Product Innovation and Management: Samsung Smart Watch

Introduction

The current business environment is full of market challenges among them being the rapidly changing consumer demands, the changing consumption trends, and the involvement of modern technologies in the production and marketing of business items (Gorski 2003). Given such issues in the consumer markets, companies are increasingly finding ways to enhance the efficiency, the reliability, and the attractiveness of their products using various innovation techniques (Adner 2006). Technology, as one of the most significant facets of the modern innovation, has become very important in the manufacturing of goods, management of goods, and marketing of goods. Even as people thought that the mobile phones would displace the wristwatches because phones contain digital watches, and are more reliable, modern innovation has changed such perceptions (Bailur 2006). The emergent android and the Apple innovations have made wristwatches to recover their lost magnificence. Due to such notions, this essay discuses Samsung Smart Watch as one of the successful wearable products.

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The Innovation Product: Samsung Smart Watch

While most technology developers are still focusing on developing products that are highly demanded by the ordinary consumers, Samsung Company has been extremely keen about the plight of the conspicuous consumers (Jordans 2013). Samsung Company, which relies mostly on the android technological platform, has moved towards making wearable technologies such as watches. One of their conspicuous tech products is the Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Gear that made its market debut in September 2013 (SmartWatchBooks 2013). Samsung Smart Watch is a high-end tech product that is capable of performing a range of functions with support from other smartphone apps. With a high reliability in communication and trendiness, the Samsung Galaxy Digital Wristwatch comes with several features, incorporated using the modern technology (Jordans 2013). Samsung Galaxy Smart is a product of unique innovation that matches the demands of the conspicuous consumers. This is the reason why the Watch has been dominating the market of wearable wristwatch technologies in many nations.

The Samsung Mobile Communications produced the Galaxy Gear as a move to counter the growing competition for the wristwatch technologies that several mobile companies have nowadays discovered (Roberts 2014). Although the watch appeared during the high controversies surrounding the innovation techniques that Samsung has been using, the Samsung Galaxy Digital Wristwatch was an innovation product that was to determine the prevalence of Samsung in the market (SmartWatchBooks 2013). With its archrivals the Apple Corporation, the Qualcomm Telecommunications, and the Sony Mobile Corporation seeking to venture in the business of Smart Watches, the product innovation, and management of the Samsung Galaxy Gear has been a considerable factor. Roberts (2014) states that although Digital Smart Watches have been in existence for several months since technology shifted towards the manufacturing of wearable technologies, there has been little focus on the essence of Digital Smart Watches. Nonetheless, a continuum of product innovation factors has made the Samsung Company to register a considerable success in the development of the Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch.

Stage 1 of Product Innovation: Opportunity Identification and Selection Stage

The first stage of beginning an innovation of a product is the opportunity identification and selection stage (Bailur 2006). Before the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Gear in September 2013, the whole process of identifying the product began on a business rivalry point. According to Roberts (2014), the product identification process began immediately when Samsung’s closest business rival Apple, had created rumours about its interest in developing a Smart Watch as their anticipated product innovation (Fisk 2014). During this moment, Pebble had created a market interest for the new consumers who were eagerly waiting for a set of innovations that were likely to happen in the world of the digital wristwatches (Fisk 2014). While in its efforts to strategize on how to permeate into the already confused market of the wearable internet-connected devices, Samsung remained keen about the factors of product design, product price, marketing techniques, and the state of the Smart Watch consumer market. These vital factors made the gear to excel.

The Market Performance of Samsung Galaxy Gear

Despite the presence of a tough competition arising from the Sony Smart Watches, the Apple Smart Watches, and the Qualcomm Smart Watches, the Galaxy Gear has recorded an astounding market performance within its shortest market period (Roberts 2014). As a wearable internet-connected device, the developers of this Smart Watch had highly anticipated that the Samsung Galaxy Wristwatch would maneuver in the highly competitive markets. Reports about the performance of the Samsung Smart Watches in the global markets in terms of the market share, the market size, and the market trends have proven a considerable triumph for this Digital Device (Roberts 2014). This report focused on the global market reports that emerged prior to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Digital Wristwatch. The analysis focused on the market share, the estimated market size, the financial performance, the consumer perceptions, and other relevant indicators that defined the market performance of the Galaxy Wristwatch.

