How to Write a Product Summary Report

Zephyr18/iStock/GettyImages

The products your company sells are a foundational aspect of your business. They are designed to appeal to a specific audience segment, with unique features that help them stand out from the competition. When you’re looking to research your product in depth, a product summary report can come in handy. It is a useful business tool that outlines specific information pertaining to your products.

Establish the Goal of Your Product Report

There are many objectives of a product report, which vary based on your industry, role and goal. The first step to writing an effective product report is to identify your main objective. These may include:

  • Detailing findings from durability and quality tests on a product
  • Researching competitive industry products
  • Establishing the marketable benefits and features of your products
  • Specifying the many uses for your product

Understanding your product summary report objective will help you to create a detailed plan that focuses on your main goal. The sections of your report should be structured in order to help you meet the objective you have identified.

Identify Your Product Summary Report Audience

Your product summary report should be written for a specific audience group. These groups may include company executives, technical employees, sales and marketing employees, industry experts and prospects and consumers.

The audience of your report will inform the kind of information you can include. For example, if you’re writing for a group of technical employees in your organization, you can use technical terminology when discussing your product because that will be familiar to your audience. It wouldn’t be wise to use the same terminology with your sales and marketing employees, as they may not be familiar with industry jargon.

Similarly, the level of confidential information in your report will vary depending on the audience. For example, you can include certain confidential information in reports designed for internal review only. However, it would be wise to avoid adding any confidential details in reports that are written for external audiences.

Write an Executive Summary

The first section of your product summary report is the executive summary. This area provides a brief overview of the entire report. It is designed to give the readers the gist of the information without having to read the entire report. A product summary example should include the goal of your report, the product you’re discussing, the findings you have uncovered and your recommendations for next steps.

Keep in mind that while the executive summary is the first section of the report, it is often written last. That’s because you need to know the full details of the report before you can condense them down into a few short paragraphs for the executive summary.

Introduce the Product to Your Reader

After the executive summary, include a section that introduces the product to the reader of the report. This provides them with background details and context if they are not intimately familiar with the product.

Your product description example should include the product name, target audience, defining characteristics and features and any other relevant details like manufacturing materials or processes. You can also include images of the product if they will help the reader to better understand the subject matter of the report.

Test the Product and Provide Results

If you are conducting any quality, durability or resiliency tests on the product, include the parameters for testing in your report. For example, mention that the product was tested for battery life and strength.

Include the full scope of results from your testing and qualify what the results mean. For example, if the product tested a 9/10 for durability, explain the quality of the result. Was that the expected or target result? If not, how far off was the result? How does that result compare to industry standards?

Compare the Product to the Competition

In some product summary reports, businesses compare the product to similar products on the market. This is to better understand the competition they face and to learn what characteristics of their product make it unique. Competitive testing can be done to improve the quality of the product itself or to understand the market and how to frame the product benefits.

When comparing products in your report, it may be useful to present the findings in a chart form. That way, you can have all of the products’ characteristics side by side so the reader can see the differences at a glance. If one product stands out in a particular category, highlight the results so it’s clear to the reader.

Outline Consumer or Market Research Feedback

If your product report includes consumer feedback, include some sample reviews and testimonials from the customers you interviewed. If you notice any trends in consumer feedback, note those in this section. For example, have the majority of consumers complained that the price of the product is too high? Have they said that they really like the cordless feature?

Categorize the kinds of feedback you have received so that the reader can understand what kind of feedback the market has provided. Be sure to also include the specific questions you asked the consumers in the first place.

Offer Recommendations for Improvement

Based on the various research you have conducted, offer your recommendations to improve your product. Your product report should help the readers understand what options they have in order to meet their business goals, which may include increasing sales and improving marketability.

Be sure to include the specific research on which you are basing your suggestions. For example: “Based on the consistent consumer feedback that the price of the product is too high, I recommend we lower the price by $10 in order to be in line with competitive products. This will appease consumers and increase sales of the product.”

Discuss the Risks and Obstacles to Success

As with any changes to the business, there will be risks and obstacles that you may encounter. Outline what those are for the recommendations you are providing. For example, if you are suggesting changing the packaging of the product based on a thorough competitive analysis, the risks may include negative customer feedback.

Obstacles may include the high cost of the new packaging. It’s important to clearly outline any issues your business may encounter and offer ways to mitigate those issues.

Provide an Actionable Conclusion

In your product report conclusion, cover the main recommendations you have suggested and briefly outline the risks and obstacles with any suggestions to overcome them.

End your conclusion with the next steps so the reader knows what to do next — for example, “I suggest the executive team meets to discuss the findings of the report and to identify our action plan for the next quarter in order to meet our business goals.”

Attach Appendices for Review

After your conclusion, add any appendices and attachments that may be relevant to the reader. These can be full research notes, customer feedback or other third-party research you consulted. This information is usually summarized within the report.

However, if the readers want more details or need to look at the source, they can do so by reviewing the appendices. Be sure to include a list of appendices in the table of contents so the reader can clearly identify what additional information is attached to the report.

References

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.