I’ve sold close to $1 million in branded products to date. Along the way, I also learned how to create a product that stands out by developing or selling:
- Major consumer electronics in 1500+ retailers
- DTC fashion and multi-million accessories a year
- High 8 figures in CPG (consumer packaged goods), wellness, and cannabis products
Today we’re going to focus on products for DTC entrepreneurs:
Why Do Brands Fail?
Brands fail because their products don’t resonate. Drop-shipping products or ordering straight off Alibaba won’t get long-term success. You need to create a product that stands out from the crowd and draws your customer in.
Products that succeed need to be special. This is a mix of:
- Tangible factors (what the customer can see and touch) to optimize the product experience
- Intanglible factors (how your brand makes the customer feel) in a way that adds value to the purchase.
10 Steps to Create a Product That Stands Out
- Start with your chosen product niche or category
- Pick 3-5 of these things, not just one
- Pick some of BOTH tangible and intangible
- Ensure you articulate the end benefits of these features to your user from their perspective in your marketing
Step 1: Enhance the User Experience
This is the #1 area to focus on (and also the hardest).
Can your product solve something for a user that makes their experience in your category better than ever?
Step 2: Highlight Material Differences
Can using better materials make the product better, or more unique for a specific user group?
- Arcteryx, using Goretex for true waterproof gear
- ROA, making shoes from Kudu which is ultra-strong and ages incredibly
- ATHR Beauty, vegan cosmetics
Step 3: Make Your Product Stand Out Visually
There is a whole cottage industry of making products that just look good on social media or by comparison
- Rimowa, the translucent iPhone case
- Yeti, the trademark turquoise container design
- A host of IG/TikTok products
Step 4: Tighten Your Niche
Whatever you’re creating, zone in on a smaller demographic– occupation, gender, race, background, region, belief system, taste etc.
Make a product that someone feels was really made specifically for them.
- Bumpsuit, fashion and jumpsuits for maternity
Step 5: Create a Complimentary Set of Products
Many new products come out as one thing, which consumers can look at as “fly by night”. But a set of products that work together, and provide a roadmap to better solve the user’s pain points over time, is a differentiator.
Step 6: Offer Digital Downloads
This is extremely overlooked. If you sell a normal product, but add free digital content… You’re providing more value than the competition
- Sports equipment + 100 training videos
- Culinary equipment + recipe PDFs
- Camera lights + content tutorials
Step 7: Solve the Customer’s Pain Points
Making products more reliable & sturdier solves a huge pain point for many products. Spend more to make your product extremely reliable.
Then back it up with a money-back guarantee 2x the competition, or even a lifetime.
- Osprey hiking gear and backpacks
- Le Creuset hand-crafted ceramic and cast iron cookware
- Cutco knives and cutlery
Step 8: Sell Customer Service
Especially for technical, complex, or very frequently used products, sell customer service.
If you have the same product as the competition, but you answer the phone immediately 24/7, you can win.
- Zappos retail store
Step 9: Allow Variants and Customizations
Allowing your products to be customizable, and having many different versions (especially appealing to niches, licensing, etc.) gives brands a way to stand out by making customers feel like what they buy is unique to them.
- Frasier Sterling handmade jewelry
Step 10: Establish Your Community
Nothing helps a brand resonate more than an army of customers or fans acting as evangelists, and making new potential customers feel they’re buying into more than a product, they’re buying into a place they belong.
If you’re looking to find the perfect product to launch, here’s my factory connects master thread on Twitter…
If you apply multiple of these principles directly to a great vendor, you can make something great.
Hopefully this got your wheels turning!
Catch the Builders.Build podcast with my best friends, Colin and James, to discover more about our individual TikTok perspectives and entrepreneurial journeys across brands, products, websites, and more.
Thank you for reading this guide to create a product that stands out!
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