In preparing an export product strategy, you will making an important decision as to whether to keep your product largely as is, or whether you will be adapting the product any way to address the needs of the foreign customer. This decision will depend on the nature of the product, the needs of the marketplace and the products of your competitors. For the most part, however, some degree of product modification is normally necessary, even if it only has to do with the product packing or labelling. When considering how to introduce product modifications, you may want to consider the redesign of your product, as well as improving its quality.

The role of product redesign

Innovative design is an important way of differentiating a product from its competitors. Take Apple computers, for example. Apple have managed to set themselves apart from the competition through innovative design. Their latest offering – the iPod – has become a firm favourite amongst the world’s consumers simply because of its sleek and sexy design. As a result of the design of their iPod products, Apple have been able to charge a price premium for these products.

Innovative design is another way of setting your product aside from the rest of the pack. You will almost certainly be forced to reconsider your product design from four different points of view:

  1. innovativeness and uniqueness
  2. improved quality
  3. functionality and need satisfaction
  4. cost reduction

Not only should you be looking at design as a way of setting your product(s) apart from the competition, but you should also be considering ways in which design can help to reduce the cost of the product (through cheaper and fewer components), improving its reliability and enhancing quality. Design innovation can also be manifested in the packaging and labelling of a product (consider how products such as Valpre mineral water sets itself apart from competitors through innovative bottle design and classy labelling). Indeed, packaging and labelling are two relatively easy (and cheap) ways of enhancing the perceived design of a product. After all, it is likely that you will in any case have to introduce new and special packaging and labelling designs for your export product. For this reason, you might as well ensure that they are well designed.