The Key to Product Consistency


As consumers, people often develop a need for a particular product, drive to a store (or visit an online retailer), and purchase the product.  Whether it is toilet paper, light bulbs, a lawnmower, or any other item, we rarely consider how the product moved from ideation all the way to the shelf.

Most consumers likely assume that retailers and vendors have conducted the necessary steps to ensure good performance, proper pricing, and brand consistency.  But often times, retailers don’t perform some of these processes, leading to dissatisfied customers, returned products, and the loss of future business.

For retail professional and vendors/manufacturers, one of the key steps often over looked lies in proper documentation of product

How Consumers are in Charge:


High-priced. Well manufactured.  Great quality.

These three terms are traditionally assumed to describe popular and successful products.  Successful products should be manufactured properly to enable a great quality product at an appropriate price.  Companies across the globe develop strategies to expand their market share every day, but often forget one key aspect, YOU!

With the growth of online retailing and a more educated consumer base, those companies who do not focus on their customer base as a main driver in strategy, are missing key opportunities to truly expand their market share.

When making business decisions and developing product strategies, retailers and manufacturers must consider how their plans will be received by customers.  There is no value in developing a high-quality, high-priced product if customers are only willing to pay half of the price.  While a new product may be “superior” to all others in theory, a higher price point will scare off any potentially interested customers.  Conversely, more educated consumers will now pick apart a properly priced but low-quality product.

So where does the solution lie?

The answer is through a truly consumer based focus. Balance price and quality to meet the demands of YOUR customers.  And this will not be the same for all companies.  The first step comes in learning more about your customers.  As yourself the following questions: How is the market trending?  Where else are my customers shopping?  Are they focused more on quality, price, or a balance?  What complaints am I currently receiving and how can I improve them? How can we stay ahead of competitors to maintain or grow customer satisfaction?

Finding the key to consumer happiness will help drive repeat business through satisfied customers and increase new business through reviews and referrals.

And while you think your product may perform well on “certification” tests, do these metrics directly relate to the customer?  Ensuring proper performance through consumer driven performance tests will properly illustrate the true performance of a product.  For example, while a light bulb may last longer than any other bulb on the market, if it doesn’t properly screw into a light fixture, it really doesn’t matter. This theory can be translated across all product types through focusing on consumer based testing and developing products FOR consumers.

At 4th Strand, we focus on providing these customer-based solutions to enable the best business decisions and proper execution of strategy.  And we aren’t the only ones who believe that consumers are the key ingredients in retail success.  Forbes recently shared the same ideal that a process is just as important as a product.


Do you focus on customers in your retail strategy?  As a consumer, what do you look for in a potential new product?


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Make Better Decisions, In March


At 4th Strand, we focus on providing clients with consulting services that enable better and smarter decisions.  Whether our work leads to recommendations in product quality and marketing or helps make smarter purchasing decisions, we strive to provide the best solutions and give YOU the data needed to make tough decisions.

And now is when you ask where we were while you frantically filled out your March Madness Bracket last week.  While we didn’t want to attempt predicting the 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds of a perfect bracket, here are 10 tips/facts that you should have followed in picking your bracket.