Do’s and Don’t in Product Designing

In the beginning of the project it was good because the design was clear to all. However, the new design was changed twice which confuses the design team and made them weary of continuing the project. The marketing team pre-printed some brochures though they are worried of the outcome. The sales team found out that they lost commissions, they passed the blame to the design team. When the people in management knew this they gnashed their teeth and in anger rained down memorandums in the company for the reason that their budget is running over.

Sounds familiar right? You might think that functionality is the main purpose of a product but the design of the product also plays a vital role. Although the process in design does not always run well and there are major things that needs to be fixed. The things below are the Deadly Sins of Product Design which you must avoid in order to keep your design beautiful and in line with its purpose:

Tunnel-Vision: Keeping up with a need while creating another one

A good concept in design certainly solves a problem and meets a need. It seems so easy to make a design but the important thing is you have to make one which will not create another problem. An example could be a pair of hedge clippers. Putting a safety lock into the cutters will solve any potential problem. However the user of the scissors should avoid the lock to slip into its original position which locks the scissors so he needs to hold it in a certain way which might not be too comfortable for the user. Be watchful on the design since it greatly affects the purpose of the product.

Glitter: Nice design but costly and impossible to make

Any person that loves designing products wants to have that brainstorming environment where spontaneity and art abound. Making new concepts of design is fun and not a boring one. You can have fun in design making but you need to stick with your goal and that is to make a good design. Generally, product companies go to design firms for the design of their products, however these design firms do not have technical expertise. In the end of it you will find that the beautiful designs that you have made are impossible to produce or they are very costly to make. Thus, it is important to know your budget and resources and use them wisely.

Imperceptiveness: The failure to produce a design that meets the user need.

The user should be comfortable of the design of the product. See ergonomics as well as human factors and study on how your product will be used by the users. Learn to know the requirements of the user. Ask the users to know what are their thoughts of the product. You need to study how will the user go with the product and note the efficiency of the product with each use. The method is good specially when you are planning to redesign a product or make a competitive product in the market. Good designs are those that have good aesthetics which users admire but actually they do not know about its efficiency. If the product will be more on design then it will result in the frustration of the user and the product will be short lived. Make your designs simple so that you can make the functionality of your product at its fullest.

Safety: A mixture of ideas for users safety

You will find many kinds of great ideas on the market but if you want to outshine those ideas you have to be unique. Stun the consumers with your great stuff that you made for them. Prior to making a new design for your product, analyze first the competition in the market. Make your research and know the likes and dislikes of the users who use that particular product and find ways on how you can make the product better. Add some features from other industries and create some ideas to make your product more appealing. See what are the trends in the industry right now and know how you can incorporate your ideas to come up with the next-big-thing. Show the consumers on how well your product is over the competition in the market.

Transience: Designing for today and for the future

If you get the current condition then its fine to make a design for the present. But come to think of the products that changed the world since they were not only made for the present but also for the future such as cell phones, coffee makers, computers, etc. If you want to make a good design then you need have to see the future. Do not be contented with your present good, look for ways on how you can improve your user-product interaction. Think 5 years from now and figure out what would it be. What could be the changes in the user requirements during that time? Where else can be your product be used? Can your product be used for a new purpose? Is there new technology available for your new design?

Egomania: Designing only for the sake of the design

The problem with search for ways to make our design good is that we want to make it look cool and fix those points but really not solving the problem. You need to meet the need first before going to the design. You will have the design as you continue to develop your product. You might find great designs as the one that equates to the success of the product but true success of the product means the product meets or exceeds the user requirements.

