Digital Entrepreneur

A Product That Sells Itself: The Complete 2021 Guide To Success

Everyone wants to sell, but building a high demand product that sells itself is the central part of the equation.

Like many things in the world, a product starts as an idea. And for the product to sell, the idea has to be of good quality. We measure the quality by how much an idea considers a targeted audience and how it will cater for their needs.

Having said this, you now might be thinking about a brand persona, and you are not wrong. Yet, I would like you to move away from that because first, you need to use yourself as a persona to generate product ideas.

Look at your life and take note of anything it's missing. Ask yourself what crazy inventions you would have if you had the magic to conjure up anything you wanted. Use this process to come up with product ideas targeted at solving your pain points. Figure out what the world is missing through your own needs, and that is the first step to building a product that will sell.

Build a product that sells - STANDOUT DIGITAL 2021 Complete Guide
Build a product that sells

Shaping your product idea

After you come up with a product idea, tear it apart to determine its selling strength. 

A strong product will offer an identifiable benefit to customers. It will also be compelling while achieving the following:

  1. The product solves a pain point that happens frequently.
  2. The product is available at an attractive price (From expensive to affordable)
  3. The product is appealing to consumer's emotions
  4. The product offers some form of entertainment 

It is vital for a product to achieve these 4 strengths if nothing like it has ever been created before.

Without social proof, these strengths are what will compel customers to buy a new product.

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What helps a product sells itself?

A product that will sell itself must be compelling its unique value proposition.

A unique value proposition is the core benefit of a product. It can be anything from newness, uniqueness, experience, price, convenience, performance, rareness etc. 

A product is also compelling because it is culturally acceptable. This depends on when and where it is released. In other words, a product sells because society is ready for it.  

Product value proposition is important to help the product get sold
Product value proposition

Cell phones as a practical example

Cell phones became popular in the early 90s. In a way, this means that society was ready for this technology.

The first prominent feature on cell phones is the SMS feature. A while after the SMS feature was introduced, IBM created the first touchscreen phone. It had an email feature, calculator, sketchpad and other built-in apps.

Cell phones were providing a unique experience compared to telephones. With an SMS feature, cell phones offered a new and convenient value to consumers.

Consumers well-receiving both the cell phone and the SMS feature also paved the way for society to start opening up to more cell phone features. Today, many of us can't imagine life without our smartphones. They make life so much easier with their convenient features.


How to break into an emerging or existing market?

If you think about it, you will notice that cell phones are a foundation that enables a big market to be what it is. Many developers can create applications that work through these smartphones.

Even so, not every application created will be a success. But those that are a success usually bridge an existing gap in the market.

Whatever you are making, your product will sell if it is better than what is already out. It should bridge an existing gap in the market you serve.

Product that sells itself - STANDOUT DIGITAL 2021 GUIDE.
Product that sells itself

iPhone as a practical example

Apple was founded in 1976, but the first iPhone was made in 2007. Want to know why? Because at that time, society was ready for an iPhone product. And there was a market with a solid foundation to cater to.

In his own words, Steve Jobs said, "I am going to wait for the next big thing". This was his answer after being asked, "So what are you trying to do in the long term? What is your strategy?"

What you should take from this is that you should study the market and create for the market.

Another thing we can all learn from Steve Jobs is his love for Apple. He loves what it is, what it stands for and the products it sells.

For this reason, it is crucial that you create a product in an industry you love working for. 

Always start by familiarizing yourself with products that already exist. Doing so, note any available room for improvement for problems you come across.

Write down any processes that need to be improved. This is where your big idea for a product that sells will come from.

Winning the niche

Make sure there is a strong need for your product. This means that there will be a low supply of anything that provides the same value as your product offers. 

Successfully executing this will result in a product that:

  1. Creates value
  2. Creates tension
  3. Creates word of mouth
  4. Sells

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How does a successful product look like?

