Co-Founder and COO at MiniTool Software Ltd. Dedicated in data recovery, disk management, backup and restore industry.
All products go through a five-stage life cycle: research and development, release, growth, maturity and decline. However, the life span of a product is different based on its industry, use, era and district. Based on software programs in the 2020s, this article will discuss how to extend a product’s life span.
Why do we need to extend the product life cycle (PLC)? When developing a new product that needs a large amount of money, time and energy and that might not succeed in the end, it is of great importance to keep our mature products generating revenue with maximum productivity. Therefore, why not take full advantage of your current products and try to make them live longer?
What will influence the life span of a product? Generally speaking, the type (product orientation), release time, applied location and competitor, as well as many other aspects, will determine how long the product will last.
First of all, different kinds of software have different life spans. Usually, functional software (e.g., Chrome, WhatsApp or Photoshop) tends to live longer than entertainment software like video games.
Second, the era will influence the product life span. Compared to the twentieth century, there has been a great speed increase in software development in the twenty-first century. That is to say, software replacement happens more frequently now, and software life span tends to be shorter than before.
Third, the market environment at the point in time when your product was published is critical. If your product was released when its kind of application was becoming popular, it has a great chance to gain more popularity than its successors, unless it is poor quality or has to compete with products developed by giant enterprises.
In addition, the product’s market location also plays an important role in determining its life span. In different locations or areas, due to the different levels of IT technology, the update period of software is varied. Generally, software programs upgrade more often in highly developed countries than in other locations.
Moreover, the competitor of a product is another factor influencing how long it can survive. The number and competitiveness of a program’s rivals determine how fast it will be replaced if it fails in the competition.
Many other unexpected reasons also have a big influence on how soon a product will come to its end of life. For example, with the support of Android apps in Windows 11, many Android emulators for Windows will see their end of life.
So how do you extend a product’s life span? How do you maintain a mature or even declining software and make it last as long as possible? For applications that are at different life stages, the methods are varied.
Extend The Life Span Of Products In Mature Stages
Usually, taking action while the software is still in its mature stage or heyday will greatly extend its life span.
• Enrich sales strategies. The traditional promotion methods still work. Yet, you need fresh and eye-catching tricks to attract more users. Introduce more ways to sell your software, especially the current popular ones, such as social networking service (SNS) selling, sales during a live broadcast by key opinion leaders (KOLs) and presales with discounts.
• Expand the product market. Expand the market to more countries and territories as well as apply localization to the program’s language, price and support service. If that’s hard to do by yourself, find a local agent to cooperate with.
• Optimize product prices. Adjust software prices according to the market, lower prices to attract more customers, use different prices for different editions or show different prices to visitors coming from different devices, channels and countries.
• Add new features regularly. Add new features that satisfy users’ demands for your software to keep it fresh and new. Usually, a simple bug fix will remind users that you value the product and are always keeping an eye on it.
• Find a partner. Find a partner program, either from your company or other companies, and sell the two products together. As a result, those programs will share their markets with each other and increase sales simultaneously.
Extend The Life Span Of Products In Declining Stages
Although your software may seem on its way to death, it is still possible to bring it back to life. You can seize this last chance and do something to make it live longer. All of the following suggestions are based on the premise that you can make profits through these actions.
• Change the product function. Optimize old features or even add new utilities to the product, like new features and services, new applied platforms and new versions or editions.
• Change the product design. A new appearance will give people a new impression that may persuade them to pay for the product.
• Change the product name. Similar to product appearance, a new name may also help customers remember your product and buy it.
Actually, if there is enough budget and your product is still promising for you, you can also apply all the methods listed above for mature products to your declining products.
The Challenges For Extending Product Life Spans
Although you can take some actions to expand software life span, it doesn’t always work or get remarkable effects. On the one hand, it is difficult to make products always meet the changing tastes of customers. On the other hand, many existing and more incoming competitors will make it harder and harder to prolong the life of a declining product.
Besides, many companies, especially small businesses, don’t have enough budget to maintain a product that is nearing the end of its life. Moreover, it’s very hard to reach out to more customers or find a good partner for a dying product.
All in all, it’s not easy to extend the life of a product, especially when it is already declining. If the declining product is one of your main products, you have good reason to try reviving it. If you want to increase the chance of extending a product’s life span, act before it’s too late!