How to Launch a New Product in Your eCommerce Business

Blog, eCommerce Operations

Launching new products is important for business growth and continued success. However, there’s more to an effective product launch than just listing it on your online store or marketplace. Successfully introducing a new product to your online store or marketplace requires a significant investment of time and extensive planning.
If you’re looking to grow your eCommerce business, consider these tips before taking a new product to market.

1. Start with Your Strengths

Identify the things you do well. Analyze your business’ core competencies – what makes your business or product different from other companies out there? What do you do well or what unique product do you offer that keeps customers coming back? Once you’ve answered these questions, consider launching a product that aligns with your competencies and top selling items.

2. Find Out What Your Customers Want

What’s the easiest way to find out what your customers want? Ask them! Create a simple survey on your website, possibly on your checkout page, or include one in the customer order confirmation email. Motivate them to take your survey with an incentive, like free shipping or a discount on their next order. This process will help you identify a problem your customers are experiencing, giving you the opportunity to offer them what’s not already available on the market.

3. Develop a Creative Marketing Plan

The most successful marketing campaigns generate interest and excitement. Explain why there’s value in this new addition. Is it a ground-breaking innovation? A stylish twist on an old classic? A modification of an existing item? Emphasize and explain how your product provides a solution to your customer’s problem or how this new addition will enhance his/her lifestyle.

Consider writing a press release to get the word out and create even more hype around the new product launch. Tell a story. Give your target audience details of how you thought of the idea or who’s behind it. How did the product come to life? If it’s a niche product, feature the owner/creator. If it came from a personal experience, share that experience. Be colorful.

Most importantly, make your marketing content shareable and promote it on all of your social platforms. Also, don’t forget traditional (and effective) marketing tactics like email campaigns.

4. Provide a Call to Action

It’s new, and you’ve explained why they should care – now give them a call to action. You can easily configure your eCommerce platform to provide a promotion for newly added products. You could offer a free small gift with purchase, discounts, or free shipping. Or, get creative: “Be the first athlete to review this!” or “Set the trend – be the first fashionista to rock these stylish sunglasses!” Incentive them to be a first-mover.

See how our client Zumiez placed a call to action on their eCommerce site. On their product pages, Zumiez includes a “Tell Us What You Think – Be the First to Tag it” section, allowing customers who purchased the item to ‘tag’ it with their review. They also included an incentive to buy two pairs of shoes with an attention-grabbing icon that says “Buy one regular price shoe, get one sale shoe 50% off.”

zumiez2

zumiez2

5. Test Market

Test marketing your product is always a good idea before manufacturing an excessive amount of products that might not sell. Reach out to a group of loyal customers or release the product on one specific channel or geographic location. Does it sell? Does it satisfy the needs of your customers? Based on the results of the product launch test, consider whether or not now is the time to move forward with the widespread release of your new product.

Additionally, test marketing allows for merchants to make any necessary adjustments to the product, based on customer feedback. This product trial will help identify defects and enable you to make general improvements to the product before the official launch.

6. HAVE A STRATEGY

Last but certainly not least … have a strategy! The worst thing a retailer can do when launching a new product is to wing it and hope for the best. Donald, our sales team leader, gives some practical advice when developing a product launch strategy: “invest like it will fail, plan like it will sail.” If you successfully build interest, make sure your business can support fast growth. You need to know how you will manufacture, fulfill, deliver, and take on new customers.

With an effective product launch, businesses often struggle with the increase in customer demand and can’t handle the spike in order quantities. The inability to keep up with this order surge can result in poor-quality products due to overloaded manufacturers, out-of-stocks, and inaccurate or delayed order fulfillment. These issues lead to a poor customer experience and can irreversibly damage brand reputation, and ultimately hurt the bottom line.

Alternatively, a new product can spin off into new categories, even a whole side of the business you never anticipated. So, if your new addition skyrockets, know at what point you can take it to additional sales channels like Amazon, or add similar products.

Consider implementing an advanced order and inventory management system to support the growth of your business after a new product launch. These systems provide accurate, consolidated inventory data to prevent overstocking or out-of-stocks, real-time order data to automate fulfillment processes and improve delivery times, and multi-channel product publishing tools to push your products out to every channel easily and with consistency.

Launching a new product is exciting, but the results can be devastating if not properly planned and executed. Follow these guidelines and build your catalog selectively, and you will see a return on your investment and achieve business growth. There’s a lot of work to do, so go get started.