Distraction: Fixing the wrong problem

Designing a material needs time to come up with a unique art. However, you need to have control from your fluidity. Usually as the design of the product evolves, there are things that are discovered and things are fixed. This is the most useful part in the process of creation-but you have to use this well. You need to focus your attention always to the original design scope. Do not let your design affect the functionality of your product else you will not end with your product. Return to roots of it and ask yourself why the design is needed for the product. Let’s take for example the new air actuated corkscrew. What the designers have discovered was the problem is not the design of the corkscrew but how to get the cork from the bottle. Rather than making a new cork screw the designers just made the air pump corkscrew to solve the issue. By that example, we can learn that the wise thing to do is to be simple in our designs.

Pricing Your Products

In our scramble to find a way to offer the lowest prices on the Internet, we often overlook the basic steps that we should be taking BEFORE we even offer a product for sale.

We also overlook something even more important: you don’t HAVE to have the lowest price in order to make great sales. Following are some things I do before and after determining my bottom line. I sell by having products drop-shipped for my sites, which works VERY well, but these steps should be covered no matter your distribution method.

Should you be selling this item now?

Snowboards don’t sell well in the summertime. You may have a hard time moving a pair of roller blades in January. Don’t waste your time and your site space marketing products out of season. Ask your supplier for a little historical information regarding the best time to sell their products. Believe me, to everything, there IS a season. They have the figures. If they don’t want to share this info with you, find another supplier.

Identify your costs

Profit isn’t just the difference between wholesale and retail. You have other costs to consider. Think about every penny you spend in order to get that product to the customer’s door, and plan accordingly. For example, your merchant account probably costs you about 2.2% plus 30 cents per transaction. On an item you’ll sell for $20, that’s 74 cents. Don’t forget that calculation when pricing the item. Are you warehousing the item? How much is that space costing you per item per month? Did you spend money stocking up on shipping materials? How much per unit? What about advertising? Monthly hosting costs? You may need to project some estimated sales in order to arrive at some of these figures.

This may seem very complicated, but it’s really not. Just take the figures one at a time, and you’ll arrive at a wholesale cost plus an amount that, when added together, becomes your initial ESTIMATE of “cost of goods sold”. Identifying all your costs is critical if you want to price your products properly.

Check out the competition

Search on the item you plan to sell. Check out the competitors’ prices. But DON’T get caught up trying to beat the wrong competitor. You need to stay within your “venue”.

My stores are built in Yahoo Shopping (http://store.yahoo.com). 90% of my traffic comes from there. When I seek out my competitors, I look for other businesses like mine ONLY in Yahoo Shopping. Then I compare.

If I’m thinking about selling a product, and I get 1,500 hits in 400 stores on that item in Yahoo Shopping, forget it. If I get a hundred hits in 20 to 40 stores, I’ll look into it further.

So check out the competition, narrow down your product list, make a note of the five lowest prices you find, and then ask yourself another question:

Is anybody going to buy this thing?

This doesn’t have much to do with pricing, but it should be said.

When considering products, there’s unique, and then there’s too unique. Yak Cheese may sound like something that nobody else has for sale on the ‘Net. There’s a reason for that. If you sell more than 3 boxes a year, I’ll EAT some.

Unique is Rain Barrels made in Maine. It’s Exotic Cheeses imported from Italy. Silk Parisian Lingerie. Things you don’t see every day, but would be proud to give as a gift.

Then there’s “common”. Everybody and their grandmothers are selling Alabaster Figurines on the Internet. Do they sell? Sure, in a limited fashion. Do you want to sell them? Not if you want to make any real money.

In my experience, unique products, like Rain Barrels and Parisian Lingerie, DO sell. So do Coleman Sleeping Bags, and Conair Hair Dryers. BRAND NAMES sell. Look at your potential product, and ask yourself honestly if YOU would buy it on the ‘Net.

Set your price

Take the five lowest prices you collected on a product in your list that has survived the above. Calculate your estimated cost, then subtract that from the lowest price. If you don’t see at LEAST 15% profit, don’t bother.

If you do, there are a couple of ways to proceed. You can undercut the lowest price in your “venue” by a bit, and hope to “kick off” the product and get yourself noticed. Chances are, though, that the following week you’ll find that someone has undercut YOUR price by just a bit. That becomes a losing game.

