Product Launch Strategy For Ecommerce Business (Step By Step)
A study conducted by Professor Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School found that nearly 30,000 new products hit the market every year but almost 95% percent fail to make itself as a steady product in the long run.
Another study made by Professor Inez Blackburn of the University of Toronto says that the failure rate of new grocery store products is 70 to 80%.
Simply put, the thousands of hours of brainstorming, innovative concepts, and marketing strategies employed by a company can find its way out of the market within no time in the absence of practical implementation strategies and know-how while launching your next product.
Launching a new product is not a child’s game and requires meticulous planning, creative marketing ideas, great content, and a sustainable implementation strategy to make a product successful, especially when the market is riddled with numerous identical products, fierce competition, and false promises to the customers.
Building A Launching Strategy For A Product On An Ecommerce Platform
The success of a product on an eCommerce platform depends on numerous factors but can be roughly divided into three stages –
- Pre-launch or the Planning phase
- The Launch phase
- The Post-launch phase
Let’s look into the above points in detail-
Pre-Launch Or The Planning Phase
Planning may sound like an obvious stage in the launch process, but a few key areas need to be looked into while moving ahead. They are-
The Rationale Of The Product
Each product is created with some purpose that it is intended to serve.
There are millions of identical products in the market that can essentially mirror your product in many ways.
The rationale helps to identify different marketing strategies and obtain a clear ‘understanding of market needs, which can ‘create accurate solutions to satisfy the needs.
Preparing a plan based on the core fundamentals of your product, its uses and the ways it proves to be an effective solution for the customer’s needs must be reflected in the planning phase.
This ensures that your product shines distinctively through the competition effectively without any resistance.
Create A Timeline And Product Roadmap
Creating a product launch roadmap is the core strategy when launching a new product. Such a framework can be broken down into a step-by-step process to enable the exchange of ideas with the product development team and marketing team.
For seamless progress in the development of a product, a Product Roadmap proves to be a strategic blueprint with concrete timelines for the later stages of product promotion.
Product launch timelines can help to split your product launch phases into multiple parts and make them more manageable.
With each step, the product can create credible hype and anticipation during the pre-launch stage itself and ensure its success during the product launch date.
Since the development of a new product involves approval from different departments and coordination between numerous teams, a timeline enables smooth team communication and coordination with a clear view of the assignments, their progress, and eventual completion.
Identify And Connect With Target Users
Before connecting with the market, it is necessary to identify your key target audience. This can be done by numerous traditional means including focus group studies, surveys, social listening, etc.
However, the presence of your product on social media may need different strategies.
For example, if you are launching fitness equipment as your core product, creating different social media handles on Instagram that discuss health tips, diets, shakes, daily tips, etc., way before the launch can help.
This strategy can ‘collect’ your target audience and understand their needs before a product launch.
Once you have an engaging target audience within your reach, it becomes easy to introduce an ‘identifiable’ product that can help with the needs of your audience.
This transition of customers becomes seemingly seamless by employing such stacking or ‘vertical building’ and improves your ‘business account’ for prolonged brand awareness.
Remember, sustained awareness of a product among the people creates a brand image and propels sales. This can be done by starting early and engaging with them even before the product is introduced into the market.
Once the product is created, it needs to be tested extensively among existing customers or focus groups to gather its performance data and enable any improvement if necessary.
Feedback from this phase helps to understand different ways to approach a problem and solve them along with ways to minimize production costs.
However, this phase must be included in the planning phase with a proper timeline so that the improved product reaches the market without any technical problems or delays.
One of the ways a product launch fails is by hyping the product without ensuring enough stock.
Once the testing phase is over, and the product is ready, it is necessary to maintain a good stock level of the new product to ensure enough quantities for distribution.
The goal of inventory management must be to minimize the cost of holding inventory while securing consistent stock levels for market promotions as well as enabling quicker reach into the hands of the customer.
