Ecolefin New Product Development STEM Placemats

Eco-friendly Plastics Technology is a green mat manufacturer founded in 2013 that aims to provide environmentally-friendly nonslip plastics-based mats such as kitchen mats, floor mats, and placemats for businesses and households all around the world. The company had been suffering from low sales revenue and lack of business development due to lack of product differentiation and marketing budget.

My Role


I joined Eco-friendly Plastics as an international sales developer. In order to develop new businesses with extremely limited resources, I focused on the e-commerce segment of the business.

Problem


With limited resources, e-commerce is the business model to go.

Company problems:

  • Customization limitation: the factory wasn’t able to support new customer-requested specs. Some products still required further quality improvements
  • Confusing product positioning: lack of competitive advantages, other eco-friendly brands obtained similar quality and functionality with much more competitive prices
  • Couldn’t support long credit period: sizable distributors like IKEA, 7-11, and Carrefour who obtain strong bargaining power require payment method at least OA 90 to 180 days at an extremely low price. With insufficient cash flow and poor profit margin, we had no choice but to turned down the offer.
  • No established relationship with customers internationally: the budget was only saved for R&D without clear objectives, zero marketing budget made business development almost impossible. 90% of the sales revenue derived from trading companies.

Solution


With low differentiation and zero marketing budget, product development at the lowest cost is the strategy.

Conduct a Situation Analysis Using SWOT
Growth Strategy Matrix
  • Goal: directly reach international customers and increase e-commerce revenue by 20%
  • Growth strategy: product development
Ecolefin Educational Placemats Product Strategy
  • Marketing Mix
    • Place: Amazon (Fulfilled by Amazon. Target US market by leveraging the biggest e-commerce platform on earth with massive customer volume)
    • Price: No less than 15 USD (est. production cost + shipping fee + sales cost + Amazon surcharge)
    • Product: placemats of World Map, Solar System, Human Body, and Periodic Table
    • Promotion: pay per click ads and early reviewer program

Product Development


Add value to match the price

Design – Complete, Detailed, Organized content

  • World Map: All 193 UN member states + 16 sovereignty disputed countries + 15 plus islands + intros of 7 continents + 5 global oceans + timezone + hand-drawn infographics
  • Solar System: Up-to-date intros of Sun & 8 planets(planet type, distance from Sun, radius, surface gravity, axis tilt, and sidereal year) + portraits of moons(Io, Titan, etc.) + asteroid belt + beautiful illustrations based on scientific facts
  • Human Body: All 11 organ systems(integumentary, muscular, skeletal, nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, and digestive)+ portraits of organs based on NLM.
  • Periodic Table: atomic number electron configuration color-coded chemical properties for easier reference state of matter infographics of uses.
  • Specification: 300 x 450 x 0.5 mm, 60 gram

Product Launch


Introducing the product to the public

  • Listing:

  • Give away(lead magnet):
Ecolefin Discovery Playbook that comes along with the placemats

http://www.ecolefin.com/ebook.php?lang=en

  • Early reviewer program: I incorporated early reviewer to quickly get reviews and spread word of mouth.
  • PPC campaign: to ensure the product is visible for the customers to purchase

Evaluation


Product offering VS the company goal

The goals were to sell internationally and increase e-commerce revenue by 20%. We hit the first one to successfully raise the brand awareness and laid the foundations for future distributor collaborations. However, Ecolefin only increased 10% of the revenue. Here were the proposed strategies for project improvements:

  • Increase monthly sales volume
    • Owned media: tweaking product images and listing copies
    • Earned media: using social medias like FB and IG to drive traffic to the purchase page
    • Paid media: optimizing PPC campaign including keywords and bid.
  • Reduce cost
    • Search for cheaper material alternatives
  • Create new product variations
    • Dinosaur series
    • EU and US states and city series

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