According to a poll of participants during our most recent webinar, 39% of respondents see introducing new product categories as the most significant business opportunity for them in the near future.
New categories can help to fill the gaps in a brand’s product portfolio, bolster the brand’s reputation, and expand their potential customer base, so it’s important that you continue to diversify your assortment and bring innovative new products to market. However, doing this well isn’t easy, and failing to launch new categories effectively can produce the opposite effect of the benefits I just described. To successfully introduce new product categories to your brand’s arsenal and go to market with the utmost confidence, you need a robust, multi-category product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that helps you achieve three things.
Speed to market is now the number one challenge for retailers. If your brand is launching a new product category, chances are you’re facing stiff competition (especially in the highly competitive sporting goods market), so going to market at the right time is critical. On top of that, a new product category means new collaborators, new processes, and possibly new materials and sourcing decisions for a design that hasn’t yet been market tested. That’s a lot of variance for a product that could have a huge future impact on your brand.
By improving collaboration and streamlining the design and development process, retail PLM solutions enable you to create, launch, and manage new product categories at unprecedented speeds. With iterative design tools like digital storyboards and augmented reality further accelerating the way that concepts come to life, speed to market will continue to be the top differentiator for trailblazing multi-category brands.
Apparel and footwear brands are often known for the level of quality in their products, and new categories must live up to those expectations or risk facing consumer backlash. So how can brands guarantee that shoppers are getting the same level of product quality whether they are buying a hoodie, athletic shorts, or a new shoe design?
Retail PLM makes that job much easier through SKU and specification management capabilities, allowing you to create different types of product specs to meet your requirements. From there, you can locate and filter suppliers who fulfill those requirements and source materials from vendors that offer them at the most reasonable cost. That means you can guarantee the quality that your customers expect while keeping the costs of new categories controlled, all within a singular platform.
What every brand launching a new product category wants to know is – how will it be received? Getting these kind of valuable insights is easy if you have the right tools to obtain them. Retail PLM is built around the transparency of product design and development data, so incorporating customer insights into the mix is a logical next step to inform the look and feel of new products. PLM solutions that can quickly integrate Voice of the Customer data, whether from external partners in-store or through social media, are extremely valuable when bringing new categories to market.
The ability to deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time is a challenge that all retailers face. By leveraging the capabilities of retail PLM, you can achieve peak performance for new product categories this season and next.
Interested in learning more about how Retail PLM helps brands deliver quality, innovative products to the right customers at the right time? Download this free eBook now.