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Come Up with New Product Ideas or Features

It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling, innovation is the only way to stay competitive. Coming up with new product ideas or features that set you apart from the competition is how companies like Apple have become dominant in their markets.

Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007 and it revolutionized mobile phones. It was the first multi-touch interface with features like the pinch-to-zoom, scrolling, and multitasking between apps. While breakthroughs like this aren’t necessary to stay competitive (though they sure are nice), staying one step in front of the competition is key to grabbing up market share.

Be Weird

Nordstrom has recently introduced, the best word I can use is unique, items of clothing to differentiate themselves and stand out from other clothing retailers. The most (I’ll say it again) unique product is the “knee window” jeans.

Window Knee Jeans

They are certainly innovative, nobody has anything sold anything like them before. Are they successful? It’s hard to say, I know I certainly won’t spend $95 on them. Okay, so maybe these jeans aren’t going to sell out and push Nordstrom’s bottom line to the next level, but do you know what these special jeans did? They brought a LOT of attention to Nordstrom. Maybe that was their plan?

Follow Trending Topics

Perhaps being outlandish with designs or features is a good way to bring about brand awareness, but to really explode in sales, a more practical approach is necessary. Remember the “cash me outside” girl? Well, “cash me outside” t-shirts are now a staple in online retail, even if it’s a brief high. Keeping an eye on trending topics and being the first to introduce a product about that event is a great way to catch the eyes of consumers.

Check Out the Competition

See what your biggest competitors are selling, featuring on their websites, and collecting the most reviews. Keeping an eye on competitors can help you at minimum keep up with them, but don’t be afraid to build on their ideas. Certainly don’t steal them, but get inspiration from their successes.

Find Inspiration Elsewhere

Don’t limit yourself to your industry to search for inspiration for new products. There’s a big, bright world out there with a lot of ways to find the encouragement for new ideas that you need. 

Ask Customers What They Want/Need

Of course, you can always ask your customers what features or products they want or need. Finding out their story may be the key to adding useful features to your product. Ask them how they found your company, why they chose to purchase from you, and what problems you solved for them. Getting into their head about the purchase process could open your eyes to issues they face that you hadn’t considered before.

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Duane “DJ” Sprague is a conversion rate expert, a Certified Behavioral Design Coach by the Online Influence Institute, and a certified expert by the Behavioral Design Academy, the Mindworx Academy, and the Interaction Design Institute. As CMO of a billion-dollar national franchise, he leveraged the power of social proof and online reviews to improve SEO and accelerate growth, as he developed and managed a comprehensive online reputation management strategy that spanned nearly 200 websites. He has written for Forbes, Small Biz Daily, and several industry trade magazines, contributed to several books and university course packs, and is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as a subject matter expert. He holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and has received the 1st Place Gold Award in a global integrated marketing competition. Duane is the CMO of Shopper Approved, where he works with thousands of ecommerce websites to improve their SEO and CRO.

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