Product updates are amendments and fine-tune made to already-established products/services. In this article, we go over the top 5 benefits of product updates, such as helping the product stay relevant, enhancing its software security, acting as an instrument to reflect customers’ demands, and more.
But before that, we will start by discussing the role that automation could play in rolling out these updates.
How can automation help product updates?
Let’s say your business specializes in plastic production. And you would want to notify your customers that thanks to the latest R&D efforts, the plastic is now more heat-resistant. If done manually, informing each and every one of your clients of such developments would needlessly take up your employees’ time.
But automating the process would ensure that whenever an adjustment is made to a product, all your clients would simultaneously receive the news.
The benefit of automating your product update announcements is that you don’t have to dedicate manpower for this task – the software automatically takes care of that. The other benefit is that you wouldn’t have to worry about whether all your customers have received the update or not. The software works around that challenge by exchanging data between ERP business systems to make sure all customers’ data have been collected and will receive the updates.
What are the benefits of product updates?
The following are the top 6 benefits of product updates:
1. Staying relevant
One of the reasons why product updates get rolled out is that they serve as a reminder to users that such a product/service existed in the first place, to warrant an update! In other words, it helps products stay relevant and keep being a topic of discussion.
For instance, the fried chicken fast-food chain, KFC, is arguably more popular than its counterpart, Popeyes.
But in May of 2019, Popeyes announced the launch of a new chicken sandwich, which was met with surprising levels of frenzy: long waiting lines at the stores, a consequent quick sell-out, and people trying to flip these $4 sandwiches for thousands of dollars on eBay. The result was increased interest in Popeyes.
The takeaway is that by adding a signature sauce to an arguably average-tasting chicken sandwich – and of course, marketing it efficiently – Popeyes managed to quickly increase its popularity amongst consumers to astronomical levels. So a restaurant that had always been playing second-fiddle to KFC was suddenly relevant again.
This case study showcases the importance that product updates can play in rejuvenating a brand.
2. Improving the product/service
For a product to successfully become relevant again thanks to a revamp, the latter should, by principle, improve on the product as a whole. In other words, the update has to improve the product for the better.
For instance, Chrome OS is Google’s operating system for its line of laptops, the Chromebooks. But for the majority of users, they could be the fourth choice after the popular ones on the market today: iOS, Windows, and Linux.
In February of 2022, Google announced that now all old and dissolute laptops, suffering from outdated hardware and software, can for free, run Google’s latest Chrome OS. The improvement on this product, in the sense that running a Chrome OS on an Apple laptop was not feasible prior, led to a sudden rise in interest in the Chrome OS.
3. Enhanced security
Not all updates serve to improve the UI or the functionality of a product/service. We see it first-hand most of the time: most of our smartphones’ software updates are security patches that do not necessarily affect our day-to-day use of the product. But these small adjustments help keep the product, and the information stored within, secured against malice, malware, cyberattacks, and other such pests.
For instance, a reason why more businesses have chosen to use Signal as their primary channel of intercommunication, as opposed to, say, Whatsapp, is the former’s stronger security and encryption measures.
4. Avoiding holistic revamps
Product updates are perhaps the next, best alternative to designing and rolling out a completely new product. That is because, with small tweaks here and there on the hardware or the software of a product, shortcomings can be addressed without the need to invest in new R&D and production processes.
Let’s imagine a simple scenario where the users of a SaaS product have difficulty connecting to the cloud to use the application. If these connectivity issues are persistent, the company might have to think of holistically transforming its product’s connectivity infrastructure. The R&D and the rollout would ground the product for some months before customers get access to the latest and greatest rendition.
Alternatively, the vendor could try to see if there are any possibilities of solving the connectivity issues through a software update. This would mean the product could still be in customers’ hands while maintenance is being done to it.
Tesla automobiles, for instance, are famous for their over-the-air software updates to enhance their security, power efficiency, and other features. Reuters reports that since 2020, 7 out of the 19 recalls Tesla carried out were done over-the-air, resulting in a shorter turnaround time and cost efficiency for the company.
Software updates can serve to holistically address such issues at the root so the customer support team would not need to individually tend to each problem.
5. Customer retention
Product updates are a sure-fire way of letting your customers know that you’ve listened to their suggestions and are curating a product that works for them. The implication is that your business would keep enticing its customer base to stay as opposed to changing suppliers or vendors.
For instance, Duolingo, the language-learning platform, is constantly adding new languages to expand its market outreach to more users. In addition, they have come up with podcasts in different languages as a novel way for users to acquaint themselves with a new language, without feeling like they are actively studying it.
For more on automation
If you believe your business would benefit from adopting an automation tool, head over to our automation hub, where you’ll find different vendors offering solutions for various use cases.
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Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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