September 15, 2022 Jesse Clemmer

How Industrial Design Companies Use Market Research To Improve Legacy Products

Here’s the situation- your business has done incredibly well over the past years, all thanks to the exceptional success your legacy product has generated on the market. Of course, this is amazing! Your product has clearly been highly favored among end-users, a goal many other businesses only aspire to achieve. However, you might eventually find yourself at a point where you are questioning the longevity of your product’s design, especially if you’ve noted a recent decline in sales or other indicators that raise concerns. 




Unfortunately, as profitable as a legacy product may have once been, there are several factors that can influence its performance on the market with time, including advancements in technology, changes in aesthetic trends, and even shifts in the audience’s opinions and demands. 


If you’ve been grappling with what to do with your own legacy product, a consultation with an industrial design company can be incredibly beneficial. That is, we are able to explore market trends in order to narrow in on the best possible redesign for your product. In this blog, we’ll be covering legacy products more in-depth for business owners who are curious about their options, including how we are able to apply market research to configure an elevated redesign that stays true to your original product. 


What is a legacy product? 

In a few words, a legacy product is a product that has been on the market for at least a decade that has not received any type of upgrade or reinvention. As a result, this typically means legacy products are able to generate a strong, loyal customer base after years of being on the market. For some business owners, this fact is enough incentive to decline to make any unnecessary redesigns to their products so as not to upset their audience.  


However, despite the success, it’s possible that legacy products may eventually lose traction for one reason or another, such as a rival company introducing a similar product to the market with additional bells and whistles. Under these circumstances, redesigns aren’t entirely ‘unnecessary’ and could in fact be the very thing your business needs. Moreover, it’s certainly possible to regain your audience’s interest with a fresh redesign without compromising the original essence of your product the market has come to expect thanks to market research, which we’ll explain below. 


Market research to improve legacy products

A redesign can do wonders to breathe new life into legacy products and jumpstart profitability. The key is to do plenty of thorough market research into the demands of your customer base and use the findings to inspire what changes need to be made. That is, this research can uncover how end-users feel about your product, including what functions are or are not working, what they love about the product, and the changes in design they would like to see implemented. Similarly, market research can also be conducted in relation to general market trends and rival companies to reveal even more relevant insight regarding your customer base’s behavior. What features did the top-selling product in your industry have? What design aesthetics are performing the best among your audience? If your product features a technological component, is it up to date with current advancements? 


In essence, market research tells us the makings of a successful product by highlighting the modifications necessary for a legacy product to keep up with the times as well as its most favorable elements that must stay the same according to users. We can then use these findings to steer design decisions by directly incorporating them into sketches and prototypes. If done correctly, the result is a reinvented legacy product customized to the demands of the market and ready to retake its best-seller status. 


Industrial designers can help redesign legacy products 

Redesigning a legacy product can certainly be a precarious process! After all, you have a product with proven success that just needs a couple of updates and tweaks. The last thing you’d want is to jeopardize that with irrelevant reiterations. The challenge here is to toe the line between legacy and innovation. It’s a delicate balance that’ll necessitate deep dives into user surveys and questionnaires, trend reports, focus groups, and much more to generate a product that considers both options equally. 


Luckily, industrial design companies are suited to help! Many firms, including us here at DesignStein Studios, are able to take on clients with legacy products and use our experience as designers to navigate market research, among other industrial design services, and use our findings along with your original product to inspire an elevated design. With legacy products in particular, it’s important to ask all the right questions. Where is it appropriate to reinvent, instead of sticking to the original? What is classic and nostalgic versus what is outdated and obsolete? What do your customers enjoy about your products and what do they enjoy about current trends? In the end, this is how we’re able to narrow in on a design that approaches modernization without disturbing the original groundwork that lent it its initial success. 


This blog is brought to you by DesignStein Studios, one of the leading industrial design companies in California for product redesign. To learn more, give us a call at 714-375-4846.

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