Take a moment and think about technological advancement. Did you realize that each advancement paves the way for a new advancement? 

I mentioned earlier that one of the first prominent features a phone had was an SMS. Soon after that, IBM created the first touchscreen phone with an email feature, calculator, sketchpad and other built-in apps.

In some way, the SMS feature paved the way for the email feature. I am making this correlation to emphasize that a product is likely to sell when it: 

  1. Improves what already exists and overcomes frustration
  2. It is created at the right time 
  3. Has a market to cater to 
How to create a good quality product? 2021 Complete Guide
How to create a good quality product


Features of a product that sells

Do you remember typing an SMS on a telephone keypad before cell phones had Qwerty keyboards? That was a horrible time indeed. Even so, we still typed using the telephone pad because that's what we had. 

The game changed when Motorola made a phone with a Qwerty Keyboard. Since then, different phones with a qwerty keyboard are available. Some developers even make applications designed to improve the Qwerty board experience.

Product designers are focusing on the Qwerty feature because there is room for improvement there. Whatever Qwerty board version is released, the aim is always to:

  1. Reduced user experience frustration. 
  2. Solve a pain point that happened frequently
  3. Reduce cost usage (Downloadable Qwerty board applications)

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Most popular products that sell itself

Uber

Google first launched Google maps on February 8 2005, for Desktops only. This made sense because back then, computer technology was better than phone technology. 

But as mobile technology advanced, Google updated this feature in PCs and phones too in 2007.

Soon after, in 2009, Uber built their ride-hailing mobile app that relies on the GPS in phones. They successfully took advantage of something that already existed.

Uber is also successful because it launched when founding social media apps like Facebook and Twitter had normalized the idea of talking to and opening up to strangers. This helped Uber become culturally acceptable. 

Given a different time, consumers would have been reluctant to get in a stranger's car. 

Product that sells itself: Uber as an example
Uber product example

Tinder

The timing of a product release influences a product's selling strength. 

Imagine if Tinder was created in the renaissance when it was rare for a woman to be 24 years and unmarried. The dating culture was generally too conservative compared to the dating culture now.  

What separates Tinder from the other dating apps is the timing. 

The product launched right when founding social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat normalized meeting love interests through the internet. 

And unlike these other social apps, Tinder was targeted at dating. With a straightforward Unique value proposition and great timing, Tinder was a meaningful product to people looking to use social apps to look for love.

Product that sells itself: Tinder as an example
Tinder product example

Trello

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology has changed working structures so much that, as of 2010, businesses are more open to hiring freelancers. This is because these days employees stay at jobs for less than 4 and a half years.

Trello identified the need for freelancers and businesses to keep organized and manage tasks and projects with this emerging trend.

Launched when computer technology, smartphones, and the internet enabled people to work from anywhere, it made sense for Trello to be a cloud-based application.

With a clear and valuable unique value proposition, I can't dispute Trello's success.

Product that sells itself: Trello as an example
Trello product example

Slack

Two years after Trello was launched, Steward Butterfield and his team Launched Slack. A cloud-based application designed for working teams to communicate. Made for the same people Trello is made for, only Slack provides a value of its own. 

Though Trello and Slack serve different purposes, both excel where the other lacks. Yes, managing tasks and collaborating is excellent, but it is a better experience when you have a fun and targeted work-based communication space!

Slack is another classic example of a functional product launched at the right time.

Product that sells itself: Slack as an example
Slack product example

To Sum Things Up...

Remember to always start with solving an evident problem and create products for an existing market.

Sometimes these markets are saturated. And that is why you have to identify scarcity and supply the demand.

A product that sells well:

  1. Solve a pain point that happens frequently
  2. The product is available at an attractive price (From expensive to affordable)
  3. The product is appealing to consumer's emotions
  4. The product offers some form of entertainment

And timing is everything.

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Meet other team member(s) that contributed to this blog

Alice Lieu
Alice Lieu

Global Consultant @ STANDOUT

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