Product Reviews–A True Story
What really goes on behind the scenes in the business world, which the average person does not know about.
As I have discussed in other posts, the knee support sleeve that I am partial to, and can be found on Amazon, has a history. It started off with my own history of knee problems. Late in 2014, I had some serious knee pain. About ten years earlier, I was having a bout of knee pain, and of course, as I mentioned, I had had knee surgery back in 1984.
I did some research in 2004, and read that magnets might have a beneficial effect on knee pain. So I sent away for a knee wrap that had magnets in it. It was made of neoprene rubber, with small magnets sewn into it. And in fact, I found that when I wore it to sleep, with a really painful stiff knee, I would wake up in the morning feeling real relief.
Flashing Forward to 2014
The only issue, was that it was not so breathable, that is, after wearing it, my knee was sweaty, which resulted in some discomfort. Also, it had a strong tendency to slip down my leg. So, although it was a good product that helped, it did have those drawbacks.
I did more research and noticed that most of the knee support sleeves being sold nowadays, especially on Amazon, are pretty inexpensive and don’t use magnets, which barely anyone was paying attention to.
Never having sold a thing in my life, much less on the internet, and with no technical skills in marketing online, I thought to myself, “How am I gonna sell something that no one has ever heard of? It would be like Steve Jobs having this cool thing called an iPhone in 1998, but no one had ever heard of an iPhone, so how could anyone look it up to buy one?”
Well, Apple had an advantage of name recognition, so it could build on its reputation to educate people about the advantages of smartphones. —Or what everyone nowadays knows as a small computer and telephone and camera all rolled into a handheld device.
I am not a multimillion dollar corporation
But what about me? Sure, there were products that had magnets. I had bought one ten years earlier. But they are still pretty much unkn0wn, relative to the more common knee support sleeves from companies like Ace, or Futuro.
The price on other magnetic sleeves is much higher and to this day, they seem to get little exposure.
So when I was looking for knee support sleeves, I looked for a sleeve that was made of cotton, not rubber. and that had magnets of the same strength as the one that I had bought earlier.
Anyway, I took the plunge–or should I say, the risk–because I thought this was a good product. Heck, I had used it myself, compared it to about 5 other products, and also had a couple of my friends who also have knee problems try out the samples of different products I got.
The winner was a cotton spandex knee support sleeve, with magnets. I also specified that the magnets must have a strength similar to the neoprene rubber knee wrap I bought earlier.
So the product went onto the Amazon market place, and started selling slowly but gradually sold more. Plus, it was getting great reviews, on average over 4.3 stars. By April of 2015, it was selling pretty well, and I thought I was a marketing genius.
What happened next
But then a few problems arose. First, when I compared the magnets of my sleeves with my neoprene wrap, I noticed that the magnets of the neoprene one were noticeably stronger. Not only that, one of my customers said they thought the magnets were pretty weak. Frankly I was mortified!!
My goal is to deliver a truly quality product, that performed as advertised.
Well, there were other problems with my supplier, in terms of delivery. As in, taking much too long to ship.
But the really big problem, was that other people noticed the product, and started selling the exact same item, and were deliberately selling at a loss, to grab market share. I was reminded of a class I took from an experienced ecommerce guy, whose hero is JD Rockefeller, the notorious oil baron, who drove the competition out of business by undercutting prices. I had to wonder if the same guy was using the same tactics on me!
There were other issues that I noticed from feedback I got from customers. Normally, we might get a negative review and just pass it off as a disgruntled customer, but for me, such criticism is great teaching. How could I make the product better?
So what I did was essentially three things.
I redesigned the product to take into account customers’ concerns.
I went to China and met both my current supplier as well as other suppliers, and questioned them all closely about product quality and specifically about magnet strength.
I created my own brand and registered it with Amazon, and also had my new supplier, who addressed the other concerns I had, give me exclusive marketing rights to my ‘new improved’ and now proprietary product.
See how these strong magnets hold steel. Others claim to have strong magnets, but may not.
So customers will know my product is a registered brand, and not a generic product sold by several others, who have not really taken the time to ensure product quality. Seems to me, they’re only in it for the money.
As it is, while my product is now improved and redesigned, I will continue to look for ways to improve it, as I get more feedback. I may also change the brand name of the product, since trademarks are a further issue, and I am told that it there may be better names in terms of trademarks and name impact on people.
It is a work in progress. But remember.
Or shall I say, does anyone remember Microsoft DOS? Or Windows 1.0 We’re now on Windows 10!
And how many models have there been on Apple’s Mac, since Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, two young guys working out of a garage, came up with an Apple that may be a Mac, but not the kind of MacIntosh Apple that you can eat!
If we as business people commit ourselves to constant improvement and putting the customer first, then things will get better and better, for everyone. And come to think of it, if not just the customers, but the workers who make the product have their needs also met, then the whole society can move forward in a positive way. That is my vision as a new internet entrepreneur.