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The only certainty in manufacturing is uncertainty. Markets change, consumers decide to purchase different products and economies fail. Unfortunately, modern manufacturers face an uphill battle in predicting products’ success, creation, funding, and shipping, but new technologies and platforms can help new and upcoming companies evaluate the potential success of their product through interactions with customers first. Enter: Product Manufacturing Ideation. 

Product Manufacturing Ideation: Powered by Social Media & Crowdfunding

For example, crowdfunding and social media, reports Joe Birkedale of Catalyst, can be leveraged to judge a product’s success in advance of the actual manufacturing process. As a result, inventory can be effectively controlled and costs kept down. First, shippers need to know a few things about how such technologies can boost and refine the manufacturing process.

Crowdfunding Can Determine a Product’s Likelihood of Success.

Crowdfunding is a simple solution to gathering funds for a given product, service or idea. There is no set maximum for most platforms, and new companies can provide as little or as much detail on their products as they prefer. While some may refrain from specifications, crowdfunding tends to work best and be most effective when the product is clearly explained and why a person would want to buy it. If the campaign meets funding goals, it provides a means of market testing. Of course, it provides another benefit as well.

Crowdfunding Eliminates Funding Risks in Manufacturing.

Many manufacturers end up with inadequate inventory because they lack the capital to order enough product. Alternatively, they may order a mix of products, but some do not sell and become lost costs. Crowdfunding eliminates the funding risks in manufacturing by giving companies the capital needed to begin the manufacturing process.

There are many ways to encourage visitors to crowdfunding platforms to donate, including offering sneak peaks, discounts or other extras, reports Rohit Bhargava. But, the key lies in using algorithms and analytics to determine a product’s proof of concept.

For example, did the money raised come from multiple donors, and if so, did the donors have any feedback? In addition to crowdfunding, product manufacturing ideation is also evolving in the wake of social media.

Social Media and Co-Creation Provide Additional Input During Design.

Social media, like crowdfunding, can be used by consumers during the product design phase. This co-creation can help companies adjust designs or product details to make them more likely to sell to consumers. After all, a person is more likely to purchase a product if they are involved with its design. While you may not get design feedback from every social media follower, you should follow up with all who comment or express their opinions.

This will help build rapport between your company and your target audience. Additionally, you should take a few steps to grow your followers.

  • Use visuals to give followers a real view into what you hope to produce and manufacture.
  • Ask for feedback regarding your designs.
  • Implement changes recommended by followers into your design.
  • Use multiple social media platforms to reach maximum exposure.
  • Do not get sucked into “troll traps” that include individuals looking to damage your brand.
  • Create a means of pre-ordering product through social media or connecting social media platforms to your website. This will also help provide proof of concept and validation of your plans.
  • If customers are already placing orders, use analytics to determine approximate conversation rates. This will help you determine the amount of product needed and make final changes to your design.

Social Media Marketing Is More Cost-Effective Than Traditional Mediums.

Another reason for using social media is its marketing potential. Unless you pay for advertising, you have the potential to create unlimited advertising campaigns by simply getting people excited about your product. Every share increases your product’s visibility to consumers, but if you do opt for advertising, make sure your content and posts are relevant, succinct and valuable.

Unlike traditional forms of advertising, social media can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Consequently, you can expand your target audience however you prefer.

New Software and Tech Can Be Used for Prototyping.

New technologies also include physical technologies that can be used to increase prototyping. For example, 3D printing can be used to create molds and prototypes within hours, if not minutes. As a result, you can produce test products at a much lower cost than traditional manufacturing. In addition, virtual reality can be used across your website or other internet presences to encourage customers to view products and prototypes in 3D without requiring a trip to the store. Such technologies can be leveraged to give consumers a more accurate view of the product than previously possible.

The Big Picture.

Manufacturers have an amazing opportunity to test and define what their customers want before they spend additional money on the actual creation of products. This will drive the costs of manufacturing down and encourage more customers to become involved with the design and sales process. Ultimately, product manufacturing ideation is easier and more cost-effective, giving manufacturers the opportunity to drive revenue even higher.