I generally set up a couple of “loss leaders”. These are desirable items (in my general product line) that I sell dirt cheap just to bring in customers. Then I price the rest of my products at the second or third lowest price in my venue. The customers come in for the loss leaders, and then I can market everything else to them via email. I spend a lot of time making my site look better and easier to navigate, and pay a great deal of attention to my customers.

That makes me more reputable in the eyes of the customer. You’ll find that people don’t mind paying just a little more if they feel comfortable in your store. They don’t like to worry that they’re buying from a “hack” who may not deliver. Nothing says “hack” like a cluttered, confusing storefront.

Follow up

After you’ve sold an item for a month or two, revise that “cost of goods sold”. Measuring past performance is just as important as setting the correct price to begin with. If sales drop, recheck your competition. If that’s not it, drop the product, or shelve it until the “season” comes back around. Don’t get sentimental about your products, and NEVER just let your store sit there in limbo once it starts to make money. This is a dynamic business; stay on top of it!

A last word (or three)

Retail pricing on the Internet is so fraught with permutations that it would be impossible to cover everything here, even if I KNEW everything. The steps above are just the basics of a process that works for me. Hopefully something here will strike a chord and work for you as well. Patience and persistence are the keys to a successful Internet business, so hang in there, and don’t quit the day job for at least a couple of weeks. ;o)

I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.

The Definition of Productivity

People commonly understand productivity as a variety of things in a variety of fields. In a business that has closest relations to it, productivity is understood in various ways according to which aspect is studied. (According to the newest report, there are about twenty business-related definitions of productivity!)

The Concepts of Productivity

Most of the concepts have a relation to productivity between input and output to the systems studied. Productivity contains variables as well as other inter-relations within the group to which it belong(machinery systems, factory, office etc).

Also it is considered as the stimulus-response model in which inputs cause outputs. Generally, for the purposes of simplicity, we can understand it as the output divided by the input. But there is still something confusing on the point of this view.

In most fields, productivity is understood as “clearly the relationship between the resources which come to an organization system for a specified time period and the outputs which are generated with the resources generated for the same time period”.

The Variables of Productivity

In factories, for instance, productivity measures which are related to input factors (capital, labor, etc) are insufficient and at times could be misleading.

Input factors may not be studied while being isolated by themselves. Generally productivity improvement in a field is at the expense of the others. In addition, labor as a factor of input may be present in all stages. Moreover, management resources (another necessary factor of input) is not considered in these measures.

But the remaining of these concepts consider productivity as the relationship of input and output related to a system of production. This means that there are organizations working as physical systems with many variables as well as other inter-relations within.

The Objectives of Productivity

Experts Vrat and Sardina said that the people who will carry out measurements of productivity must have three objectives.

Firstly, potential improvements should be identified. Secondly, decisions should be made for reallocating resources. And lastly, it must present how the pre-set goals were determined.

Financial and Performance Productivity

There are some differences between two factors. Based the number of outputs produced, we can calculate performance productivity.

For instance: Company A produces 200 product units in a week, and the next week they are able to reach 220 units. That means the performance productivity has increased by 10%.

In comparison to performance productivity, financial productivity can be grouped by the value of output. Suppose Company X produces 200 product units in the one week as well as the next. And the selling price have raised from 1.00 dollar to 1.10 dollars per unit. Financial productivity has increased by 10%, however there is no increase in performance productivity.

This is sometimes misleading, too. In case the company sells products in 220 item at 1.10 dollars each, and the next week the price has fallen by 9.1%, the sale is still 220 dollars.

From a standpoint of finance, there is not any change even if there are some changes of performance point. (They produce extra 20 items)

So What the Definition of Productivity is?

Until now, managers are not able to determine what the measurements, improvements and definition of productivity. They also cannot define the measurement, improvement, concepts of performance as well.