Are you trying to improve your product lifecycle to boost profits and uncover new opportunities for your product line? Exploiting the product lifecycle involves understanding the stage of the cycle your products are transitioning through. Products at the start and end of their cycle require different strategies to achieve the most sales.

Improving the product lifecycle involves a few basic strategies such as investing in PLM software, encouraging growth and pivoting once you spot decline. Eventually, your products will have a defined lifecycle with a concrete plan for achieving the highest number of sales.

Invest in PLM software

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software enables retailers to improve operational efficiency, manage inventory and get the best price for each product. For example, apparel PLM software helps clothing brands identify the shirts, pants, or coats near the end of their lifecycle that should be taken off store shelves.

Here is an overview of the PLM software advantages that could be a game-changer for your business:

  • Cost management: It’s vital to have an understanding of product value through the lifecycle. Pinpointing the cycle’s intersections where value depreciation is biggest enables you to plan accordingly. It also helps avoid buying too many or not enough materials to manufacture the products. Ultimately, better cost management leads to improved profitability for each product.
  • Quicker time to market: Companies looking to scale need to close the gap between product inception and time to market. PLM software helps implement vital modifications by communicating with the manufacturing department directly. The same communication via email may not be as accurate or quick. 84% of customers want innovative companies so a quicker time to market allows your customer base to stay engaged with a constantly evolving product line.
  • Product improvement: PLM software tracks products once they’re sold and records defects, complaints, and liability issues. For example, if a faulty component used for manufacturing TVs is discovered, then using the software you can uncover what other products have the same component installed. Tracked complaints can be analyzed to spot common denominators that point to a specific issue. The information can loop back into the product design phase to avoid the same problems with future iterations.
  • Increased productivity: PLM software can be integrated with other workflow software to improve communication between departments. Furthermore, the data is searchable, which is faster than scanning through dozens of emails to find the relevant information. Accessible and shareable data structures are productivity-boosting. It decreases the chances of human error when data is transferred, interpreted and acted upon.
  • Profitability: The combination of improving product quality, innovation, quicker time to market and cost management leads to better profitability. Therefore, the cost of investing in PLM software pays for itself in adding more to the bottom line.

Choosing the right PLM software for your business is important to enjoy the benefits above. Ideally, the software you choose offers your company the right features, so look through the options carefully.

Search for PLM software with industry-relevant features. For example, if you are an apparel brand, then choose software with features specifically for apparel inventory management. Spy on your competition to gather ideas for what others are using successfully. There is no law against using the same PLM software as your competitors.

How to encourage product growth

Growing products is a difficult yet important aspect of the product lifecycle. Increasing product awareness is the first step and now there are more marketing options available than ever before. Focus on marketing channels that yield the most relevant and biggest audiences without blowing huge chunks of your budget.

It’s important to track growth across various marketing channels to figure out where you’re receiving the most traction. Double down on the most successful marketing channels and get rid of the losing ones. However, this strategy isn’t always the best option because the underperforming channels might be goldmines that need minor adjustments to come to fruition.

Improving product support and educating your market helps with growth. It includes showcasing how to use your product and providing tutorials. That’s an especially useful strategy when releasing innovative products that the audience does not fully understand.

Finally, setting the correct price ensures products can saturate a marketplace. It’s not necessarily about keeping prices low to achieve the biggest sales volume. Figure out what’s the maximum amount you can charge while providing enough value. Context matters, so learn what your competitors are selling and how much the customer is prepared to pay.

Tackling the end of a product life cycle

It’s easy to throw products nearing the end of their lifecycle into a clearance sale and forget about them. However, play your cards right and you will get a lot more value. By implementing the right strategies, you could prolong the lifecycle to maintain steady sales performance.

How can you tell when a product is nearing the end? The sales number will fall and various metrics will point to a downward trend. Monitor metrics such as bounce rate, churn rate, customer effort score and the complaint score to determine product performance. Spotting downward trends early allows you to react quicker, which gives you a better chance of prolonging the product lifecycle.

Here are a few pointers to improve product performance:

  • Cheaper markets: Your product may have exhausted a marketplace, which means you need to find alternative places to sell. Search for markets where marketing costs are lower to get a good return on investment.
  • Pivot: It’s possible to sell the same products in a different context and take a new marketing angle. For example, bundle the product with other offers or provide an added incentive to buy.
  • Cut production costs: Look for parts of the product that offer little value and cut them to save costs. Customers will continue to buy the same product since the core benefits are untouched.

Final thoughts

Improving the product lifecycle is essential for any retail business to increase profitability. Tilt the odds of success in your favor by investing in PLM software, which improves product quality, communication, cost management and productivity. Your competitors may already enjoy the benefits of PLM software, so you cannot afford to overlook this vital business asset.

Improving the product lifecycle is an ongoing process that should never end. There is always something you can improve to increase performance at various stages of the lifecycle. Finally, keep an eye on emerging technologies to optimize the product lifecycle in your industry.

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