Research, research, research! I get asked often from aspiring and established pet professionals different questions about the industry, “how can I..., where can I..., what do you think of...,” you can fill in the blanks in every context of a budding pet business. But one thing I always wish more aspiring pet professionals would do - is a ton of research, before launching their product. Are you launching a ‘new’ product? Yes? Never been done before? Ever? Are you sure? Now if you know me, you know I am a cheerleader for our amazing pet industry – and I would never ever dampen anyone’s dreams on their product or business. But I would tell them to do research, and a lot of it. You might have a really great idea, or variation of something that is already out there, and yours is the ‘best ever, much better quality, all natural,’ whatever it is. But how flooded is the market or area of the pet industry you are introducing your product into? Do you know? Do you really know? Are there other products similar to yours? If so, how similar, how well known, what makes your product so much better that you will be able to convince buyers to now start buying yours? Recently a small-scale pet product manufacturer emailed me with a bunch of questions about their product that has been out for about 3 or 4 years. In theory, it’s a neat well-made product, in reality; there are already products similar to theirs that are less costly for the consumer. I wondered, did this entrepreneur do any research at all before going through costly process of developing, getting the product made, distributing it, getting it into stores, promoting it, website, legalities, and everything else that comes along with launching a new product and business. While visiting a pet retail store recently that carries this product, I asked the storeowner, does this product sell? The storeowner said, “Nope. I bought a case and not one has sold.” If your product is on the store wall or shelf next to similar products, how will yours stand out? I still think this particular pet product could do ok, if marketed the right way, if the product was in front of the right consumer audience, which again would take some research on the pet product manufacturer’s part. A lot of times, a new pet product is developed because there is a need for it, or you made one for yourself and friends and family members start asking you for one, and there may be a market. And that product may truly fill a gap or void in the market – but you still have to do your research. Some questions you may want to ask yourself and be honest, as it will help you and your pet product in the long run:
- How crowded is the market my product would be considered part of?
- How many similar products out there do the same job as my product?
- How is my product, different or better than the others?
- What about my product stands out and offers consumers a better option?
- How can I keep my product new and exciting for pet owners?Are there other products I could add to my line to enhance how my product works?
- What can I fine-tune about the product or what else can if offer to stand out from the sea of pet products?