3 Ways to Build Magnificent Products

By James Clear on 12 December 2011 (Updated 21 December 2011) 1 comment
Photo: nicolas_

Here's a truth that won't surprise you: businesses that make sales stay in business longer than those that don't. So if sales are the goal, then how do you make more sales?

It's pretty simple really. Not easy, but simple. The absolute best way to make sales is to create a magnificent product. Which prompts the question: "How do you create a magnificent product?"

Let's start by thinking about businesses that create simply magnificent products. You might not like each of these companies, but I can assure you that they are the best in their fields because of their magnificent products. Then, for each, let’s take a look at what we can borrow from their successes.

1. Apple

The obvious choice, of course.

Apple has set the standard for innovation over the last ten years. They give consumers what they want before they even know they want it. But behind each shiny new gadget and voice-activated phone that they produce, there is something more. And it's something you can use to build your business.

Apple's products aren't simply phones or tablets or music players. They are symbols of a community. Apple understands why it is in business (not just what it does or how it does it). This strong sense of why has allowed the company to build a community, a passionate following around their brand.

Magnificent products give people a larger movement to become a part of. They give people something to believe in. They give buyers a community to join.

2. McDonald's

On any given day, McDonald's feeds one percent of the world's population. That's 70 million people eating at one restaurant chain. Every single day.

Some people dislike McDonald's for the lack of health in their foods, others protest the way they source some of their food—and I'm not going to debate any of that. But the simple fact of the matter is this: McDonald's executes on a daily basis as well as any business in the world.

You cannot find a company that delivers such a consistent product (it's basically the same everywhere in the world) and under such variable circumstances (different employees, different regions, different shipment times, different languages ... I mean, sometimes it's hard to find two apples of the same quality at the local supermarket!).

To put it simply, McDonald's defines consistency and they do it at more than 30,000 restaurants worldwide, every day.

The product you create, whether it's a good or a service, has an experience attached to it. The way that it's prepared, the way that it's packaged, the way that it's delivered. That experience needs to be as consistent as possible.

Magnificent products deliver consistent product experiences to all customers, visit after visit.

3. Zappos

Zappos has set the standard for new age customer service, and it's much more than just a savvy customer support team. Yes, they take care of their customers with ultra-fast shipping and no-hassle returns, but they also improve the customer experience long before the sale is made.

Zappos was one of the first online shoe retailers to offer high-resolution photos of shoes from all different angles. Today, they have video reviews of many shoes. They make it as easy as possible for the customer to get a sense of what a particular shoe is like without actually having it in their hands.

When you invest in the customer experience, people begin to trust you. They realize that you have their best interests in mind ... and that alone makes you magnificent.

At Zappos, customers experience the magnificence of each product before money changes hands. Zappos puts the customer's wants and needs before the desire to make a sale, and the result is that people love to buy from them.

Magnificent products, and the experiences that surround them, always put the needs of the customer first.

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Just because a corporation delivers consistently does not equate that they are a good business or a good model. McDonald's IS at the heart of the obesity epidemic in this country, they prey on small children through their advertising campaigns, they are a huge lobbying force that Americans should be concerned about a they buy the FDA, the EPA, etc., etc. etc.. Wise Bread could stand to dig a bit more and highlight companies that are exemplary on all levels.