By Sam Vandervalk
Starting product research:
When my business partner Marc and I first talked about which products we were going to sell, we wanted to make sure 1. there was demand and 2. that the product was unique. We ended up starting with 9 products under 2 companies. The two that were the most unique were 1. Active Atom’s High Potency Turmeric and 2. the Evercore Low Back Support.
So why did we start selling 9 products if only 2 were very unique? Good question. Marc had gotten advice from Amazon selling videos along with a couple other people that having more products was better. I can tell you right now that it doesn’t work from our experience, so just focus on products that are extremely unique.
So how did we decide on which products to sell? At first we were going to focus on just selling supplements since 1. Nutrition was something Marc and I were both keen on and 2. Many people had done quite well starting nutrition companies. Marc and I spent about 6 month combing through research and finally settled on Turmeric since it had by far the most research backing it up. Most of the claims made by supplement companies about benefits of their supplements was based on biased research. So Marc and I settled on on the highest potency formula we could find with the most amount of curcuminoids per capsule, 15X stronger than the top selling Turmeric on Amazon.
Product #2 was the Evercore Low Back support. Marc was a physical therapist at Sharp and was used to recommending the McKensie Lumbar roll. How ever this roll was not that well made and Marc looked for a few other lumbar supports to see if there was a better product. He ended up developing the Evercore low back support made with stronger material, a buckled strap, and 3 sizes/foam densities.
The thing about getting a product that is entirely unique is that it requires some testing. The first lumbar roll about a month before the large pallets of lumbar rolls was going to get shipped out. This gave us enough time to give out a few for friends to try out. We learned that the connection between the strap and cover was showing signs of strain after a month of use so we had the whole shipment sent back to the manufacturer so they could reinforce the lumbar support. We were very happy with the result. Now we just had to sell them.
Marc will be the first to tell you that he hated selling. My role in the company from the outset was just in strategic planning along with marketing advice. So that meant that little of the product got sold for the first year. Also, both of us had friends that encouraging us to go down the road of selling programs through video. This seemed to make a lot of sense as the margins could be very good. But the problem is that most people seem to need a bit of pushing to do their programs and were also not used to buying programs online. Marc built up a large Instagram and Youtube following but still the video courses didn’t sell.
So we turned our focus back on selling products including Turmeric and the Lumbar roll. Within a few months of changing focus both products started selling as we knew they would. Because they are unique and have clear competitive advantages it is much easier to distinguish ourselves from the competition. So my advice to you is 1. Sell a product that is unique and 2. Make sure that product has your brand on it so all your hard work marketing has a lasting payoff.
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