And for the merchants who are worried about whether their products will sell effectively or may end up selling out fast can provide customers with the option of pre-order to ensure sales as well as secure more product inventory.
Modern delivery methods like Dropshipping can help manage inventory overhead and also reduce shipping costs considerably.
Build A Sustainable Market Strategy
This is the most obvious stage fundamental to the sale of a product. The first step of a strategically planned marketing campaign is to create a strong message to engage customers.
Creating a storyline to convey that message effectively is a way to help customers associate with a new product and how it can satisfy their needs.
The next step would be to identify the ‘right’ marketing channels and use them to demonstrate an appealing audio-visual display of the product in action.
Depending on the audience segments, using multiple channels like emails, social media messaging, SMS, etc., can be employed for better outreach.
This stage comes as a part of the pre-launch structure so that when the product launches, eCommerce merchants have an action plan ready without any delay.
This is the most crucial part of your product’s pre-launch activity and the last phase of the pre-launch activity.
Choosing the correct audio and visual content to convey the features of a product is critical.
This is the phase where eCommerce merchants can develop eye-catching websites, creative landing pages, accurate product descriptions, videos, and other auxiliary content to enhance traditional and digital marketing methods to ensure an all-encompassing outreach of a new product.
Bill Gates coined the phrase – ‘Content is King’ way back in the 80s; however, today, the quote has grown to the following phrase going by – Content is King, but engagement is Queen.
This essentially points out the importance of creative and thought-provoking content and its impact on creating product awareness and its ability in engaging the target audience for effective sales.
Well-thought-out, creative content can ensure a new product is the symbol of brand value and transform the identity of an ordinary business into a coveted trademark with sustained brand awareness.
Final Steps Before Product Launch Day
Aspects like product pricing, training, set-up time of the product, product pitches, etc. are significant to a product launch strategy.
Generally, the last step before the launch day, this area requires planning and preparation to enable a smooth product launch.
Use the Right Tools
Additional to the above, automating a launch strategy with effective CRM tools, Product Management tools, Marketing, and Sales tools and Feedback support tools can yield higher productivity.
This helps to optimize marketing strategies, workloads, and product management from planning to the launch and post-launch phases without missing out on key milestone activities.
For instance, HubSpot CRM provides several tools that can optimize CMS, Marketing, Sales, Services, and Operations under one roof.
Similarly, tools like Trello, Jira, Zapier, etc. can be used for product management while Drift or UserVoice can be used as customer support tools.
Also, many tools can automate marketing and sales activities to help create a Product Roadmap.
Product Launch Phase
On the D-day, there should be a clear idea to engage customers with the hype that was already created during the pre-launch phase.
Reinforce The Hype
Employing marketing strategies like hosting a giveaway or contest before the release date can help anchor the image of a newly launched product in the minds of people.
Apart from this, organizing marketing events, inviting press conferences, sneak previews to social media influencers, and answering audiences will enhance the brand value of a new product.
For example, releasing a product on a sales day like Black Friday can create a huge hype, and sustain crowd participation and sales traction.
Since the market already identifies such days with promotions and saving options, the coverage would be immense and provide a platform to convey the product quite effectively.
In a nutshell, the launch day must be considered as ‘the moment to capitalize on the previous hype that was accomplished during the pre-launch stages.
Launch The Product With A Strong Campaign
This is the moment every eCommerce merchant, manufacturer, or product designer has been waiting for – the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work, deliberate thinking, concept generation, planning, and involvement of people from different walks of life.
However, even during this stage, entrepreneurs can implement marketing automation platforms that can help drive traffic to their product landing pages.
Such platforms not only help to create a pre-planned launch campaign but also help to gather customer follow-up.
It also enables follow-up on new visitors so that business owners will never miss a sales opportunity and reach customers through multiple channels.
Instances, where a customer adds an item to the cart but does not make a purchase, can be followed-up by automating the marketing process without any human interference.
