How to write a product specification for a physical product
Play • 25 min

You can read the entire blog post here.

What is a product specification and why do you need one?

A product specification is a full description of your product, what it is, what it consists of, what it does, etc. 

This would give a potential supplier all the information they need to confirm whether they can meet your brief and what it’ll cost.  

What do to first

If you’re thinking about writing your product specification then I hope you’ve already carried out some customer and market research. 

If not, try some of the blog posts and previous episodes linked below.

Why do I suggest you do all of this pre-work before writing your product specification?

  1. You’ve hopefully used what you’ve learnt from your customers, the market and your competitors to really refine your product, down to the smallest details. It’s important to figure out what makes your product unique from other, similar products already on the market.
  2. Doing this work in advance means you have a really clear idea of what you’re looking for and a really tight brief. This makes the sourcing process a lot simpler, as it’s much easier to start ruling out anyone who can’t meet your specification.
  3. If you’ve done the work and are still here, it means you’ve had some validation that there’s a need for your product and that the costs stack up and it can be profitable. I always think it’s good to have that!

What kind of things should my product specification include?

Your specification needs to include everything someone would need to confirm that they can meet your brief (or not) and give an accurate quote for your product.

Here are some of the things you might include in your production specification:

  • A brief description of what your product is
  • The sizes and / or dimensions 
  • The weight
  • Material(s) to be used
  • Any specific notes on quality and finish
  • Colour(s) / patterns
  • Designs 
  • Will the product have variant? If so, how many and what will these be
  • How you want your product packaged
  • Ingredients or components to be used or omitted 
  • The number of items in total – i.e is your product a pack containing more than one product
  • Any branding requirements – i.e. do you want a sticker on a box, or custom-made packaging
  • Any labelling requirements – i.e. do you require a washing label, or a swing tag applied

This isn’t a definitive list, as the requirements vary so much between different products and product types. It’s just a starting point.

How do you write a product specification?

I suggest using the list above as a starting point and listing out all the details you have.

This will then form the basis of any communication you’ll send to potential suppliers and manufacturers.

I also suggest pulling together sketches, photos, etc, to help explain what you’re looking for.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Episode 5 - Want to create a product? 4 things to do first

Episode 6 - How and why to validate your product ideas

Episode 9 - How to carry out your own customer and market research

Product validation mini-course

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