This is part three in our consumer goods strategy series.

Part three of our CPG series outlines key differentiators to help your product stand out, and ways to build a long-term relationship with customers. You don’t have to do all of these things at once!

Create a Quality Product

  • Design––Create visually appealing prints, packaging, and hardware.
  • User Experience––Make your product easy and joyful to use, and share. If your product requires assembly, offer phone, video or offline support.
  • Make it Magical––Wow us with AI, VR, and devices that easily sync.
  • Make it Multi-purpose — But focused around an activity. Such as as a gadget for the kitchen, or a camping light that also charges a phone.
  • Make it Affordable — Consumers are willing to try new ‘vertically integrated’ brands to benefit from you cutting out the middle man.
  • Make it Customizable — Either through a special color combination, ability to add your own digital artwork to the device display, or custom phone cases to match a customer’s personality and style.
  • Make it Travel Friendly — Is your gadget or beauty product TSA approved? Is it lightweight or practical enough to travel with?
  • Multiple Colors — Some people like variety and mix-match options.
  • Cater to a Niche Diet or Lifestyle — Consumers are very loyal to brands that produce thoughtful allergy and diet friendly products.
  • Create Products for Underserved Markets — Develop a modern solution and brand for a demographic who doesn’t currently have a brand they’re loyal to that understands and respects their needs.
  • Create with Quality in Mind — Would you rather have a customer make one purchase from you a year for $200, or ten $20 purchases?
  • Reliable Batteries — Can’t say this enough. Build an enduring battery.

Make the Experience Memorable, and Worth Sharing

  • Buying Experience — Creating a product that changes behavior is easier than creating a buying experience that changes behavior. Make your product convenient to purchase across web, mobile, and/or retail.
  • Shipping & Returns––Remove the pain of returning/exchanging items.
  • Customer Service––Make it easy to return your products if a customer isn’t 100% satisfied. Be patient with angry customers and answer their questions as soon as possible. Turn their frustrations into opportunities to re-gain their trust and improve your product suite. When your team is small, create a FAQ and templates for typical questions from customers.
  • Live Chat––Try FB Messenger and Intercom to chat with your customers.
  • Immersive Retail — Help consumers visualize what life would be like if they were to purchase your product. Help customers try hardware in your store, test drive a car, or playing musical chairs until a customer finds the perfect dining set. Create fun and welcoming retail experiences that can be enjoyed with friends and are share-worthy on social media.

Keep Education, Community & Empathy in Mind

  • Educate Your Customers––Teach people how to use your products through photos, videos, and user generated content from the community. Use UGC to share customer stories and celebrate their use cases/ideas!
  • Offer a Membership — To encourage and reward loyal customers.
  • Engage Your Community––Connect your customers to each other in forums, comments, and offline at events and meetups.
  • Create New Products Inspired by Your Community––Involve your customers in product development, such as a survey asking, “Of these three colors, which one should we produce for our next batch?” By controlling the survey options, you’ll be happy to produce the results!
  • Make People Feel Good––About the purchase they just made. If you’re selling a wellness or sleep related product, say something via email like, “Welcome to a good night’s sleep with your new mattress. We’re here if you have any questions, comments or ideas for improving our products.”

Develop Trustworthy Products, Relationships & Partnerships

  • Play Well with Other Products––Consumers buying ‘Smart Home’ devices want to know your product connects to their laptop and apps.
  • Partner with Other Brands — On original content, giveaways/contests, to create limited editions (colors, styles, flavors, new products), and free gift with purchase promotions to highlight each other’s products.
  • Reward Purchases––Repeat customers, group buying, two for one, give cash back or credit back towards your products. People love a discount!
  • Anticipate Needs and the Next Purchase — If your product is a monthly, quarterly or annual purchase, (such as personal care items, or a water filter system), politely nudge your customers with a targeted email, and perhaps a special offer/discount to influence their next purchase.
  • Surprise & Delight––Include something extra in the box, like how Apple includes two branded stickers with every hardware purchase.
  • Birthdays––If you have the data, send customers a gift or discount on their birthdays. Sephora does this through a free gift (with or without purchase) that is redeemable on any day during your birthday month.

Build a Brand Worth Following

  • Create Content to Share Your Brand Story––Create visual stories that attract your target customers and speak to their current or dream lifestyle. It’s important for these stories to live across multiple channels: Your site, advertising, social media and retail.
  • Engage on Social Media––Your customers are already on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine. Use these channels to keep in touch, host contests, and discover product trends in your industry.
  • Advertise with Empathy––Ads should make people feel better about themselves, not inadequate and empty without your product.
  • Brand Loyalty — If you’re lucky, consumers will trust your brand over time and buy whatever you put in front of them. Don’t abuse this trust.

Don’t Be Evil, Be Human

  • Transparency — Share stories, photos, and videos of your supply chain and where you source your materials or ingredients.
  • Be Ethical — It’s increasingly difficult to hide harmful ingredients and unfair labor practices. You can differentiate from legacy CPG brands by being good to your customers, employees, and the planet.
  • Give Back — Integrate a philanthropy component into your business model, such as one-for-one donation. Examples: Warby Parker, TOMS.