Small businesses and enterprises generally sell and manage a large catalog of goods. To have a full understanding of each item in their inventory, business owners should maintain product reports.
With these records, top-level executives and department managers can determine the unique features and marketability of a product. It also allows business teams to collaborate and conduct thorough product research. Additionally, product reports can be used to inform consumers about the item's function and purpose.
11 Steps to Writing a Product Report
Product reports are documents that outline specific details and features of a tangible good. Businesses from across all industries should create and track product reports to keep a record of their operations. The following are 11 key steps to writing a comprehensive report.
1. Determine the Objective of the Product Report
Before creating a product report, teams must establish their key objectives for the document. By establishing an objective, the organization will be able to develop a report that targets their specific needs. Product reports can serve many different purposes, depending on a business's industry, goals, or department. The following are some of its common uses.
Describing the outcomes of durability and quality tests
Delineating the different ways a product functions
Identifying unique features of a product and its marketability
Researching products in the industry
2. Establish the Audience for the Product Report
Product reports are usually written for a specific individual or group of people. Typically, audiences include high-level executives, employees, departments, IT specialists, and customers.
By identifying which entity the product report is for, the organization will know what information and terminology they must incorporate. For instance, when writing for a marketing team, the report can include department-specific jargon. On the other hand, reports for customers and non-marketing employees should be in layman's terms to ensure comprehension.
Additionally, the amount of confidential information will change depending on the audience. While it can be beneficial to include sensitive business knowledge for executives, it is should be omitted for public review.
3. Create an Executive Summary
An executive summary is a short overview of the overall product report. The summary is usually located in the first section of the document. This allows readers to quickly understand the purpose and details of the report without having to read it in its entirety. The following are key points that should be included in the summary.
The goal of the report
Name or description of the product
Critical conclusions that were uncovered about the product
Improvements that need to be made to the product
It may be helpful to write the executive summary after the report is written. Since all details of the report are already established, it will be easier to condense the information.
4. Introduce the Product
Following the executive summary, there needs to be a section that introduces the product to the audience. This part should include the following information.
Images or drawings of the product
5. Conduct a Product Test and Include Results
At this stage, the organization should run tests to check the product's quality, resiliency, or durability. The product report needs to have comprehensive details that describe the testing process, reasons for the test, and its results. When recording the results, the team should answer the following questions.
What is the quality of the result?
Is this conclusion expected? And why?
If it was not the targeted result, what caused it to not follow expectations? And what does this mean?
How do the test results compare to standards set by the industry?
6. Compare Products to Competition
In many product reports, brands will include a section that compares their goods to those similar in the market. This helps the reader understand the various competitors, as well as what makes the business's product more unique. Additionally, it allows the company to identify how they can improve the product and the different ways they can highlight their item's benefits.
7. Delineate Customer Feedback or Market Research
Product reports oftentimes have customer reviews and testimonials. This provides insight into the general public's experience with the product. It also helps business teams identify trends in feedback, to which they can determine improvements for the item.
8. Incorporate Recommendations for Product Improvement
The business should then include recommendations to enhance the product based on insights found in research and feedback. These suggestions give the audience guidance as to how the brand can improve and meet its goals.
9. Outline Risks or Obstacles
Any changes to a product may pose risks or obstacles to business operations. Therefore, after providing a suggestion, the team should outline different issues the brand may experience and how they can mitigate them. For example, if a retailer recommends changing a product's packaging, a problem that may arise is increased expenses. A solution to this obstacle could be to find a new supplier for the packaging.
10. Conclude with Actionable Insights
For the conclusion of the product report, it is important to summarize the key recommendations and risk mitigation strategies. The conclusion should also detail the next steps for the business. For instance, the report may end by telling department managers to discuss the report and strategize a new plan to promote the product.
11. Attach Relevant Files
Once the report has been concluded, any relevant appendices and files should be attached or noted at the bottom. These documents include customer feedback, research, and notes. This ensures the reader has access to additional information and can reference the sources within the product report.