Most products typically go through several stages of evolution once they are introduced to a market. The four most commonly recognized stages are: 1) introduction, 2) growth, 3) maturity, and 4) decline. In the introduction stage, products are usually highly risky for retailers, and as a result, brands can expect lower margins and generally stricter terms; reps dealing with products at this phase also tend to charge a higher commission rate and often add a time-based consulting fee to their terms as well.  In the growth stage, early adopters begin to take notice of a product and the available market opportunity expands rapidly; this is the stage where brands have the most leverage, and margins tend to reach peak levels. The maturity stage represents the point where a product’s sales begin to plateau as competition increases or the available market is saturated; at the mature stage of the product lifecycle, a brand’s bargaining power begins to deteriorate, as do its margins, and developing a follow-up product or feature set becomes critically important. Finally, in the decline stage, the available market begins to shrink and end consumers become increasingly price sensitive; few retailers or reps are interested in products in this stage, so the brand will have to replace or discontinue the product in short order. 

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