Whether a product sells because it is actually great, or sells because of the "bandwagon" effect, in order to maintain momentum, several factors must be present. First, the product must meet some sort of need, either a "real" need or a perceived "need" (We could successfully argue that in our society, we need a cell phone, but it is a more difficult argument to say that we need the latest version of an iPhone, and are willing to stand in lines for hours in order to acquire one.)
Smarter consumers will do research before making a major purchase; periodicals like Consumer Reports can help the buyer make an informed decision. Here are two products that meet your first point, "Great products make great sales."
Great products, great sales:
Garmin GPS is a market-leader in global positioning systems, or GPS. The need is one virtually everyone has: to find your way around. Paper maps used to be your only option. But they are cumbersome and confusing to many people. GPS took the guess work and the clutter out of map reading. Garmin has become the leader in this field, providing a reliable and affordable product. In 2012, "5% of the company's sales in 2012 -- $221 million in operating profit on $1.5 billion in revenue."
Folger's Coffee. When it comes to coffee, people like reliability. Since 1850, Folger's coffee has consistently delivered a good cup o' joe. Studies show that most coffee drinkers like a mild, low acidic coffee, which is what Folger's provides. "Folgers is owned by the J.M. Smucker Company, which reported sales of $5.5 billion in 2012. Of those sales, $2.3 billion came from coffee."
Great Sales, Great Products.
Here are two leaders who started out with great sales, because they hit the market at the "right time" with a good product. This initial successful offering helped these companies grow their businesses.
iPhone. There is no question that Apple's iPhone has benefited greatly from the "gotta have it" mania. Just a few years ago, Blackberry was the industry leader in cellular phones. Everyone, it seemed, had a Blackberry. But iPhone was the first "truly portable computer." Its gaming apps, in particular, exploded the market, and led tot the type of word-of-mouth that skyrockets sales. This infusion of cash has resulted in faster, better, more reliable iPhones. The "first generation" was introduced in 2007. Just seven years later, that phone is "obsolete." There have been five more generations of iPhones since; the sixth is due in 2014, and consumers do not appear to have tired of upgrading to the latest, greatest, product from Apple.
Amazon.com. Can you imagine the behemoth Amazon.com being just a little online bookseller? That's what it was in 1995 until founder Jeff Bezos made his dream of becoming the largest retailer of consumer goods a reality. First, the company added DVDs and music, and now there is almost nothing, from apparel, to appliances, to electronics to cloud computing. In just twelve years, Amazon.com has even encroached on the sales of giants like Wal-mart. In 2013, its stocks rose to record highs and "its shares are up around 150 percent since mid-2010." Amazon.com started out with a good, reliable service, and its quality grew from there.
The meaning of the statement "Great products make great sales" is that a company's commitment to produce something of quality, utility, and aesthetic appeal will undoubtedly elicit the interest of potential customers. As a result, the customers may spread word-to-mouth news about the said product, establishing a marketing reputation that will benefit the company.
For example: when you look at the "best selling cars of the year", you hardly ever see the most expensive listed, nor the most luxurious. The best selling cars are also neither the most "cool" or appealing to the eye. Toyota has led MotorTrend competition for years on end, closely followed by Honda, in the category of best selling models. The Camry, Corolla and now Prius have topped the charts non-stop because, according to Consumer Reports, these three models feature the top 5 characteristics consumers want:
- ease of use
- universal features
- approachable appeal
In other words, your money will be well-invested in a car such as Camry, Corolla, or Prius, and the trading value of the product will hold steady because of its high demand. Toyota has gone as far (just like Honda) to create what only luxury brands do, which is a certified pre-owned club where new customers can get the same benefits of a brand new car through buying a used one: Toyota provides 100% safety inspections and reconditioning and the budget-oriented customer gets to have a well-built, safe, and affordable car under warranty. This embodies the idea that "Great Products Make Great Sales".
However, the second part of it, "Great Sales Make Great Products" touches on the ironic. Sales are the backbone of any business. People are attracted to them, wait sometimes an entire year until Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get "the one" product they have wanted to get forever, and so on.
There is a key factor to make "great sales" into "great products" in business and it is the "qualified leads". This is becoming huge. The "influencing market" and the "crowdtap" market is now leading in the web, trying to get ideas of what people want, how much they want it, and what they are willing to do to get it. There are hundreds of websites DEDICATED to get qualified leads to see what product will sell and which will not. This is why we see so many new conceptual products being sold cheap, such as tablets and other gadgets. Although Apple continues to lead with loyal customers, those who prefer to spend less will definitely take advantage of the cheaper tablets and gadgets, regardless of whether they are Apple brand or not. The influencing market offers try-outs, buy-backs, points-value competitions, forums, and shout out boards for people to identify the needs of the market for a small incentive. From there, the businesses get those qualifying leads that move them to offer sales in specific products.
If a company, and Apple is guilty of this, treats sales as "second class citizens" they will distance themselves from a large majority; consumers do not always want brand name products; some need to buy in bulk for schools, corporations, government offices, and they cannot afford the firm pricing policies of some corporations. Some consumers flat out refuse to give in to corporate snobbishness and purposely purchase from the competition. We had this issue with the never ending war between Samsung and Apple; Samsung may be seen by Apple consumers as "the mainstream brand" while Apple claims to be the "pioneer brand". Yet, Samsung did shift, offered a new product in the form of the Note, and the larger-sized S4 and gave Apple a run for their money. In this case, the open sale of the S4 and the Galaxy Tabs dented the solid market reputation of Apple and made its solid point in the business world.