Product Development and Product Life Cycle: A Comprehensive Overview

For growing, prospering, meeting customers' needs, and gaining an edge over competitors, it is crucial for a business to introduce new, innovative products or advance the existing ones. The process of product development is vital for this purpose as it marks, the development and introduction of products in the market. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

So, today let's unlock the secrets to creating a successful product by understanding its two key concepts: Product Development and Product life cycle.

Product Development – A Process of Innovation:

Product development is a complex process, which is mainly characterized by “Innovation". It entails conceptualizing, designing, developing ad marketing new innovative products. It encompasses the whole cycle of the product, beginning with the idea generation and concluding with its commercialization.

Stages of Product Development:

The stages involved in Product development may differ from business to business but in general following events take place during product development.

It begins with ideation, In this phase the developers collectively Brainstorm and mind map some potentially creative ideas. After thinking of creative ideas, those ideas are then screened and finally evaluated. During the evaluation, product developers select those ideas that would correspond to their goals.

Then comes the crucial step of planning. In this phase, all the further steps are planned and their feasibility is determined. After planning, in order to scrutinize the design and functionality of the final product, a sample; technically called a prototype is produced.

The next step is marked by finding a manufacturer, who will source the developed product. Sourcing involves the supply of all the starting material for the finished product. Next to the sourcing comes costing, which involves the estimation of the product’s cost to determine the product’s feasibility and revenue. Lastly, the finished product is commercialized and brought to the market.

Why is Product Development Important?

This six stages product development process is important because it allows product developers to expand their business by introducing new innovative products, advancing the existing ones, gaining brand loyalty and generating more revenue.

Product Life Cycle - A Continuous Process:

The product life cycle is a never-ending procedure that a product undergoes from its conception till its maturity and downturn. This four step process is critically important for the developers as it helps them come up with new strategies for the product including its advertising schedule and price point. Furthermore, it is product life cycle which indicates the right time for the introduction of a new product in market.

Stages of Product Life Cycle:

Product life cycle can be divided into 4 stages: Introduction, growth, peak, and trough. A product has to initially undergo the idea generation, designing, and development phases before it reaches the product life cycle. For a successful product it is necessary for developers to use different business tactics and strategies in different stages of product life cycle, which makes this process of great value.

1. Introduction :

In this stage, by keeping in mind the needs of consumers and the market demand, new and more innovative products are introduced in the market. The aim of developers behind the introduction of the products is to increase their market shares as well as gain an edge over the competitors.

For the introduction purpose, product is commercialized and various promotional strategies are used by the developers.

2. Growth:

Growth is the second stage of the product life cycle. During this stage, the idea behind the product's introduction gets noticed and appreciated, which ultimately increases sales of the product. On the other hand, developers also gain the trust of the customers hence strengthening brand loyalty.

3. Peak:

After the growth stage, comes the peak stage. This stage is characterized by "market saturation". During peak phase, the efforts of developers pay off and the product hits its maximum level resulting in a significant increase in revenue, sales and market share of the business.

4. Trough:

Trough is the waning phase of the product life cycle. No matter how innovative and advanced product developers introduce, there comes a time when its sales begin to fall and the revenue start to decline. At this point, developers usually minimize or completely stop the production of that certain product as it is no more profitable for them. After hitting the trough phase, product developers again begin their magic from the very first step and the product life cycle goes on.

How is The Product Life Cycle Important?

Product life cycle is beneficial as it helps the developers to effectively analyze all the stages a product undergoes from its production to its trough. By properly analyzing all these stages, developers can come up with such strategies that may help them to increase the peak stage, and also show them the right time to start working on the next product.

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