Background: What is a customer's background?
  • Demographic: What demographic are you serving?
  • Customer Needs: What are your customer’s needs?
  • Expectations: What needs and expectations should your product fulfill?

Getting a clear and vivid understanding of your target consumer will allow you to best fulfill their needs and position your product as the best option on the market.

Building an insightful buyer persona can also serve as a roadmap during your product development stages. 

Fulfilling Consumer Needs Are The Key To Success

Identifying your consumer needs is one of the most important steps in creating successful products and as a result, solutions for your consumers. 

To be successful on Amazon, you want to be able to fulfill customer needs as best as possible.

There are general needs like time, utility, self-expression, and price that can play a key role in your product development decisions.

It is important to understand how products are used by customers in order to provide the best solution. Does it improve the customer experience? How reliable or durable is the product?

Although you don’t need to fulfill every customer’s needs, understanding the different types of customer needs will allow you to enter markets in which you can provide the most value to the most customers and gain a competitive advantage in the process.  

If you don’t differentiate your product from the competitors, you will then be forced to compete on price and reviews - this is a losing long-term strategy on Amazon. 

There are some general ways customers psychologically approach their product buying decision. Reverse engineering this process will allow you to identify the customer needs that are not being met in a given market.

General Customer Needs

  • Time: can you use Amazon Prime to your advantage and deliver in 2 days when your competitors are using seller fulfilled which takes 5-7 days? Can you make the product more convenient or efficient for the customers?
  • Utility: Are the customer's primary needs to achieve a goal or a specific function? Does your product fulfill a specific: functionality, experience, reliability, or compatibility?
  • Self Expression: self-expression needs are relative to every individual and can be endless. This strategy is often the easiest and best-starting place for beginners on Amazon.

Because the buyer’s needs are different there is no best answer or solution which means you can come in and compete in a given market.

For example, buyers looking for gifts choose products, not based on utility such as functionality or compatibility, but rather based on designs and individual self-expression. 

In some markets, the utility is the only important factor buyers look for. You should avoid these markets because there is no room to differentiate from the competitors.

As previously mentioned, competing on price and reviews is not the game you want to play on Amazon, especially as a beginner. 

The end-goal of identifying consumer needs is to exploit markets where you can come in and add value in a way that differentiates your products from the competition.

Finding markets with a multitude of needs such as self-expression makes it easier to compete as there could be multiple winners. 

Know Your Competitors 

Researching your competitors within a given market will allow you to find unmet needs where you can exploit and add value to differentiate yourself. 

When you identify who your competitors are, you also by default learn who they are serving in the market and who they aren't serving. 

Going in-depth and analyzing your competition will give you a clear understanding of who you are competing against. 

Here are some important criteria to evaluate:

  • How old is this seller or the company?
  • How big is their team?
  • What are they good at? bad at?

Knowing exactly who your competitors are will allow you to serve the best niches most efficiently. This will also you to get a competitive advantage over the competition. 

Absolutely Required Consumer Needs

Learning to identify the absolutely required product needs can simply make or break your experience on Amazon.

While some needs are a great add-on that allows you to differentiate your product from the competitors, some are absolutely required and a must-have. 

Required consumer needs will usually fall under the utility framework where customers need a product for a specific: functionality, experience, or compatibility. 

One of the most reliable ways to identify the absolutely required consumer needs is by digging through verified buyer reviews on Amazon. From this feedback, we can learn: the product use cases, target market, features customers like, and features they wish the product has. 

Another strategy is to look and see if multiple customers are talking about the same benefits with respect to that product. If so, we know that is an absolutely required need we must fulfill. 

You can also identify the absolutely required needs a product must fulfill by simply looking at all the products in a given market and finding the features these products have in common.

Even if no one is talking about specific features, we know if every product in that market has the same features, the feature is also required for your product. 

Niche-Specific Consumer Needs  

In order to create the best possible product, you can dig into niches and identify features and benefits that are key to success in a given niche. 

Researching already existing buyer reviews within a given niche will highlight the unique features people are commenting about, which is an indication that feature is important for fulfilling a need. 

Comments such as “ I wish this ___” or “I love using this for ___” tell you the needs you can fulfill or improve to differentiate yourself and gain an edge in a given niche.  

By building up a list of these use cases and request from the customers, you can get a clear understanding of consumer needs that are important for specific niches.

Think logically and use your brain to identify niche needs in a way allows you to add value and differentiate from the competition. 

Create The Best Possible Product 

After you do sufficient research and take into account all the key factors, it’s time to create your product and bring it to the market. 

When creating your product, choose the best combination of the required, desired, and unsolved consumer needs to fulfill. This will allow you to not only create a quality product but also different from the competition and out-sell them. 

Successfully doing research could lead you to create 1 or multiple products in a given market. Approach this decision from an informed viewpoint backed up data from your research and hypothesis. 

When creating your products aim for premium quality products. Ther are many benefits to having a premium product in any given market from higher perceived value, higher customer reviews, and higher profit margins for your business. 

For example, during the solar eclipse, while the average price point in the market was around $2 for glasses, I came with premium quality goggles and was able to charge $30. I was able to generate 300-500 sales per day while charging this premium price.

More importantly, because I created a quality product, I was able to make customers happy and get overwhelmingly positive reviews which in turn led to more sales.

Manufacture Your Products 

The last step in creating a successful product to bring to market is to get your product manufactured. 

Before contacting manufacturers, understand what to look for in order to find great companies that can successfully create your product 

Just as importantly, make sure you communicate clearly and describe the product in detail to your manufacturer.

Your goal is to ensure you solve the needs you identified through your research. 

Keep in mind, when creating successful products quality is simply non-negotiable.

If you are to create the best possible products and succeed in any market, you must have the highest quality products that also solves the customer needs better than your competition. 

Before choosing your manufacturer, make sure to do extensive supplier research so you limit your risk and ensure that they have the capacity to create the best possible product. 

Some things to look for in manufacturers:

  • Suppliers with 5 years or more of experience selling
  • Verified suppliers gold suppliers with Trade Assurance ?
  • Past history of exporting to the U.S.

Another important aspect of the manufacturing process is ordering samples to ensure you are satisfied with the product before making a bulk purchase. Never take a manufacturer’s words or product phots, always verify yourself. 

 Related post: Buying From Alibaba: Amazon Seller's Guide To Sourcing

Creating Quality Differentiated Products 

Follow these principles outlined above to ensure you create products that won’t fail. The

  • Use customer reviews to your advantage and identify important consumer needs in a given market.
  • Build customer personas to help identify product use cases and your target market.
  • Make sure you fulfill all the possible consumer needs including ones currently not being met in the respective market.
  • Know your competitors and figure out un-made products and un-met needs, based on what they are currently offering.
  • Ensure you meet the absolutely required consumer needs at a bare minimum in a market you enter.
  • dentify nitch specific consumer needs and fulfill them to help you get a competitive advantage over your competition.
  • Choose a combination of consumer needs from the desired to the required and create the best possible product with the highest quality.
  • Manufacture products that solve all the needs identified from your research without compromising quality.
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