The “Eriba Rockabilly”, a triumph of clean elegant styling and simple minimal touring caravan efficiency. Read more at the bottom of this blog.
When we receive a sales enquiry from a new start up to create a new product and the potential client uses the words “we think the other products on the market are too expensive…” we know that the client has a problem already.
If they think that they are going to launch a new brand and product to market and think they are going to be competitive on price from the start – the chances are that they are not realistic about the scale of investment it would take to make a “cheaper” product from the outset.
If a trade customer says the same thing “we want to make a XYZ product and be 10% cheaper than a competitor’s product” we say to ourselves – that is perfectly reasonable and probably doable.
Why the difference?
An established brand has both the economies of purchasing power, established brand profile and sales channels in place. They have already made a name for themselves and are already being compared with the competitor’s products by price and features.
If we are asked to make a cheaper product for this client we start by analysing the clients positioning and existing product offering. Then we study the competitor product in terms of price, aesthetics, fabrics & features and look to find elements of the design that are ‘excess to need’ and elements that are not well made or executed.
For instance we may find that the competitor product is a really functional bag to carry a pet’s needs for a weekend away – it might be perfect for the user’s needs but it is a bit bulky, might also be badly sewn with plastic binding inside, made of stiff fabrics, have a really difficult-to-open zip opening, have unnecessary pockets on the backside, the colour maybe un-fashionable or mark easily, and even the way it is being described on it’s web shop maybe badly optimised.
So with this study we can then create a better product by revisiting the way the product operates, make it more compact, and make a key feature of how we have designed an alternative product to make it open easily, fold away quickly – in more appealing colours with wipe clean fabrics with more durable seams and binding and remove the pockets on the back. So by simplifying the shape and form we have made it easier and cheaper to sew.
In summary the product ends up intelligently designed, simpler to use in more attractive colours, using less fabric and more compact so it is cheaper to ship from factory to the sellers warehouse.
The product is now cheaper, offers more value, and is more competitive through a design focussed tighter on the users needs. Also the web site can then have video’s to explain the benefits of how it packs down smaller and is now lighter (than the competitors product) to carry. Win Win.
Now a start up brand has a different problem, a ‘new version’ of a competitors product like the above example is not enough to get them attention in the marketplace. What is the point of starting a business just to offer something that is just a bit different – that a design consultant like ourselves could ‘creatively design our way around’?
You need to be offering something that is tightly focussed upon solving a particular problem or need in the market place that is visually distinctive, value added and with a strong “story” about how it helps and charms the customer.
Ideally your new product has to be something that solves the customer’s problems so we focus tightly on what the customer needs, and what the problems they experience – so we can design a fresh new product that is stylish, lightweight, ethically produced and fits with the lifestyle of the customer better than any ‘old’ established solutions in the marketplace.
Sounds good yes? But your new product is unlikely to be cheaper because you will be probably wanting to use ethically produced fabrics, in smaller production runs with more cleverly thought out ways of carrying the product and to make it washable or even in a wider range of colours.
All of these clever new ideas will add cost, not reduce them. And you have not even got your sales channels and web site built yet – so all in all, no matter how cleverly we design the product – it will be more expensive than the established competitors.
So let’s not get hung up on costs. Let’s add value through intelligent design.
In a world where (almost) everything is going up in price un-predictably, let’s aim to create a product that is focussed on solving any problems the customer has and add value by offering a better more focussed product.
We do this by designing a product that is functionally pure, with a clean modern design, attractive colours, using fabrics that do less harm to the environment and very importantly creating for you customised branded hard-ware trims that feature your brand’s new visual signature adding delight and a sense of extra ‘polish’ and finish to your new product.
You only get one chance to make a first impression – so adding value at the launch of a new product and brand will help lay the profitable foundation of your brand for many years ahead.
PS. If you are wondering about the meaning and purpose of Eriba caravan picture – it is of a modern version of a innovative design from 1957. These caravans were ( Originally known as “Trolls” ) were designed with a ‘pop top’ roof to reduce drag while being towed, and feature a lightweight aluminium and steel ‘aircraft style’ structure for strength and durability. Inside, they are models of elegant simplicity with lots of storage and feature a highly efficient layout for living while travelling. Yes they are more expensive than mass produced ‘white box’ caravans but they hold their value and are even sought after as second hand models decades after they are made. You can read about the history of Eriba’s. And a user review here : https://northabroad.com/eriba-touring-troll-530-rockabilly-camper-review/.