Immediately after its launch, consumers were oblivious about the fame of the Galaxy Smart Watch. To counter the growing speculations about the prominence of the Galaxy Gear, Samsung Telecommunications released its Smart Watch sales of the two months (Rossman 2013). In November 2013, within a short period of two months after its debut into the Smart Watch Market, the sales records revealed that Samsung Telecommunications had sold about 800, 000 units of Samsung Galaxy Smart Watches (Roberts 2014). In addition to its successful sales, consumer reviews and opinions showed that the Galaxy Smart Watch became the most popular Digital Wristwatch in the European and the Asian markets. Towards the end of December 2013, through a global ranking index, Samsung took a market leader position ahead of Nike, Garmin, Apple, Android, Qualcomm, Pebble, and the Sony Smart Watches. This was an amazing performance of the Smart Watch just two months after its market debut.

While still grappling with pressure from its major competitors, the Samsung Galaxy Wristwatch made another market success in the year 2014. In Samsung’s first quarter report of May 2014 concerning the progress of the Galaxy Gear, Samsung revealed that the Watch had managed to dominate 71% of the entire Smart Watch market share (Fisk 2014). Roberts (2014) states that in two separate 2014 reports from the Global Business Focus and from the Digital Trends, news revealed that there were approximately 2 million Smart Watches sold from September 2013 to February 2014. In these two reports, Samsung Smart Watches and Android Smart Watches recorded the highest sales volumes. Throughout 2014, the Samsung Galaxy Gear continued to dominate the major Smart Watch markets in the Asian countries, across Europe and within the North American regions (Johnson 2014). In 2014 and in the beginning of 2015, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear accounted for about 80% of all the wearable internet-connected devices shipped during the two-year period.

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The Applicable Product Innovation Theory

Several theories have existed concerning the emergent technologies and innovations, which people are increasingly developing the need for their markets (Li 2013). One of the famous theories that match the wearable internet-connected devices such as the Smart Watches is the theory of Disruptive Innovations. The theory of disruptive innovations originally began with Professor Clayton M. Christensen from the Harvard University. Clayton M. Christensen was researching about the facts behind the innovation of the computer disk-drive industry after wondering how new technologies reshape the trends in the consumer markets (Yu & Hung 2009). The general idea behind the theory of disruptive innovations is that certain products in the market appear specifically for a new set of consumers. Christensen explained that certain innovations gradually transform an existing market by coming up with the ideas of convenience, simplicity, exemplarity, accessibility, and affordability (Yu & Hung 2009). Such innovations happen to maneuver in the markets where product complications, consumer confusion, and costs are dominant issues that are affecting the consumer market.

Although the word disruptive, may literally sound as a troublesome innovation, the whole idea of the disruptive innovation actually lies in the fact that some products use their magnificence to capture the attention of the dormant consumers in a niche market (Jordan-Marsh 2010). During the era of Christensen, mainframes and minicomputers were the dominant personal computers in the computer industry and their prices and operating difficulties often discouraged the consumers (Yu & Hung 2009). Apart from the high purchasing costs, hiring computer engineers to provide operational assistances for the consumers was somewhat hectic for the computer lovers (Li 2013). With time, the computer technology reshaped to produce more convenient, affordable, and effective personal computers that influenced buyers to purchase them (Garcia & Calantone 2002). The modified computers gradually created new consumer markets and ultimately displaced the initial computer industry that was somewhat confusing and challenging for the consumers (Yu & Hung 2009). Such issues in the disruptive innovations are clear indications that some products can appear in the markets to alter the purchasing trends.