In other words, eCommerce owners can simply sit back and relax by automating the marketing and sales process without missing out on any key areas during the product launch phase.
The Post-Launch Phase
The success of an eCommerce campaign strategy does not end with a product launch. After the launch of a product, the next phase of the campaign strategy must commence. It can involve the following steps-
- Conducting Post-Launch Assessment
A post-launch assessment evaluates both the quantitative and qualitative metrics about the effort and thought that has gone in for launching a product.
Different aspects like conversion rates, identifying the highest response on different marketing channels, social media engagement, customer acquisition cost, revenue, product performance metrics, and internal and external feedback can be evaluated during this stage.
Just like the pre-launch planning phase, a post-launch assessment can enable business owners to understand the overall performance of a product once it hits the market.
This makes this one of the key actionable areas in the post-launch activities.
- Keeping In Touch With The Customers
To ensure continuity of business, eCommerce merchants must ensure a follow-up on the customers who purchased the product. This enables to establish a harmonious relationship with customers and also enforces the idea of care in a business.
A simple email asking for feedback on the performance of a new product or their shopping experience, for instance, is the beginning of proper post-launch activity.
On the business end, entrepreneurs can automate their post-purchase campaigns to collect feedback and enable the key actions after a product launch event.
Such initiatives help to drive repeat purchases as well as increase the possibility of pitching further products in the future.
- Feedback And Reviews
Post-Launch Feedback can be divided into two parts – Internal Feedback and External Feedback
- Internal Feedback includes the response from sales representatives, marketing teams, executives, product managers, and other key participants that enabled the launch of the product.
Analyzing the performance metrics of a newly launched product can provide valuable insight into planning further improvements or updates for the product.
- External Feedback is purely customer feedback.
The key features of a product that a customer liked or disliked, their journey with the product during its usage, the overall appeal of the product, the likely possibility for them to recommend it to others, etc. are covered in this section.
With email and website surveys, a star-rating system, sentiment analysis on social media, calls, and reviews on community forums provide in-depth feedback on the way a product is received in the market.
Although this qualitative metric of feedback and review are healthy ways to approach product improvements, assurance from business representatives addressing the product’s issues and areas of improvement can assure customer loyalty and brand awareness among consumers.
- Analysis Of Key Performance Indicators (Kpis)
The quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific product or KPI must be analyzed thoroughly.
In other words, the results – right from the pre-launch phase to the post-launch activities must be revisited and analyzed to understand whether the strategies yielded a positive outcome.
Factors like the performance of the product’s website, inventory management, overheads, cart abandonment rate, mistakes in marketing strategies, the success of multi-channel communication strategies, areas of product improvements, etc., comes under this area of assessment.
Creating an integrated review process enables an eCommerce owner to understand the success rate of their marketing campaign strategies, areas of improvement, and overall performance for future references.
Product Launch Tips
To summarize the entire article, here are some tips for a smooth Product Launch campaign for eCommerce business owners –
Research Your Competition
Researching your competitors regularly helps eCommerce business owners to know the strategies of the competition and their anticipated plan of action.
It also helps to understand how the market will respond to products and enable the creation of unique marketing plans and win over new customers.
Developing A USP For Your Product
Creating a distinction between existing products in the market can help eCommerce owners to create their niche with a newly launched product.
For this, it is essential to develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your product.
This USP must indicate the key factors that make your product unique, beneficial, and distinct from other products to drive sales towards a newly launched product.
Utilize Multiple Channels For Sale
While launching a new product, eCommerce merchants must utilize multiple platforms to sell.
Right from hardcore eCommerce platforms like eBay and Amazon to social media platforms like Facebook Market or Instagram Shop can provide wide visibility and exposure to customers belonging to various backgrounds.
Overall, with the highest product visibility, eCommerce merchants can increase their chances of a sale.
Creating a meaningful hype before the launch of your product can help improve sales significantly.
Getting the consumer excited about a new product, identifying their needs, and hosting contests and giveaways can help to create a lasting impression on the minds of people.
