Building on what Courtney said – I understand the devastation @BrenenP – trust me when I say I feel the same. It’s never fun having to discontinue something. Especially something you believe in personally.
But, on the other hand, at my days at Kellogg, we basically ran under the assumption that 75-80% of innovation fails. It’s not that it’s a bad product or the proper research wasn’t done, it’s just that many market variables are always working against you and it’s hard to account for all of them.
Often when we do our product research, we look through a couple different lenses.
- Consumer – would our target market want this (and furthermore, would we want this as we’re the targets)?
- Competition – how does this differ from the competition? At what angle can we compete (price, features, value, all of the above)?
- Marketing – this is nerdy, I know (and helps me in the competition lens), but I’m a big believer in the 4-P’s of Marketing (Product, Place, Price, Promotion) and what P can we capitalize on?
In this example, #1 was easy – heck yeah we wanted this in our house and we all do. It’s by far the coolest product we’ve ever launched IMO.
#2 really hinged on pricing/value and if we could pull that off or not. Our major competition was Philips Hue and all other Chinese manufacturers lol. Philips carried the name recognition and quality products, while the Chinese manufacturers all over Amazon carried low pricing.
Our strategy has always been to give the best features at a price that signals value. We used to be able to pull off the lowest pricing, but that’s unfortunately changed, so we have to rely on value.
The lightstrip, IMO has some of, if not the best, features available. No need to go into them all, but from a hardware standpoint, it competes at the top and from a firmware standpoint, it is best in class.
If we could pull off this lightstrip at a $50-55 price-point, I truly believe this would’ve been a hit.
Which leads me to #3, where things fell apart, unfortunately. There was a series of events that happened here that Courtney basically hit on from a pricing standpoint that priced us out of the market. The only way to combat this is to show people that the value is worth it at that price point.
In order to show people the value, marketing money needs to be spent to showcase everything. As everyone pretty much knows by know, the lead times have increased dramatically in the last few months, causing us to have to spend money on inventory vs marketing, overhead, etc. So, we couldn’t put efforts behind innovation items (or anything for that matter). This sucks bc now we have an expensive product that only a small amount of people know about.
Lastly, as @darthandroid pointed out, while normally we could keep these coming (even when they’re selling extremely slow) with 12 week lead times on our fast moving products, unfortunately that money needs to be spent to start the process of our fast moving products as the manufacturer requires 30% down to acquire raw materials.
Anyway, I understand the frustration @BrenenP and if your friends would like to return their products, I’m happy to take them back. We do have plenty of these left, which I will assume last us until the end of the year as at even the $50 price point, these just aren’t selling and without the proper marketing spend, the only way to get rid of these is to discount them even more, which we’re not planning to do as we’re already breaking even at the $50 price point.
Hopefully the fact that the only other discontinuation announced was the Black Series (and you can still buy the Red Series, so I wouldn’t count this as a true discontinuation) we’re looking at a 88% success rate for innovation, having the lightstrip being the only one.