me_tooIn all areas of consumer goods with a variety of business channels from Retail, Online Sales to Direct Sales or Network Marketing, we find a variety of products.  In all categories, there are products that are alike, sharing in sets of other popular categories from coffee to candles. Then there are unique products, that nobody has yet or even products that are so cutting edge, they create their own category.  The question often asked is do companies do well when they have unique goods or is it better to have popular ones.

The term “Me Too” is often used to describe companies who sell non unique goods or services  These companies advertise their product as a “better version” of things people are already familiar with, and compete based on price or some spin on an existing product.  A great example is coffee.   You can buy coffee from the grocery store, fast food restaurants, large retailers and specialty coffee stores such as Starbucks or Seattle’s Best Coffee. Even direct sales companies like Organo Gold, GanoLife, SereniGy, Vemma and Javita all sell their own version of coffee.  They get into price wars, discussions of who’s is best, but they all seem to do reasonably well, or is it possible the most simply ride the coat tails of the successful. The list goes on and on.

Then you have companies like LifeVantage when creating Protandim.  As a Nrf2 activator they pioneered a whole new category of nutraceutical therapy.

So which is better?  Is it certainly easier to bring a new version of an existing and well known product, such as an essential oil, candle, coffee or maybe a service such as cell phones or weight loss programs?  Or is it better to lead into a new market with a unique invention.  Certainly there are challenges around being first to market.  Companies that introduce a new product like and category attract more skeptics, however the opportunity is much larger if those products or services prove and gain adoption in the market.

I suppose the ability for companies to bring a new product into an already saturated market will be based on price points of each and also how much money that company has to carve out a large share of the market.  For example, it might be difficult for a new coffee company to displace Starbucks. Companies that area leading in a new category must have the validation from third parties, and the right leadership or money to bring the message to the masses.  This can be difficult, but who wouldn’t want to be the first Coffee company or have the first Nrf2 technology.

Its an interesting discussion.  Personally I like the idea of uniqueness in products and services. I think the potential is much higher given enough time and the benefit of timing. However we’ll continue to see companies (likely in for the short term) create “me too” products just to get a piece of a pie… even if they’re not the ones creating that pie.