Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Test Marketing New Products

According to Wikipedia, test marketing is a small-scale product launch used to determine the likely acceptance of the product when it is introduced into a wider market.  This is a practice I highly recommend.  Items that I thought would be wildly popular because I liked them and was having fun making them have been sitting in my inventory for two years and are destined to be taken apart this year so their components can be used in new projects.

Believe me, there is great value in testing the viability of a product before spending lots of time and money developing it.  Many a company have gone under quickly by not employing this strategy.  You want to make absolutely sure that your product is something people want to buy.  It's a fact that four out of five new products fail to catch on and sell.

Your test market should not be too limited.  Some items don't budge at one event but will fly off the table at the next.  I typically carry a product for a year and if there is no significant movement, I re-evaluate whether I want to give it a second year.  Many items never make it to the second year.  I'm not going to give valuable display space to something that is not selling.

Online aution sites could be an inexpensive way to test market products also.  Ebay & Etsy are the main ones that come to mind but there are many others, possibly some more focussed on the type of product you are creating.  iCraft is a Canadian site similar to Etsy and ArtFire is another such auction site.

I've had some real lemons in the last couple of years....treasure necklaces, pocket meditation beads and tri-bead pendants created with beautiful lampwork beads made by Canadian artists.  Last year, I carried pewter pins & pendants in pagan & Celtic designs that did not catch on either.

There are a number of reasons some products just don't work out....the cost might be prohibitive, the idea is too different for people to accept, a design flaw, etc.  I cut my losses, learn from my mistakes, and move on to newer, better things!  And there are plenty of new products and designs coming in 2011!!

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