Switching your print on demand supplier? Get in touch with us here

1. What is product diversification?

Product diversification: Advantages & best practices

Product diversification is a mindful approach embraced by forward-thinking organizations to navigate unpredictability. It's not merely about adding new items to a portfolio - it's a strategic maneuver that extends market reach, guards against risks, and fuels growth. The rewards are multifold: higher business valuation, competitive advantage, resource maximization, and international footprint.

But how to effectively diversify? And what are the tried-and-tested strategies? In this engaging read, we'll unfold the answers and shed light on the path to successful product diversification.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Product diversification aims to reduce reliance on a single market by entering new sectors, enhancing business resilience against market fluctuations.

  • Advantages include risk reduction, market expansion, increased company valuation, innovation, competitive edge, resource optimization, and international expansion.

  • Strategies for effective diversification include concentric (related products), conglomerate (unrelated sectors), and horizontal (new, unrelated products) diversification.

  • Best practices for successful product diversification involve conducting thorough market research, aligning with long-term objectives, maintaining quality, continuous innovation, and leveraging partnerships.

  • Successful examples include Apple, Amazon, Virgin Group, Google, and Walt Disney, showcasing the benefits of diversification across different industries.

What is product diversification?

Varied products on display

Product diversification is a strategic approach in business that entails adding new products or services to expand a company's offerings. This strategy aims to appeal to existing customers or penetrate a new market. The goal? Mitigating risks associated with market fluctuations, enhancing reach, and driving growth. It's about broadening horizons and embracing the potential for constructive change within the business landscape.

Advantages of a product diversification strategy

Let's delve into the myriad advantages of establishing a product diversification strategy and how it can propel your business to new heights.

1. Risk reduction

By opening new categories, your business can safeguard itself against the fluctuations of a single market space. If one product category tanks, your diversified portfolio won't take as significant of a hit, keeping your revenue streams safer.

Having a diversified product offering acts like an insurance policy against market volatility. It allows businesses to weather economic ups and downs better, making them more resilient in the face of uncertainty.

2. Market expansion

By diversifying your product line, you not only limit market saturation but also broaden your customer base. This is possible as diversification allows you to engage with untapped markets and leverage new customer segments. Successfully implementing diversification can lead to considerable market share growth, effectively broadening your reach.

This can result in sustainable revenue streams from various markets, ensuring that your business isn't solely dependent on a single, potentially volatile market.

3. Enhanced company valuation

Having a diversified product range can significantly enhance your company's valuation. Diversification signals to investors that your business is robust and capable of weathering market volatility. It shows your adaptability in shifting market conditions and your potential for growth across various sectors.

Consequently, stakeholders may view your company as a safer investment, driving up your company's valuation. Remember that each new product line you add reflects your business's strength, showcasing the breadth, depth, and resilience of your operation, making your company more attractive to investors.

4. Innovation and competitive edge

Adding a diversified range of products to your portfolio can stimulate innovation within your business. Pursuing new markets and target audiences often requires creating new and unique offerings, which can fuel the ideation and development processes. Simultaneously, diversification can provide a competitive edge by presenting a wider array of solutions to potential customers.

This signifies innovation and flexibility - qualities that are highly coveted in today's ever-evolving market scenario. Moreover, if your products cater to various market segments, you're likely to stand out among competitors who may be concentrating on fewer markets.

5. Resource optimization

Through diversifying your product line, you not only tap into new potential markets but also maximize the utilization of your resources. This is particularly evident in manufacturing processes. 

For instance, let's say you run a clothing business, and the same production facility and raw materials can be used to make dresses, shirts, and coats. By extending your products to include all three, you're optimizing the resources at your disposal. 

It's a win-win situation that leverages efficiency while fostering growth and sustainability.

6. International expansion

When you diversify your products, you're not just stuck within your local or national market - you're giving yourself a gateway to the international market. It's like unlocking a door to a room filled with untapped opportunities. With a diverse product offering, your business has a better chance of resonating with a wider, global audience.

This means more potential customers, more sales, and, ultimately, more growth for your company. Of course, international expansion comes with its own challenges, but the potential benefits often outweigh the risks.

Product diversification strategies

Planning for product diversification

Let's explore three product diversification strategies, each tailored for different business objectives and growth scenarios.

1. Concentric product diversification

Concentric product diversification is a strategy to expand your goods or services into areas that align or overlap with your existing products. This approach leverages the commonalities between your current offerings and the new ones—like technology, distribution paths, or target market—making the diversification natural and less risky.

Here's how concentric product diversification works.

  • Use of existing technology: Diversification might involve developing products that utilize the same technology or production processes as your existing items.

  • Access to the same customer base: An effective concentric diversification strategy targets a similar customer base, facilitating your marketing efforts by cutting the costs of reaching a new audience.

  • Optimized supply chain: Concentric diversification can often leverage the existing supply chain, reducing related costs and complexity.

2. Conglomerate product diversification

Conglomerate diversification strategy refers to an entity's strategic expansion into unrelated business areas, offering products or services distinct from its current offerings. This approach serves two crucial purposes: 

  • Revenue boost: This method allows a business to tap into new revenue streams, thereby improving its financial stability and broadening its consumer base.

  • Risk mitigation: By venturing into unrelated business areas, a firm diversifies its sources of income and mitigates the risk associated with dependency on a single market.