While reshaping his theory, Christensen came up with two major forms of technologies (Yu & Hung 2009). According to Christensen, “there are revolutionary, discontinuous, breakthrough, radical, emergent or step-function technologies and there are evolutionary, continuous, and incremental technologies” (Yu & Hung 2009, p.4). Christensen also gave broader classifications of disruptive technologies such as the low-end disruptive innovations and the new-market disruptive innovations (Yu & Hung 2009). In the case of Samsung Telecommunications and its new Smart Watch, the innovations that instigated the development of the Samsung Galaxy Digital Wristwatch were the type of innovations that are under the class of new-market disruptive innovations (Jordans 2013). The intentions of releasing the Samsung Galaxy Gear primarily based on the new-markets that the admirers of the wearable internet-connected devices had created. Samsung innovators were aware that the demand for the wearable technologies was increasing and the eager consumers were waiting for the new models of the wristwatches.

Success Factors to its Market Performance

The theory of disruptive innovations believes that products produced through disruptive technologies are never easy to market given the state of the confused consumer markets (Jackson 2006). Therefore, companies often make extra efforts in providing comprehensive strategic plans that must assure the prominence and success of the released products. As Christensen postulated, products that emerge due to the disruptive innovation techniques must often consider the factors of convenience, accessibility, affordability, exemplarity, and simplicity to earn the market fame. Such factors enable the manufacturers to single out certain strategic plans that enable the products to win a new consumer market and displace the existing market (Bailur 2006). What may actually explain the success of the Samsung Galaxy Gear is a range of production, management, and marketing factors that provided a platform for an easy success of the product (Fisk 2014). These factors include product-designing techniques, innovative production, proper product financing, innovative pricing plans, effective management, and efficient marketing management.

Galaxy Wristwatch Design and Features

The theory of disruptive innovation claims that products that emerge due to disruptive technologies normally come with the elements of efficiency, convenience, and exemplarity (Grieves 2003). Perhaps what inspired the buyers of the Samsung Galaxy Gear is the design of the watch that one can simply describe as elegant. Using their homemade Tizen software, Samsung integrated 12 superbly designed apps that offered convenience for the consumers on issues of sports and wellness activities, medical and health, call making and texting, and other relevant functions. For the conspicuous buyers, the watch acts as a personal health coach, an all-round communication device supported with modern social media, and a personal training coach that helps people to train on personal fitness. Such exemplarities and conveniences are among the most important factors that reviewers have cited as the reasons for purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch (Rossman 2013). The first impression that most consumers created was that the Galaxy Gear had best features.

Innovation in the Production Process

Product innovation begins during the production process where the company is able to strategize on the various elements of production (Grieves 2003). Samsung Telecommunications was sure about the production cycle and its production strategies had met the desired expectations of the buyers of the luxury products (Roberts 2014). The strategic plan for the acquisition of the designers from various engineering firms had begun as early as 2012, when Samsung managers raised the issue of investing in the wearable internet-connected devices. Samsung’s wristwatch technology then received a support from various sectors of the company and other interested parties outside the organization (Roberts 2014). Knowing the app developers, liaising with the hardware developers, and preparing the investors are some of the earliest approaches that the production and innovation managers did before starting the whole process of producing the Galaxy Gear. The deal of producing the Samsung Gear happened in a strategic manner that allowed for the designing of adequate investment plans, management preparations, and the marketing strategies.

Strategic Human Resource and Technical Partnerships

Giant firms are fond of engaging in strategic partnerships to make their production and innovation goals and targets successful (Grieves 2003). The theory of disruptive innovations assumes that “disruptive technologies are technologies that provide different values from the mainstream technologies and are initially inferior to the mainstream technologies along the dimensions of performance that are most important to mainstream customers” (Yu & Hung 2009, p. 2). In a bid to reinforce its idea of producing the Samsung Galaxy Wristwatch, Samsung strategically allied with various hardware and software developers to produce the exemplary product. Christensen believes that for a disruptive innovation to succeed in the market, companies should be willing to explore beyond the limits of technology, promote technical collaborations, and merge in issues of human capital. Johnson (2014) highlights that Samsung Telecommunications Company merged efforts strategically with the Run-Keeper app developers and several other tech giants to produce the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Such efforts made the watch to be more appealing to the users.

