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Sales Up? Sales Down?

827166_78358810Buried in recent media reports on the economy of are some key promising figures – good news and great news. The Good News: micro markets and impulse buys are currently growing trends. The Great News: in-store impulse buying is growing and even beating out online impulse buying. What this all means is that while the stores are having their overall troubles, the type of consumer buying that matters most to you is showing a strong & growing trend. The consumer product marketplace is volatile, and is giving vendors & retailers nothing but uncertainty. Those with stores dug into the ground will be sweating for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Do You Know How Much Work Goes into Making Products?

Land Rover LR3My business puts me in an interesting position. I’m in contact with manufacturers, wholesales, distributors and retailers. I get to see all sides of the coin (or coins in this case). One thing that fascinates me is how much work goes into developing and designing products. Recently, I heard that one of Microsoft’s product design gurus started teaching a class at Harvard Business School on product development and launched a new blog focusing mainly on technology products. Just reading the first post or two, you see how complicated this process is and how much work goes into it. This reminded me of something interesting that happened to me a few years ago… Continue reading

When You Download It…What Do You Really Get?

If you saw my previous post about DVD sales, you know what people in the home entertainment business have known for a while: sales of physical objects are falling (DVDs) and downloads and streaming are on the rise. digitaldownloadBut when you download a movie…what do you really get? Let’s take just one example: iTunes. When you purchase a movie on iTunes you are allowed to transfer it to up to five computers (plus some other Apple devices). Now, chances are, that is probably enough for you to enjoy the movie and maybe share it with family members. You can back up the movie on DVD, but, and this is interesting, only for data backup purposes – not for playback on a DVD player. Compare that with the old days when you went to the store and bought a DVD. You owned that physical object and the content on it. Continue reading

What Makes A Product “Work”?

In my line of business I come across a lot of products that, for one reason or another, just don’t “work” in the mainstream consumer marketplace. Three_betamax_vcrsI don’t mean they don’t function. I mean they don’t work. They don’t click with the marketplace. It is a very interesting combination of factors that makes a product succeed – or not. Maybe the product itself is flawed. That is always possible. Maybe the design of it is just so poor that it literally doesn’t do what it is supposed to. But in today’s computer-designed world, that happens less and less. Maybe the packaging is bad – unattractive or unappealing in some way. Maybe the price is too high – or even too low. (Sometimes a low price can signal to consumers – rightly or wrongly – that a product is low quality.) Or maybe the product simply didn’t get wide enough distribution to ever catch on. There are probably a dozen or more other reasons why a product didn’t really “work”. Continue reading