The success of conglomerate product diversification revolves around clever strategic planning, a solid understanding of the new market, and effective leadership. Despite the complexity of managing unrelated businesses, it offers an exciting opportunity for growth and innovation if done correctly.

3. Horizontal product diversification

Horizontal diversification strategy encompasses adding new, unrelated products to an existing product line. This strategy is primarily designed to attract a different demographic or cater to the unmet needs of the existing customer base while capitalizing on a company's existing brand reputation. 

Let's unpack this strategy a bit: 

  • Exploration of new markets: This diversification allows companies to branch out into different markets, reaching new audiences they may not have been able to before.

  • Customer retention: Offering more variety subdues consumers' desire for change, thus retaining customers and fostering loyalty.

  • Branding strength: A recognized and respected brand name eases the introduction of new products in the market, assuring customers about the reliability and quality of the newly launched products.

  • Risk spread: By diversifying products, companies can spread their risks over different product lines, ensuring the success of one compensates for the failure of another.

Diversifying your product line: Five best practices

Strategic notebook on desk

Embarking on product diversification? Let's delve into five critical practices that can turn your diversification journey into a successful venture. These strategies will empower your business to expand its offerings effectively and meet market needs with precision.

1. Conduct market research

Never underestimate the power of extensive market research. Understanding and analyzing your target audience and the market allows you to recognize opportunities for diversification that you might not have seen otherwise.

As you collect data about consumer behavior, competitors, and market trends, you'll gain insights that guide decision-making for product diversification. Identify the gaps in the market, what the customers need, and how you can fill those needs uniquely.

The aim is to create new products that resonate with your customers while complementing your existing portfolio.

2. Align with long-term objectives

For product diversification to bring meaningful results, it's paramount that it aligns with your company's long-term objectives. These objectives guide your business, giving it a sense of direction, and are integral to determining your corporate identity. They're also crucial for ensuring consistency across different product lines. 

If the diversification aids in achieving these objectives—be they in terms of market dominance, financial gain, value provision, or brand strength—it's a cue that you're on the right path. But if not, cessation or realignment becomes necessary to retain strategic coherence.

3. Maintain quality in new product lines

Ensuring high standards in your new offerings is non-negotiable. Despite venturing into new markets or product lines, delivering quality should be your constant. Customers associate your brand with a certain level of quality and trust; introducing a subpar product may lead to disillusionment and, eventually, brand erosion.

Consistently uphold standards by investing in quality control mechanisms, choosing reliable suppliers, and soliciting continuous feedback. These measures not only protect your brand's reputation but also bring in repeat business as customers' expectations are consistently met or even exceeded.

4. Continuously innovate

Companies succeeding in diversification never stop innovating. Part of diversification is being unafraid to try new things and accept that not all ideas will work. The key is to learn from failures and keep pushing boundaries.

By creating a culture that encourages continuous innovation, you'll stay ahead of competitors. It’s not only about inventing new products but also improving your existing ones and staying agile in your market. 

5. Leverage partnerships

Leveraging partnerships is one of the most valuable strategies for successful business-level product diversification. It allows you to tap into your partner's resources, market knowledge, and customer base, giving your business a competitive edge in your diversified product launch. 

Joint ventures, for instance, can facilitate co-development and co-marketing of new products, enabling swift market entry and risk reduction.

Distributor or supplier partnerships are another key alliance that can boost your product selection and inventory management efficiency. In short, a well-curated partnership strategy offers an accelerated and risk-free pathway to successful product diversification.

Examples of successful product diversification

Delving into real-life instances of successful product diversification gives us an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. 

Here are five brands that have excelled in this arena: 

1. Apple

This global tech giant, which initially focused on computers, created a diverse product line, introducing gadgets like iPods, iPhones, and iPads. These innovative and disruptive technologies revolutionized their respective categories and established Apple as a pioneer in the consumer electronics realm. 

2. Amazon

It started as an online book marketplace, but today, Amazon is an end-to-end retail platform selling almost anything imaginable across international markets. Not only that, they diversified further into private label products, cloud services with AWS, and digital streaming with Amazon Prime. 

3. Virgin Group

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is perhaps one of the most eclectic examples of product diversification. Cornered into the music industry, the Virgin brand has expanded into domains like air and rail travel, telecommunication, finance, and even space tourism. 

4. Google

Originally a search engine, Google's diversification efforts led to developing their own productivity software suite, digital advertising services, home automation products, and the Android operating system, among other things. 

5. Walt Disney

Disney's initial success stemmed from its groundbreaking animation. But instead of remaining solely in the core animation business, they spread their wings into multiple business areas: theme parks ("Disneyland" and "Disneyworld"), motion pictures (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm), television (ABC, ESPN, and Disney Channel), and consumer products (from toys to videogames).

Diversify your business strategy with Gelato

Preparing for print on demand

Looking to shape your product diversification strategies? Gelato has your back! As a globally recognized print on demand platform, Gelato offers a plethora of products that you can explore and add to your ecommerce portfolio. These include custom t-shirts, personalized mugs, unique wall art, trendy phone cases, and memorable photo books.

It's a one-stop solution to scale your product range while maintaining a healthy supply-demand balance with its print on demand services. We offer you a ticket to product and market diversification without the hassles of inventory management.

Ready to add a fruitful chapter to your ecommerce story? Sign up for Gelato today and embark on a hassle-free product diversification journey.


Next steps

Create high-quality DTG prints with Gelato