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Product Adaptation Strategy

Should we adapt our product?

When you want to introduce your product in a foreign market you should ask yourself that question. Your product may be unwelcome in some countries. As a result, you have to adapt it to their customs and laws.

There are three main reasons encouraging you to adapt your products:

1. Special laws for your products in the foreign country: maybe you have to change the label or the packaging;

2. The competition: your product could have serious rivals;

3. Cultural differences: colours must conform to local cultural preferences.

Some colours or images may offend local markets, creating barriers to acceptance. First you have to do an internal and external environmental analysis to identify the company position and industrial obstacles in a foreign market. You can do a product test to see if a particular country likes your product. Then you should choose between adapting your product or selling it in a foreign country the way it is sold on local markets. Adapting the product has advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages: Respect local specifications and expectations, excellent local image and customers keep their landmarks and feel noticed.

Disadvantages: Higher cost, time consuming, poor speed of execution and difficulty to know customers’ expectations.

If you have chosen to adapt your product, there are several elements which you can change:

1. Internal elements: Design and quality of your product;

2. External elements: Price, packaging, brand and external design;

3. Intangible elements: Post-sales service, guarantee, customer service and operating instructions.

In conclusion, in some countries you have to adapt your product to reach your goal. That is usually the case with countries with a culture which is different from our own. Sometimes this could be expensive but it is required to sell products in a foreign country. We have to be sure of what people want because if they do not want our product the first time, it is difficult to introduce it again in the future. In countries with a culture like ours we use a standardisation strategy, which consist in selling the product the same way as in our country, without changing anything. This strategy is cheaper than adaptation strategy.

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