Like Products Research:
To understand what we’re talking about, and how it pertains to the development of a retail product let’s first explore the term “like product” - Defined simply as: A product similar in function and consumer benefit. Notice it says nothing about size, shape, color or physical attributes -establishing a like product to yours is all about function and benefit – Not form.
In today’s day and age there are many ways to scour the planet looking for like products. The Internet is by far the most popular and far reaching, however, you can’t leave out catalogs and physically going shopping since many retailers have merchandise they only offer in their stores or in catalogs.
What we’re trying to do in this form of research is to paint a picture of the category where our product is going to live. As such, the collection of data about those products is very important. But what data should we collect?....I’m glad you asked.
This is a simple list of SOME of the things to looking for in collecting data on products - However, feel free to leave additional items in your comments so others may benefit as well.
-Name of the Product
-Description Packaging type/style
-Display (ie: Hook, Strip, Floor display….)
-Differences between that product and yours
-Things it does better – Things it does worse (be honest)
We went shopping, we dove into the catalogs and we've completed our online searches. Now we take the data that was collected and input it into a spreadsheet. This gives us a good overall look at the category we'll be working in and where our product falls within it. Remember, many things in life can be reduced to numbers. This data is no different. Often we can take information such as the price data and use it to walk backwards into the manufacturing and fulfillment costs we will have to meet on our own product. Other things the data can tell you are –
High/Low price points the market is willing to support.
Level of competition in that category for that product
Problems currently being addressed by the market, and those that are not.
List of distributors and retailers who handle those products.
If a display for that product is something that I need to develop in order to be competitive
If my product is addressing at least all the benefits of the other products and maybe more!
As we can see, this is a vital part of the research process in developing a new product. Without knowing where you are on the field , who the other players are, and where the ball is at any given time……it’s unlikely you will ever get across the goal line.