Do you own or are responsible for an online store or the head of marketing for an eCommerce store? This guide will provide you with the keys to face a new product launch successfully. We will cover varied criteria: From launch model to marketing and specialized financing.
If you’re just starting your business, it may be worth considering reading a complete guide for beginners, such as Shopify’s. But, if you are a seasoned online seller, you know launching a new product in your eCommerce store is not about creating several landing pages and sitting in the hopes your customers will discover them and buy. Instead, you need a comprehensive plan to cover both the immediate objectives and the long-term challenges.
A carefully-designed eCommerce product launch strategy can make or break an unexplored category. Each product launch requires constant tweaking and optimization to ensure the long-term success of not only the product but also your brand. The best eCommerce product launch strategy should be based on details such as category, market segment, niche, or even the product itself.
Creating this strategy will not be as complicated as you may think with the right checklist items.
Checklist for Launching a New eCommerce Product
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this series of checklist items. Depending on how mature your eCommerce business is and how far along you are in the process of launching your new product, you may need to start at the top or can skip further down. Nevertheless, we recommend that you read the entire piece to ensure that your strategy covers all essential points.
Item #1: Go Back to Basics
You should go back to the reason why you founded your business and why you are still serving your customers before creating or modifying a new product launch strategy. You will find each new product launch fundamentals in this exercise. It will help you to clearly identify the pain points your products address and the solutions they offer.
It will be crucial to review your Unique Selling Points (USP) before moving on to the following steps to ensure they are part of every aspect of your strategy. Just as your brand's USP sets the tone for your entire online store, a product's USP is vital to the success of its launch, no matter what platforms you use or what category you choose.
This step is also an excellent time to conduct market research for new products if you haven't yet. In order to scale an eCommerce business, you need to expand your reach to potential new buyers so you can convert them into loyal customers. New products are not just about upselling existing customers but about increasing your reach to other people.
With a clear understanding of who your target audience for your new product launch is, you can craft messages to bring buzz to the launch and determine how to deliver them.
Lastly, when launching your new product, make sure you narrow down the target market segments. You may want to cater to more than one audience segment for your product launch, and how you do this is crucial to its success. Your launch marketing message can differ depending on how you present the product to the various segments.
Item #2: Do Some Benchmarking
Having looked at your company and your target audience, it's a good idea to take a look outside, at your competitors. Any marketing strategy, including eCommerce product launches, should include competitive research or benchmarking.
Analyze how your close rivals announce their new products, what PPC campaigns and keywords they use, and how they position those items in their messages, and how they’re pricing them. See if they have designed specific landing pages for the launch and sign up for their social media channels and newsletters. The more info you can gather at this stage, the better.
The idea is not necessarily to copy what the competition is doing, but rather to come up with something slightly different that perhaps capitalizes on something they aren’t doing as well as they could. This exercise should give you some ideas and inspiration that will help you in your strategizing process. It is important to keep in mind, however, that not all brands target the same audiences and that there will always be something unique about what you offer that will set you apart from the pack.
You need to reclaim this aspect in your strategy to convey a fresh, innovative and appealing message.
Item #3: Choose Your Launch Model
Launch strategies fall into two main categories: pre-order or pre-sale conversion opportunities and direct, traditional launches with a live product. You should decide between them based on your niche, your market, your test results, your logistics and management strategies, as well as the product.
The pre-order release method allows your customers to order a new product before its official release on your website and other selling platforms. This type of launch has several advantages, including the sense of urgency it creates because the category or the item itself is new in your store.
Pre-sales also give the impression that potential customers are able to get the product early and at a better price. Combined with messages indicating limited availability or urgency, pre-orders may also enhance the feel of exclusivity.
When you add a new product category to your store, you can benefit from pre-sales to financially boost your brand. If you need alternative financing options for your eCommerce business, you will find a suggestion in the following sections of this same guide.
You can plan for a launch that doesn't allow pre-orders by waiting for your product to be available in your store, which means you can fulfill orders for product launch campaigns right away. The advantage is that your customers who see the new product will pay for it and get it in the typical time frame they would get other products in your store. Also, there is no additional admin or logistics involved.
In some cases, companies mix pre-orders and non-pre-order launches. During this soft type of launch, prospective customers can sign up to receive information about the new product when it becomes available to purchase. By doing so, you can build buzz around a new product even before it is released and give your campaigns a sense of urgency.
Engaged users may sign up for notifications by visiting a landing page for the launch of their preferred, upcoming product. When you have the proper backend logistics in place, both approaches can work, either together or on their own. Testing is the key to getting the right combination for your brand.
Item #4: Pick a Concept and Plan for Marketing
Choosing the overall concept of your launch is necessary before navigating your marketing strategy. In order to come up with the theme for your launch, you will take the information you gathered during the early items, including your USP and market segments, to get inspired as to how you can communicate effectively with them.
Your new product launch theme or concept will serve as the guiding idea, the story behind your launch in your campaign messaging.
Following the creation of this concept, you will need to design a separate, specific marketing strategy. There are different approaches to this task, such as the one offered by HubSpot. Regardless of which one you choose, this brief section will provide you with helpful tips.
Design an eCommerce-Specific Strategy
For a company to launch a product that sells online, the first challenge is eliminating traditional or legacy marketing techniques. Historically, eCommerce sellers had primitive methods of communicating with their existing customers. They shared a single message, massively, with no level of personalization whatsoever.
