Product quality can make or break your brand’s success and profitability — however, determining what makes a quality product depends on the end user. Each consumer has their own idea of what constitutes a valuable product; for some, a fancy and durable product demonstrates quality, while others may look for something unpretentious and easy to use.
Although what one person views as luxurious may appear simple to others, what’s important is creating a product of quality that is right for your target market. Here’s how to determine what constitutes quality, why caliber is important and how to improve your products.
What constitutes product quality?
Product quality describes a product’s capability to meet user standards. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating a product’s caliber:
- Does it solve a problem? No product would exist if it weren’t solving or improving something. The extent to which it fixes the intended problem helps to determine its quality.
- Is it easy to use? A high-quality product shouldn’t be complicated to use. Customers shouldn’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out how to assemble or work it.
- Is it polished? Colors, dimensions, fonts (if applicable) and other elements of design should be in alignment. The product shouldn’t appear cheap in any way.
- Is it efficient? The product should not only get the job done, but it should do so efficiently. In other words, it should deliver quickly and require minimal effort from the consumer.
- Is it tailored to your customers? The product should be tailored specifically to users’ needs, showing that you understand your customers and are willing to accept the recommendations they voice.
If your product doesn’t check off the boxes above, it likely won’t be worthwhile to your customers. In that case, it’s worth revisiting your product idea before bringing it to market to ensure you are producing something valuable.
5 reasons product quality is important
Improving your product quality is paramount to preserving your business’s bottom line. Here are five reasons product quality is important:
1. It builds trust with your customers.
Most businesses won’t succeed if they can’t build customer trust; potential sales are lost when brands fail to make deeper connections with prospective buyers. In contrast, when you gain the confidence and loyalty of consumers, you have more freedom to make decisions such as raising prices. Ensuring high-quality products and services is one way to help you get consumers to appreciate and believe in what you have to offer.
Humanizing the company also can help customers connect with your brand. One way to do this is to create newsletters or social media posts that show updates and photos of what employees are working on. If customers begin to associate faces with your company, it will help them connect with your organization more than they would with a faceless corporate entity. Another way to build loyalty and appreciation is to establish a rewards program. Understanding the value of customer loyalty is crucial when trying to establish repeat business.
2. It fuels recommendations.
Most people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising when making a purchase decision. This is why nothing beats word of mouth when you’re trying to gain customers.
Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a persuasive factor in both online and offline purchasing decisions. Friends and family want to know if someone similar to them had a good experience with a product. The higher-quality product a company has to offer, the better chance they’ll have at driving positive reviews, recommendations and shares between consumers.
Starting campaigns to get people buzzing about a product is a great way to spread recommendations by word of mouth. You can also respond to complaints or compliments online to show that you provide good customer service, which is another aspect of high product quality.
3. It results in fewer customer complaints and returns.
Marketing studies have proven again and again that companies that produce high-quality products obtain more repeat business. Spend more time and money upfront to perfect a product before it hits the market if you want to minimize customer complaints and returns.
It’s common for sellers of high-quality brands to spend more to persuade consumers to try their goods. The more successful companies are at pleasing customers during their initial experience with a product, the more likely they’ll be to see repeat purchases from those customers.
Testing products with potential customers or a market research group can help to produce a great product. Most people in these groups will give brutally honest opinions, and companies can use that feedback to make improvements to their products.
4. People care about aesthetics.
One dimension of quality is the aesthetics — or how a product looks, feels, sounds, tastes and smells. For example, MrTakeOutBags pays close attention to these qualities, and it shows in the company’s bakery cupcake boxes. The colors, prints, shapes, textures and features (such as handles) make all the difference, and it’s what sets the brand apart from its competitors. Customers notice these details, and they can make or break a sale.
Customizable features also allow you to give customers exactly what they want while tacking on a few dollars to the price.
5. It produces a higher ROI.
Studies show a strong positive association between quality and profitability. In fact, high quality produces a higher return on investment (ROI) for any given market share. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, having fewer defects or field failures results in lower manufacturing and service costs. As long as these gains exceed any increase in expenditures by the firm on defect prevention, profitability will improve. In addition, improvements in performance, features or other dimensions of quality lead to increased sales and larger market shares.
If you have produced a quality product and marketed it effectively, it’s time to see if you can cut costs without sacrificing quality.
How to ensure product quality
Here are five tips to ensure high product quality:
1. Implement a quality management system.
A quality management system is a set of business practices comprising the planning and execution of delivering a product. The system includes principles that help to prepare a product for its launch, such as customer focus, leadership, research and evidence-based decision-making.
2. Build a product strategy.
A product strategy details information about a product and the company’s vision for it. Its key points should include the target customers, market, competitors and business goals. This strategy serves as a roadmap for your product’s journey, from creation to launch.
3. Consider competitors.
Thinking about your competitors is an important part of developing your product. What are they doing that you aren’t (and vice versa)? How are their products performing? What works for them and why? Answering these questions will put you in a better position to compete with similar businesses in the market.
4. Listen to your customers.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers how you can improve your products. Use any negative customer feedback to learn more about your consumers and help your products better meet their needs.
5. Always test your products.
It’s essential to test every product before launch so you can anticipate how buyers might react and see what changes you might need to make before you release it to the public.
Sean Peek contributed to this article.