One of the most important factors an inventor or entrepreneur should consider when looking to bring an idea to market is whether or not there is a crowded market.
According to the Cambridge Business English Dictionary, the formal definition of the term crowded market is as follows:
“A situation in which there is a lot of competition between companies that are trying to sell similar products or services.”
When an idea is submitted to Edison Nation it is vetted through an eight-stage process for licensing potential before it is pitched to potential licensing partners. During our idea review process, we conduct extensive research to ensure we have a clear understanding of your idea. Once we have that understanding, we research what is already in the market if there is a crowded market.
For Insider Members, the Edison Nation review team will provide you detailed feedback on your submissions if they are declined. One of the common hurdles inventors face when bringing product ideas to market is too many competing product, or a crowded market. But what the heck does a “crowded market” really mean?
Before investing time or money pursuing an invention idea or business conception, as yourself: Are there similar products out there? What makes my idea better? Why would a consumer buy this instead of an alternative?
After all, the majority of new products on the market are extensions of current brands rather than breakthrough innovations? What does this mean? It means new inventions must stand out from all other products on the store shelf.
Here are some ways to differentiate your invention idea and make it stand out in crowded market:
Features: Adding functionality to a product that the competition doesn’t offer is a great way to compete. That being said, there is a delicate balance between adding cool features and creating a “Swiss Army knife” of kitchen tools. Make sure the functionality adds to convenience, keeps the main benefit focused and does not drive up cost.
Style: Many consumers are willing to pay more for products that have an attractive look or feel. Apple is able to charge more for its computers in part because of Apple’s focus on a slick user interface and product appearance in addition to the perceived value of the brand itself. Keep in mind, style is not just about look or color, it is about the consumer experience with the product and brand equity as well.
Physical Form: The shape, size, color and other physical product attributes can usually be differentiated. Wood pencils are essentially a commodity but even they can be differentiated – by color, eraser type, graphite mixture (the “lead”) for example. Remember, changing the color of a product from red to blue is not enough – you must be able to determine what is innovative about that physical form change.
Durability: Customers oftentimes prefer products that last longer, can endure more “use and abuse” as long as the perceived value is equivalent to or greater than its cost.
Benefit: How is your product idea better and more effective than competitors? What is the benefit to the consumer?
Before you can differentiate your product from the competition, you need to understand the competition. It all begins with heavy-duty research. As a reminder:
- Start with a simple online search – try using Google or Bing to search for similar products
- Don’t just seek out identical concepts, consider how your idea stands up against what’s currently out there or what could potentially break new ground.
- Other methods to explore can include other names, phrases and terms that might apply to your product. For example: a water gun – It can be called a squirt gun, super soaker, aqua blaster and more. Using a thesaurus, look for synonyms and other ways to describe your idea can help
To dive deeper and explore how your idea might stand up against patented products, here are some resources you can use:
When researching the competition, it’s important to understand that a product does not necessarily need to look physically similar to your idea in order to be competition. Oftentimes, a competing product solves the same (or similar) problem in a very different way. In these instances, because something already exists to fulfill a similar consumer need, it would be difficult for a potential licensor to gain market share and earn enough revenue to warrant the initial investment.
The submission feedback provided by the Edison Nation review team is a valuable resource. It can help aspiring inventors validate the licensing potential of an invention as well as provide information into the market or competing products that may have been originally overlooked.
The best thing an inventor can do is be critical of his or her idea before investing time and resources on it. As always do not trust companies that require large upfront fees for development, patenting, licensing, etc. It costs just $25 to submit an idea to Edison Nation ($20 for Insiders) and we will NEVER ask for any additional money. If your idea is selected, we’ll invest money for patenting, product development, marketing, etc.
Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?