It also enables merchants to understand the social sentiment of the market towards their products.
Analyze The Market And Identify The Target Audience
No matter how good your product is, everyone will not buy it.
A housewife will not understand the importance or use of factory tools but a worker can.
It is, therefore, necessary to identify the correct target audience so that a newly launched product creates the right sentiment among them.
Market studies can enable entrepreneurs to understand the impact of their product and thus enable the formulation of good marketing and product development strategies.
Creative and relatable content that can identify with the needs of the clients can create a long-lasting association with the product.
This can be done by employing visual content with accurate product descriptions, attractive landing pages, aesthetic websites, etc.
Product content must always contain a clear message that enables to solve an existing problem for all its consumers for the highest product association.
Products that convey a story as a part of the consumer’s journey become highly relatable.
For instance, electric vehicles were deemed impractical for a long time even though the technology has existed. However, today Tesla holds the poster image of electrifying road transport and leading the world to a sustainable future.
The brand has managed to capture a big market cap with its sentiment of creating sustainable solutions and therefore has a higher brand association, loyalty, and following in the market.
Thus the visual story behind Tesla has been responsible for providing the world with a new view and therefore is deemed as a leader in their domain.
Similarly, new products that have a compelling storyline can easily become a part of the consumer.
Creative Landing Page
The significance of an aesthetic webpage is indispensable in developing a strong product image.
Clean, visually pleasing landing pages with precise product descriptions, and large images that provide a preview of the product along with ‘click-to-buy’ options can enable quicker conversion rates for a newly launched product.
Testimonials And Reviews
Customer feedback in the form of testimonials and reviews creates a buzz after the launch of the product. This enables new consumers to understand the product journey of existing users which eCommerce owners can leverage to drive sales.
One of the oldest and the most reliable form of digital marketing, email marketing is a highly efficient tool to target niche audiences about new products and services.
Simple, effective, and highly responsive tool, email marketing can be used to propel sales, create brand awareness, promotions, and other important marketing activities during the pre-launch and post-launch phases of a product.
Checklist For A Successful Product Launch
Whether you are an existing business or a new brand launching a product, here is a checklist to ensure your product enjoys a remarkable launch in the market –
Make An Irresistible Offer
Just like the Godfather – Make an offer that they cannot refuse! No pun intended!!
Come up with some creative ideas like a huge discount, early-bird prizes, or a free trial that would compel the audience to try your product.
Create Intriguing Content
Using the correct visual cues and images creates intrigue among the consumers to attract them. Use creative humor to your advantage and try to elicit a memorable emotion from your consumers.
Employ Social Media Influencers
Reach out to influencers with a large following to create a big hype around your product. Organize giveaway samples to encourage a competitive spirit among the consumers.
Aim For Small Wins
Use your webpage to drive traffic irrespective of product sales.
Tell your story and develop meaningful content about your brand and product to keep customers updated about your improvements.
This helps to create a loyal fan following and also gives you an idea about the ‘right content’ that you can post on your webpage.
Develop A Solid Paid-Ad Strategy
The goal with paid ads must be to create a conversation with your consumer and not a direct sale.
Normally, paid ads do not convert on the first click; consider sales to be a big milestone and let the clicks be a part of the conversion steps.
Get the audience to comment or share your product to target new users.
Make Your Next Launch Successful
Product launches, though lengthy and tiresome, can be highly rewarding with the right strategies.
With the right ideas, automation tools, and marketing strategies, eCommerce owners can achieve a high degree of success by following the points mentioned in this article.
Hope you find this useful and we wish you good luck and success for your next product launch!
Further Reading on Growing Your Ecommerce Business
Step 1: The Ecommerce Mindset: How To Build A Sustainable Business
Step 2: 7 Stages Of E-Commerce Product Strategy – A Complete Guide
Step 4: Evergreen Traffic: Drive traffic using these 45+ Free and Paid strategies