Traditionally when people talk about product development stages there are typically five to seven stages. No matter the exact number of stages though, the product development process always includes the following: Ideation, product & industry research, planning (i.e.,3D design), prototyping, sourcing & partnerships, manufacturing, and commercialization. Now let’s dive into each of these stages with our step-by-step guide.
In this initial phase, you have come up with a product idea. You are either entering a market with a revolutionary product idea or you have found a way to resolve a common struggle with current available products. Either way, you are solving a problem that many consumers face and are now ready to bring that idea into existence. First things first though, a bit of research needs to be done.
Product and Industry Research
We know, research isn’t exactly the most thrilling step here. You have a great idea and want to start prototyping right away, but you are going to want to slow down for a moment and do your research. When it comes to research you need to check into a few different areas, such as: target market, current marketplace products, and intellectual property.
An intellectual property attorney will be able to educate and guide you on the patent process and devise a plan for your specific product and company goals early-on in the product development process.
Planning (3D Design)
While this is number three on your list, it can be done congruently to step two. The 3D design is a CAD file of your product. A CAD file is either a digital 2D or 3D model of your product. When you start reaching out to manufacturers, most of the time they will ask to see your 3D design before moving forward with a manufacturing consultation and quote.
In addition, having a comprehensive 3D design of your product idea will help communicate it effectively to an intellectual property attorney. The attorney will be able to see the functionality and aesthetics of your product—which will ultimately help guide your IP strategy.
Prototyping is one of our favorite phases of product development because it is a time where you get to have a physical object in your hand. You have the chance to test this product idea in the real world. A functional prototype is a great way to solicit feedback as well from potential customers to make sure that your product is in line with what they are looking for.
If you plan on looking for outside funding, having a functional prototype for potential investors is advantageous. It is one thing to pitch a product from a PowerPoint presentation, but a completely different experience to let people hold it and try it out themselves during a pitch.
Sourcing and Manufacturing Partnerships
By this stage you have worked out all of the design intricacies and you have a product design ready to be manufactured. Now is the time to meet with potential manufacturing partners to see where the best fit is. This is also a chance to decide on whether you want to manufacture domestically or internationally, both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. (Read more on those here.)
In this stage you will also consider shipping and warehouse storage as well.
At this stage of the product development process, you are nearing the finish line. You have successfully designed and tested your product, it’s time to manufacture. While your product is being manufactured you are hard at work building a buzz around its launch and looking into retail options and partnerships as well.
Congratulations! You have successfully developed and launched a new product into the marketplace. All of your hard work has paid off and you are now getting your product into the hands of eager consumers. It’s critical at this stage to educate your target market about your product and have open communication with them. Building brand loyalty is now your next goal.
It is important to note that no two products are alike, so the product development process will look different for every entrepreneur. A product development firm has experience launching a range of products and can help guide you through each phase of product development.
Have additional product development questions or want to dive further into an area on our step-by-step guide? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.