The power of the product design process in e-commerce industries

Reading time: ~8min

The e-commerce industry is evolving day by day, leading marketers to implement efficient ways to deliver good results to consumers, especially when releasing a new product to the market.

The concept of a “product” is not always a simple material thing you can find at a retail store anymore. It has evolved to include apps and websites as a digital product.

Product designers invest a lot of time in the product design process and development to level up their customer satisfaction and meet market demands. In this article, we’ll discuss the product design process, why it’s important, how it works, and how it relates to mass customization.

What is the product design process?

Product design development is the process of bringing an original product idea to market by providing a comprehensive understanding of what the final product would look like, feel like, and achieve.

Product design can also be defined as recognizing a market opportunity, defining the problem among consumers, creating a solution for that problem, and making sure the solution helps target users.

The 4P theory, also known as the marketing mix, helps make sure the product design process works well. According to the theory, product, price, promotion, and place are the critical factors in bringing new products to market. It considers the following questions:

  • Is this the right product for us to create?
  • Is the product sold at the right price?
  • Is the product sold in the right place?
  • Is the product promotion working as well as it can?

Why is a great product design process important?

With poor product design, you can lose a loyal customer base, generate bad reviews, and cause severe damages to profit margins.

Even though market research shows how profitable the e-commerce industry is, getting good results that increase conversion rates and elevate the industry authority of a new company or startup requires special attention to the product design process.

The success of e-commerce industries depends on many factors of the product design process, including:

  • How well the product addresses the needs and wants of the target audience
  • The quality of the new product or service presented to customers
  • The quality of the promotional content to showcase new products to customers
  • The quality of design of the website and/or mobile app where the products will be showcased

Here is where UI/UX design comes in handy. UX designers and team members work together to identify the users’ needs and brainstorm problem-solving ideas to present solutions to customers.

Considering all the moving parts of the development process, team members in all these roles should be involved.

Benefits of an efficient product design process

Let’s now see some of the main benefits and essential aspects that an efficient product design process can provide to an e-commerce company. These include:

  • Awareness of your brand. When companies create, design, and develop a new or existing product, it reflects what the brand stands for. A good understanding of what your brand stands for can make people relate or engage with it and eventually start buying from your online store. This is how you elevate your brand ahead of the competition. Customers can determine if the brand is delivering what they promise through purchasing and, in the case of web and app products, experiencing their products. Because of this, every brand should prioritize the product design process.
  • Create a great first impression with new users. Brand awareness and positive first impressions don't always overlap. And a good first impression is vital to the customer coming back to experience your brand again. A poorly designed final product, vague product descriptions, low-quality images, targeting the audience, and other missteps can certainly create a poor first impression. It can confuse users who are potential clients and cause them to leave the website or app without learning about a product’s benefits. This is why an efficient product design process helps companies create a better first impression of their brand.
  • Lowers bounce rates. Customers can leave your website due to poor or inadequate product design and website design. This can tremendously affect your business. Efficiency and good design with easy-to-use websites improve the user journey and lower bounce rates.
  • Increases conversion rates. Shopping online can sometimes be difficult if a user interface is poorly designed. This is especially true for online luxury goods brands where customers usually have higher expectations given the amount of money they are willing to pay. A solid product design process considers the needs and wants of your target audience and offers a user-friendly website. This makes it easier for the visitor to find and purchase what they want or need.

How does the product design process work?

product design process: woman working on her laptop

Design thinking is the foundation for an effective design process.

Initially introduced by David Kelley and Tim Brown of IDEO, design thinking has become a popular approach to creating products in every industry.

According to Tim Brown, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

Designers implement the design thinking approach to center on end-to-end product development instead of just the “design phase” part.

As we learn earlier in the article, new product development brings an original product idea to reality. To make this possible, you can break down the process into five stages: ideation, defining, research, prototyping, and testing.

1. The ideation/brainstorm stage

The ideation stage is also called the brainstorming stage. In this stage, the team decides how the product will look and how its design will serve the users' needs. You and your design team should at once be creative, practical, and attentive to the users' needs and wants when generating your product or service's design ideas.

New businesses can get easily stuck in this stage. Since coming up with entirely new product ideas can be challenging, they can also overlook the fact that many of the best ideas result from repeating upon an existing product, either yours or another brand's.

2. The defining stage

The defining stage is when you create a point of view based on the customer’s wants or needs and clearly define the product functionality. In this stage, you'll choose the best of the ideas from your brainstorming to move forward with. You and the team will want to go with the most profitable, easy to produce product that also meets the customer's wants and needs.

3. The research stage

After completing the ideate and defining stage, research is what follows. The research stage refers to doing user research to discover aspects like the presence of competitors, latest trends, and popularity of the defined product or service. This information can be discovered through online surveys, user interviews, and analytics about how users interact with the product.

4. The prototype stage

In this stage, team members build a prototype to use as a sample for mass production.

Creating a prototype lets designers see if the product is working correctly and fulfilling its purpose. It's a time to assess if the design is on the right path, and it often help with idea generations for a new design solution or new design project that you or your product team wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.

5. The testing stage

After prototyping, it’s time to make a usability test stage that identifies possible product flaws. Users try their products under observation so the company can work out any kinks.

Manufacturing and testing the samples can be repeated as much as needed until they deliver all the requirements and gain complete positive feedback from user interviews.

How the product design process relates to mass customization

product design process: screenshot of shoe customization page

Image credit: Kenzo

Mass customization is a marketing strategy that uses mass production to keep prices low and customize goods or services to each customer’s preferences. Mass customization moves the design and production model from “made-to-stock” to “made-to-order.”

The main focus of mass customization is the delivery of customized goods that consider every individual customers’ needs specific to that product/service with near mass production efficiency.

The product design process is also key for mass customization. Like product design, mass customization also relies on ideation, defining, research, prototyping, and testing.

Many companies implement efficient product design processes and use mass customization alongside 3D technologies to elevate standard products’ key features and help brands deliver a positive shopping experience. These 3d technologies Include 3D rendering, interactive configurators, virtual try-on, and more.

Evolve your product design process

To evolve your product design game, remember that when designing and developing your products, it’s necessary to always take into consideration what your target audience wants and needs.

In that way, you will design a successful product that will deliver the best features and user experience for your customers.

Understanding how successful businesses implement efficient product design processes and mass customization can help you make product demonstrations more impressive, streamline product customizations, and increase customer retention.

Apviz has over 15 years of expertise in immersive technologies, including 3D rendering, 3D visualization, and product customization and configuration. Check here to see our client projects, and contact us to get started.