This is a guest post by Greg Rollett.
We have grown accustomed to all things digital, just take notice at the “everything iPad” world we are marketed to everyday. Even Amazon has recently jumped into “cloud overdrive” with their new promotion to give away 20Gig of cloud storage if you buy a music album (great deal btw).
But for every bad Windows commercial that proclaims “to the cloud” there are millions of people all over the world who still love going into a store and trading their hard earned money to rip off the plastic packaging and hold their newfound love in their hands.
For the majority of Chris’s audience, you have been conditioned towards creating digital goods and services.
- Membership sites
- Videos and video courses
- Podcasts and audio series
- Mobile Applications
- and so on
And while I wholeheartedly agree with this business model, a recent project has taken control of my product creation creativity and spawned…GASP…a physical product!
Many things come to mind when building and releasing a physical product. From
- Product creation
- Customer Service
- And on and on we go
Over the next few paragraphs I am going to do my best to share some physical product creation tips to help ease your mind and get you thinking physical and the value that will bring to your marketplace.
This phase many of you are familiar with. Take your ideas, skills and talents and bundle them up into a consumable format. Nothing new here. Where you really need to start thinking and planning in the creation of a physical product is the time constraints.
Check with your manufacturer (more on this in a few) to see the maximum amounts of storage available on certain mediums. With our recent DVD we were limited to 2 hours of footage and a certain amount of storage for those 2Gigs.
Many CD’s if you are doing an audio program can hold around 72 minutes. This needs to be included in your planning stage as we had to cut out a few chapters and even an upsell video in order for our information to be put onto the product.
There are multiple options to choose from when you are looking for a company to produce your physical products. We have looked into a multitude of options working with musicians, entrepreneurs and with our own products and here are some items and tips that might be quite valuable to you.
If you have the means, think outside of the CD or DVD. There are other media options. Custom MP3 players with your branding and logo are a big hit and you can often find 1 Gig iPod Nano look alikes with your branding and material pre-loaded for less than $5/ea. These products have a high perceived value and can be sold in your store for $20-100 or over greater depending on the material.
The Chinese still have great prices and great turnaround, but be prepared to buy in bulk. (This is not an option for our company as we want low to no inventory and I’ll share some more of how we do this below.) For some musicians we have been able to source CD cases that look like Nintendo Cartridges, giant Hulk hands with custom download links on them and even recording devices that act as magnets we have used for show promotion.
Always get samples. Yes, this delays the timing of your launch, but by scheduling demos and samples you ensure that your CUSTOMERS, the most important part of this equation, gets the highest quality product that you can offer.
All of these options are great, but my favorite model of them all is the…
Print And Ship Model
The print on demand industry has been around for some time now with t-shirt companies like Zazzle and others that will print your picture on a coffee mug to send to your mom on Mother’s Day. But only recently has the industry become reliable in the same fashion as a fulfillment center, and at a cost where us online entrepreneurs can still turn a nice profit.
If you are looking to produce CD’s or an audio series (like a “best of your Podcast” physical product) I would recommend looking into a California start-up called Audiolife. They are one of my favorite companies with great customer support, above high-quality printing and timely shipping of the products.
Even better for you is that they can act as your storefront via a widget or custom code, collect your money via PayPal, redirect their portion and then send you your profits. All of that happens while they print your product and ship it out. Meaning you never have to touch it, see it or package it. That is truly collecting money on autopilot if there is such a thing.
My other big source is what we are currently using for our new DVD, and that is Kunaki. This has been an Internet Marketing trade secret for some time now as they can print and ship a DVD for about $5. Yes, you read that right, printing and shipping for $5. And for you cool kids getting a few orders a day, you can just import your order list into Kunaki, pay for the DVD’s and they will print and ship them right to your customers.
Thus solving the issues of spending time with inventory and shipping and still covering your margins to run a highly successful virtual business.
Will You Go Physical?
There are hundreds and thousands of other ways to source and build physical products, but these are some of the best we have found and the ones that have been working for us. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are and if you have any tips or resources for people looking to create physical products and not create inventory or stress into the freedom of our business.
Share your thoughts below.