However, modern online sellers who know content marketing and inbound marketing need to treat individual clients differently. Going back to item #1, your specific buyer persona should determine what style is appropriate for the overall strategy.
You must follow this philosophy when introducing new products to an eCommerce site. Each mailing campaign, each social media promoted post, and each blog post should be designed separately, based on your industry, sector, product, and the people who will be reading your content.
Related: Online Retailer Business Financing
Highlight What Is Special about Your Product
If you are struggling to come up with a concept for your launch, reviewing what is unique about your new product may help. The most important thing is to have a customer-focused approach. You need to determine what headaches you are going to ease with your new product to entice a purchasing decision.
Craft Unique Product Descriptions
Due to time constraints, you may feel tempted to keep the product descriptions that come from the manufacturer if you receive products from a third party to sell on your eCommerce website. Alternatively, you may think you are not a good enough writer if you create the product yourself and create the product description intuitively without putting so much thought into it. However, to guarantee higher success levels, you must craft original and compelling content for your new product description.
Other retailers may use the same product descriptions if they purchase from third parties. If you do the same, your product listing will hide among loads of duplicate content. New product launches that lack a good description are almost certain to fail.
In contrast, your new product descriptions should be creative, unique, and contain a decent amount of keywords but in a natural language flow. For instance, Amazon or Shopify search engines will not be able to recognize what is valuable if you do not incorporate what your users will potentially look for when trying to find what you offer.
Renew Your Landing Pages
This tip is for you if you sell online via your own website, besides using other selling platforms. As a result of all the preparation work you have already completed, you now get to focus on something the client will be able to see and appreciate. As a matter of fact, the landing page for the new product might be the first impression a buyer has.
Therefore, you should be sure to get this tactic right the first time. In addition to the product’s carefully crafted description and images, you might want to add some graphics to your page and even a video demonstration to show the product in action.
Don't forget to include social sharing buttons. In no time, you'll be able to reach a far larger audience with your new eCommerce product launch. You can also embed a user review section to boost social proof by allowing shoppers to share their experience with a particular product.
Create a Content Plan
You should talk about the new products once they're ready. A relevant content marketing strategy is an excellent way to create relevant material on time for the different phases of the launch.
A successful inbound marketing campaign is impossible without a plan and a publication schedule. You can prepare several content pieces well in advance: Articles, videos, images, and frequently asked questions are some examples. In addition to attracting visitors to your blog, customer stories enable you to answer questions from potential customers.
Design Special Promotions
It is impossible to expect people to attend or buy on launch day if they are not aware of the news. You should begin planning your social media and other communications well in advance. Develop a compelling message that convinces buyers to click through, including special promotions when applicable.
Remember, all your new products deserve a chance to mature on their own. Analyze whether your product needs to sell with significant discounts on the first day. Sometimes, it is best if buyers make their purchasing decisions based on the actual selling price and not the perceived opportunity to save money.
Evaluate Your Pay-Per-Click Actions
Pay-per-click marketing may or may not increase your product launch campaign depending on how much money you are willing to spend on acquiring new customers. If your budget is relatively low for marketing, be cautious in determining if this approach is necessary for each particular new product launch or if there are more affordable ways to reach your audience.
Item #5: Create a Timeline
Next, you should create a release schedule for the new eCommerce product you are launching soon. In other words, all of the information about the product’s launch date, as well as specifics about the campaign launch and the post-launch campaign, need to be on a single, consolidated platform. Likewise, you must plan for milestones at each stage and plan how you will manage the CRM process.
Do not forget to notify any relevant external parties, so everyone is in sync with this timeline. These stakeholders include suppliers, internal departments and teams, or freelancers who can help you at different stages.
It's essential to plan and schedule each milestone and task for your product launch in advance to eliminate many of the reasons product launches fail. You will be prepared for demand, your products will arrive on schedule, and all the right audiences will be able to buy due to properly executed marketing.
Item #6: Ready to Launch!
Even though this has been a brief read, you should know that each takes a lot of time, effort, and work to complete. Congratulations! Once you have checked off every item on your checklist, you are ready to launch your eCommerce product launch.
Do You Have Enough Financial Resources?
In addition to the investment of time, the monetary commitment may also become apparent throughout these checklist items. ECommerce businesses often face many challenges and no one solution can solve them all. In the complex field of online selling entrepreneurship, getting a fresh flow of cash can prove helpful.
Small businesses may have difficulty obtaining traditional bank loans, and credit card interest rates make it more challenging to pay back debt. Although these options can be valuable components of your capital stack, a good idea would be to diversify with less expensive alternatives.
Financing based on your sales cycle is an option that can meet your unique needs and offers eCommerce-focused solutions. Keeping online sellers’ needs in mind, an innovative financial entity will not pressure you to follow a conventional business model.
This financial option will give you the opportunity to get the cash you need to continue paying for essential services, such as marketing, innovation, and research while running your business and protecting your cash flow.
A financial institution that offers these alternatives understands the nuances of your funding requirements. A quick response time, a straightforward application process, and the ability to repay your loan with a percentage of your inventory sales make them a hassle-free option. This solution allows eCommerce sellers to receive interest-free cash at friendly terms. Learn more.