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Innovative Financing Strategies

For a luxury product to maneuver in the highly dormant conspicuous markets, Christensen advises manufacturers and innovators to be financially supportive in the marketing of their tech products (Jordan-Marsh 2010). One of the innovative strategies that made the Samsung Galaxy Gear successful in the market is the financing strategies that Samsung Company had developed. To counter the developing rumors about the market fame of the Galaxy Gear, Samsung Company boosted its marketing channels with huge amounts of funds approximated to $33 million to hit a record of 800,000 unit sales (Kaser & Oelkers 2015). Such an extensive financial support in the financial year of 2013 made the Galaxy Smart Watch to regain its deteriorated market fame and dominate the Smart Watch market in the beginning of 2014 (Kaser & Oelkers 2015). This implies that with enough financial backing, luxury goods that are normally difficult to promote, are able to triumph in their dormant markets.

Innovative Pricing Techniques

Pricing of an innovative tech product is a paramount aspect that determines the market performance of an intended product (Cooper & Edgett 2009). Samsung’s strategic pricing plan is what actually made the Samsung Galaxy Gear to triumph in the market. The theory of disruptive innovation believes that product affordability is a paramount factor. Despite its hi-tech features, the Samsung Galaxy Gear has been trending on fairer prices than the prices of the Smart Watches of its closest competitor, the Apple Company (West, Ford & Ibrahim 2015). While still using the advantage of an early launching process and the silence of the Qualcomm and Sony companies, who never said anything about their prices, Samsung placed its prices slightly lower than that of its favorite competitors (Roberts 2014). While people remained scared by the high prices that Apple, Pebble, Garmin, and Nike were imposing on their Smart Watches, the low-pricing strategy of the Galaxy Gear was a welcoming factor for the consumers (Fisk 2014). The Samsung Smart Watch was selling at an affordable price range of between $299 and $350.

Innovative Marketing Management

A significant factor that contributed to the triumph of the Samsung Smart Watch in the highly competitive market is the sophisticated marketing strategies that the company had utilized (Pride & Ferrell 2015). Firstly, the Samsung Telecommunications Company used the month of September as a strategic marketing period to launch the Smart Watch. Investment experts claim that innovation firms often launch conspicuous products some days before the beginning of the festive seasons such as Christmas. Such approaches make companies to record high sales and allow time for the consumer feedbacks in January and February (Pride & Ferrell 2015). Secondly, to make the Smart Watch more marketable, the Samsung management launched the Digital Wristwatch ahead of the most anticipated IFA annual consumer electronics show. Sony and Qualcomm had already delayed to release any news pertaining to their Smart Watches (Jordans 2013). The two strategic marketing plans made the Samsung Digital Wristwatch to permeate the market so rapidly and dominate the major tech zones.

Innovative Marketing Techniques

Apart from reasoning faster than their fellows in the Smart Watch Market could, the managers of the Samsung Company knew the essence of using the digital platforms to advertise their Smart Watch. According to Rossman (2013), Samsung first began by researching and analyzing the eminence of their rivals and their product launching strategies (Hendrickson & Sawyer 2010). Samsung marketers were highly aware about the need to create a public awareness about their newly launched Galaxy Smart Watch. As a powerful tool for enhancing the Galaxy’s market performance, Samsung designed a strategic marketing plan that involved the use of modern communication platforms to publicize its Smart Watch (Rossman 2013). Samsung had known its market relevance and reputation and therefore, the managers used the digital television platforms, the social media platforms, the online retail stores, and some powerful websites to create awareness about its features and its affordable market prices (Rossman 2013). Samsung’s extensive marketing plans enabled the Galaxy Gear to dominate the Asian and the North American luxury markets.

Conclusion

As the new topic of product innovation and management continues to dominate most of the recent commercial and academic discussions, it is important to understand the several changes in the real world that have inspired such developments. When Christensen designed the theory of disruptive technologies, there was a whole idea that some products would emerge in the niche markets as a way of creating a new influence on the informed and the uninformed consumers. Samsung Galaxy Gear is one of the most sophisticated technologies that Samsung have successfully designed and marketed within the highly unpredictable consumer markets. Despite experiencing some significant setbacks in their launch of the Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch, the strategic plans in the phases of product designing, product management, and product marketing have really enabled the Samsung Gear to record an astounding market performance. Individual company efforts and strategic joint deals have made the Samsung Gear to emerge as a successful innovation despite the current market competition.

References

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