A strong business case can be made for creating a product designed for a single vertical. After all, serving a niche market allows companies to maintain a tight focus on specialized products aimed at an exclusive market demographic. But because these markets are small, the danger of rapid market saturation is increased. Furthermore, niche products can sometimes be especially challenging to differentiate from their competitors. This danger can be offset by design innovations, as well as expansion into new markets.
At Pivot International, we understand both the business and supply chain challenges that come with niche products. As a global, industry-leading single-source partner, we’ve helped hundreds of companies develop and distribute innovative products and successfully expand into new markets. In our 47 years of experience, here are three lessons we’ve learned for ensuring niche products achieve success.
Perceive Your Product as a Building Block
Think of your product as a platform you can build upon. Take the evolution of health and fitness wearables, for example. These devices were initially developed to track specific fitness-related data in real-time, like heart rate or number-of-steps taken. Health and fitness wearables have now evolved to function as a kind of “central monitoring station” for users’ overall health and wellness. Pivot was an early driver of this evolution.
We worked with ActiGraph to create the GT9X ActiGraph Link, an advanced activity monitor that keeps users in-the-know about their health and fitness. This device captures and accessibly displays biometric data on an exceptionally wide range of human activity — a range that at the time of this product’s development was rare in consumer biometric devices. By adding innovative features to a niche product, ActiGraph was able to expand its target demographic and increase its market share.
Choose a Partner That Understands User Experience (UX)
While many industrial designers and product developers are exceptionally fluent in product functionality, they often lack a sufficient understanding of UX. This leads to the development of products (or to the addition of features) which may be functionally sound but fail to resonate with actual users.
For this reason, it’s important to choose a product development partner that brings not only functional design and engineering expertise but also a keen understanding of UX. For instance, in our recent partnership with Zibrio Inc., our task was to translate technology originally developed at NASA for a niche consumer market. Because many product development firms lack insight into UX, Zibrio came to the partnership with some concern that our engineers might see certain features of their design as “superfluous.” They were pleasantly surprised when our team affirmed these features as essential to the user experience. In fact, working closely with Zibrio’s team, we enhanced these features to ensure maximum appeal to Zibrio’s demographic. The result? Both Zibrio and Pivot were honored with a prestigious CES 2020 Innovation Award for our work on the Zibrio SmartScale.
Optimize for Distribution
Expanding into a new niche market can pose certification obstacles, cost hurdles, and supply chain challenges alike. Working with a reputable single-source partner can simplify and streamline these complexities. A partner that can guide the certification process, reduce costs with international tooling and procurement, and draw on a global supply chain network is a winning bet.
At Pivot, by using certified ISO: 9001 and ISO: 13485 systems, we are uniquely qualified to assure low certification costs and properly executed lead-times. And because we have facilities worldwide, as well as technology that allows our partners to flexibly shift production from one location to another, we’re able to optimize our partners’ supply chains and reduce global distribution costs.
If you’re developing a niche product and are exploring ways to expand into new markets, Pivot is an industry-leading single-source partner for everything from proof-of-concept to prototyping to manufacturing to supply chain management to business development services. If you’d like to learn more about how Pivot can give your business a greater competitive edge, reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.