How to expand your product range

5 NPD strategies


I hope your week has been good so far, and that the tail end looks promising.

Lately, I’ve been brimming with ideas. I’m an active learner, who reads watches and listens constantly, so it sort of goes with the territory.

In particular, I think about new products and services a lot.

For me, the ideas normally come when I can see a problem that needs solving. That’s one way to approach NPD but there are plenty of other ways to find your next product.

In today’s newsletter, I’m going to dig into some strategies that other brands have utilised. Maybe it’ll spark some ideas for your business.

Here’s what’s on the agenda today:

🧪 5 NPD strategies
🚀 How to build hype and reduce risk for a product launch


5 NPD strategies

New product development can be tricky. There’s always a risk involved when you invest in something new, but when you get it right, you reap the rewards – increased sales, customer loyalty, an ownable section of the market – it makes it all worth it.

There are some tried and tested strategies that you can implement to mitigate the risk. Here are 5 of them.

Improve an existing product
It’s in our nature as human beings to develop the world around us. From advancing technology to refining processes, we’re never satisfied with the status quo. That innate desire to tinker and make improvements is a useful trait to tap into when it comes to NPD.

Think about all the times you’ve bought an item and thought, “Wouldn’t this be better if it did X, Y, Z.” You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – just make it rounder / wider / more durable… you get the idea.

Apple is an example of a brand that innovates and improves constantly

Make it sustainable
Climate change is a growing concern and there is more demand than ever for businesses to do their bit. If you can offer a genuinely more sustainable product than comparable items, you’ll be on to a winner.

Bear in mind, if you go down this route, your research has to be robust – but the benefit (aside from the reduced environmental impact) will be customer advocacy. Document the process and create content out of it to help tell the story of the product.

Patagonia has built a brand around repairing their products rather than replacing them. Offering DIY guides and repair services, they’re walking the talk when it comes to sustainability.

Find a niche
We live in a world where people with the most specific interests can find their tribe online. Can you find a niche that aligns with your brand?

Creating a product for a special interest group may mean a smaller audience but it could also result in a loyal following. Just make sure it’s viable.

RUBY spotted a niche of people who love sewing, so released the patterns of some of their products. Brilliant.

Solve a problem
I touched on this earlier. An oldie but a goodie – this strategy will serve you well in NPD. Identify a common pain point, then solve it with your product.

Volvo demonstrates just how robust this strategy is. While we take rear windscreen wipers for granted now, in 1975 this was revolutionary.

This leads us nicely to the next strategy…

Create something for an underserved market
We’ve come a long way in celebrating diversity but there’s still a long way to go. There are huge demographics that don’t have the same options within mainstream markets. Consider whether your industry over-caters to a particular group, and whether there may be opportunities to create something for those who are missing out.

The beauty industry is a good example of this. Historically, mainstream beauty brands catered almost exclusively to white women. When comparing foundation shades, people of colour had a significantly smaller pool to choose from, which made finding a shade match almost impossible. Some brands recognised this and released a broader range, opening them up to a whole new audience.

Beyoncé Knowles’ new haircare brand, Cécred is designed for people with textured hair, which isn’t always catered for in the mainstream market.


How to build hype and reduce risk for your product launch

So you’ve landed on your new product, how are you going to launch it?

There are some good marketing tricks you can implement in ecommerce, outside of the usual advertising, PR avenues. Here are 3 of them.

Release it to your VIP customers first
A soft launch is a good way to test the waters before diving in completely. But doing it this way builds buzz around your product. Make your most loyal customers feel special by giving them first access. Then ask them for their feedback. You can use positive reviews to promote the product when you release it to the public.

Host a pre-sale
Again, this is a good way to gauge how successful a product will be before committing to final numbers. It also creates a feeling of exclusivity, allowing early adopters to take pride in being the first.

Team up with a likeminded brand or good cause
Collaborating with another organisation is a great way to expand your reach and spark intrigue. Beloved NZ chocolate brand, Whittaker’s has built a whole marketing calendar around this strategy, releasing collab after collab to great effect.

Depending on the nature of the collaboration, this can also be a way of splitting the investment, reducing the risk for each company.

The infamous Whittakers x Lewis Road chocolate milk – arguably one of the most successful NZ product launches in the last decade.


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Thanks for reading!

Until next time.

Alex Murton
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Studio Almond