New ideas are continually emerging, but it is difficult to ensure these ideas are developed successfully. As a result, several ways have evolved to support the development of new products.
Traditionally, new businesses would borrow money from a bank to raise enough funds to develop a project. This is risky and, with interest payments, can be expensive. Crowdfunding uses websites to advertise products as investment opportunities, where people can choose to back a project with a financial donation if they think it will be viable. Backers are often rewarded with free gifts, discounts or a pre-agreed part of any profits if the product is successful.
Promotion of products online and sharing experiences, reviews and recommendations has rapidly become part of the retail experience. Algorithms can generate information about users’ buying habits and suggest relevant retail sites for them to try using search engine optimisation (SEO). Blogs, vlogs and social media all provide advertising platforms, and costs of retailing from a website are far lower than from a high street shop.
Cooperatives are organisations with lots of people working together towards common goals. The cooperative is run and owned by members who share decision-making, profits and risk. The Co-operative Group, John Lewis and Partners and Nationwide Building Society are examples of cooperatives in the UK.
Fair trade is a trading partnership that ensures workers in developing countries are given suitable working conditions and are paid a fair wage. It is not a legal obligation for companies to follow, but it has become more popular over time as it represents a growing belief that workers who produce products should be treated well. This has encouraged companies to fair trade endorse some of their products to support their sales.