Vinay Kumar Singh.
Chief Research Officer
Parammount Cosmetics India Limited,
New Cosmetics Product Development, according to me is mix of Arts, Science and Management. Since my R.&D. days ofLakme when I was just a Chemist I was taught its significance and nuance. Over the period of more than 25 years that I have spent in R.&D. of various Organisation, I have learnt it better and it only compliments my learning in Lakme. Now let’s get into the arts,science and management of New Cosmetics Product Development and explore it.One must keep in mind that Development of New Cosmetics has to be done carefully as there are many variables that need to consider. Cosmetics is placed in market to make one look beautiful or attractive to others. It also alters the appearance obviously to look good. It enhances the level of confidence of consumer to face the world in this age of competition. As Cosmetics is connected to consumer’s aspiration, it must satisfy the need of consumer. Thus a new Cosmetics is developed keeping in mind, what consumer really requires and at what price. At times, it is a challenge to develop a Cosmetics meeting the demand of consumer at a price that they desire; but that is where role of R.&D. comes in picture and normally Industry launches Cosmetics as required by Consumer. While developing new Cosmetics,we must consider consumer as Emperor and satisfy his/her need without any compromise
In business,New product development (NPD) is the complete process of bringing a new product to market. New product development is described in the literature as the transformation of a market opportunity into a tangible product available for sale. A good understanding of customer needs and wants, the competitive environment and the nature of the market represent the top required factors for the success of a new product. Cost, time and quality are the main variables that drive the customer needs. Aimed at these three variables, companies develop continuous practices and strategies to better satisfy the customer requirements and increase their market share by a regular development of new products. There are many uncertainties and challenges throughout the process which companies must face. The use of best practices and the elimination of barriers to communication are the main concerns for the management of NPD process.
Improving and updating products is an ongoing task as consumer “needs and wants” continuously change. A failure to develop products could result in a reduction in sales if consumers decide to buy competitor products.
Cosmetic product development is a real maze, plenty of directions to take, every decision you take at the beginning has a domino effect on final results including costs.
For developing a new product, a structured road-map that gives your business a clear path,is needed.
Actually developing the tangible product is only a small part of the new product development process, which includes the complete journey from generating the initial idea to bringing the product to market.
By setting out the steps involved, and sticking to them, product development will become a more focused and flexible approach.
The entire new product development process is an ever evolving testing platform where errors will be made, designs will get trashed, and loss could be recorded. Having the entire team working in tight synchronicity, will ensure the successful launch of product.
There are eight stages of new product development,that is normally followed to achieve the desired end result.
1. Idea Generation
The development of a product will start with the concept. Ideas can, and will come, from many different directions. Idea about a new Cosmetics is either generated by Marketing wing of the organisation based on requirement of market or R.&D. based on innovation.
The rest of the process will ensure that ideas are tested for their viability, so in the beginning all ideas are good ideas (To a certain extent!)
The best place to start is with a SWOT analysis, (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), which incorporates current market trends. This can be used to analyse the company’s position and find a direction that is in line with the business strategy.
In addition to this business-centred activity, there are methods that focus on the customer’s needs and wants. This could be:
• Under-taking market research
• Listening to suggestions from your target audience – including feedback on your current products’ strengths and weaknesses.
• Encouraging suggestions from employees and partners
• Looking at competitor’s successes and failures
2. Idea Screening
This step is crucial to ensure that unsuitable ideas, for whatever reason, are rejected as soon as possible. Ideas need to be considered objectively, ideally by a group or committee.
Specific screening criteria need to be set for this stage, looking at ROI, affordability and market potential. These questions need to be considered carefully, to avoid product failure after considerable investment down the line.
3. Concept Development & Testing
After an idea has passed the screening stage. However, internal opinion isn’t the most important. You need to ask the people that matter –“ your customers”.
Using a small group of true consumer base, the idea need to be tested to see their reaction. The idea should now be a concept, with enough in-depth information that the consumer can visualise it.
Do they understand the concept?
Do they want or need it?
It is such a competitive market these days, it is important you find a niche in the cosmetic market for your idea or cosmetic brand. What is special and unique about your product that has not been done before and how would it stand out?
When it comes to cosmetic product development, there is quite a bit of red tape and you have to make sure you are legally compliant with the relevant regulations such as the European Cosmetics Directive,BIS, product labelling and so on. This will add to the development costs.
There are so many elements contributing to costs, from cosmetic ingredients, product development, packaging, manufacturing, legal compliance, marketing etc.
This stage gives a chance to develop the concept further, considering their feedback, and also to start thinking about what could marketing message be.
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