Great work! You’ve found a niche in the market and you think there's a big opportunity - so what’s next?
You’ve probably guessed it, but before you source & manufacture your exciting new product there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. According to market research, only 25% of new products see success during their first year - the ecommerce industry is littered with the failed remains of poorly designed and thought-out products that have fallen by the wayside.
For a successful new product launch, you’ll need to build a coordinated plan defining all the steps you need to take along the road to market. Your plan should also include the period post-launch: how you’ll continue marketing activities and how you will boost traction and continued sales.
BRANDED prioritizes new product launch as a key component of brand growth and we put together this practical guide based on a ton of our experience, to help you get your new product ready to launch.
To ensure your product is profitable, it’s fundamental to conduct some thorough customer and market research to give your launch the best chance of success.
1) Check the reviews!: Reading through competitor products’ reviews will help you understand the factors that make up the consumer decision to purchase the product. What do buyers love about the product? Perhaps even more importantly though - what do the buyers dislike & what is the competition doing wrong? Being aware of the customer pain-points can help you make product decisions such as pricing, design, quality, picking a manufacturer, and more. Negative reviews on competitor products can essentially serve as case studies that you can learn from.
2) Listing analysis: Similarly to negative reviews, the overall competitor product listings are good examples of what works and what doesn’t. You can get some clues as to which product listings work best comparing the number & ratings of reviews that products have. You can then think about employing similar ad & content tactics for your product listing. Understanding your competitors’ strategies and strengths and weaknesses will give you the edge when it comes to figuring out the right approach for your Amazon launch.
3) Build out a preliminary P&L: This will help you think more practically about some product decisions such as pricing, which suppliers to work with, etc. You’ll then be able to look at your supply chain and ensure that your routes and prices mean that you can sell the product at a viable and profitable price. Understanding how your business will work financially will be very helpful in determining if your planned course of action makes sense or if you need to make changes to your product pipeline.
Next, understand your customer - figure out who your product will appeal to. If the answer is ‘everyone’, then it’s likely you’re going to have an uphill battle on your hands. A one-size fits all approach won’t work - you need to define your target audience and understand the best method of connecting with them. Once you’ve completed this step you’ll be in a good position to plan, execute and evaluate your marketing strategy.
Create a ‘customer persona’ and think about who your typical customer is likely to be, creating a useful and actionable document that you can use throughout your targeting and marketing activities. Include details like their age, interests, spending power, social demographics and their shopping habits.
Next, identify your customer’s pain points - what is it that your product will solve for your customer? Does it do something different to alternatives on the market? Is it cheaper than competitor products? If you’re priced at a premium, why should your customer choose your brand over a rival? Also think about what might they struggle with post-purchase - is the product’s use clear? Does it actually do what you’re claiming?
Know who your shoppers are, what they’re looking for, what makes them abandon cart and what drives them to make that final ‘purchase’ click.
Now you’ve done your research you should have some idea of what your competitors are bringing to the market - and where your product stands out.
To be truly successful it is vital that your product fills a niche and services something that others don’t. Identify any interesting key difference in what your products offer and amplify the perceived value; whether that be in features or performance. Aim to be a market leader, not just part of the noise.
Does your product offer:
It’s worth considering sending out a sample of your products to some of your target customers to get some first-hand feedback. What did they like? What could be improved? Were there any big issues that you’ll need to address before the real launch? Does the product deliver on your promises and ambitions?
Your customers, potential and existing, will want to feel that they can trust your newest product - so make sure your descriptions and marketing materials are all on brand and fit nicely within your current portfolio.
Make sure you use high-quality images and videos of your products, so your customers know what to expect and you can show off the best features of your items.
Don’t forget that your brand journey continues after purchase and could make the difference between a good review or a disappointed customer. Bad reactions from customers this early into your product’s life could be disastrous for your launch and halt things before they really get started.
This is also a perfect opportunity to get across a good brand storytelling experience and hammer home what your business is about. From high-quality packaging to a well written insert giving your customer more of a story about your ethos or background - there are many ways to make your new product a thriving part of your brand.
Don’t be afraid to delay your launch date if everything isn’t quite ready, or you’ve still got some kinks to work out. Sometimes this can be a difficult decision, but even big brands like Coca-Cola have pressed the self-destruct button on new products by launching before everything was properly thought out.
Ensure your quality checks are robust and your manufacturing supply chain is reliable and producing high quality products. Quality will always win out and there is little point in spending time or money launching a product if it is unfit for purpose, is poor-quality or doesn’t do what it claims to.
Review your product claims to make sure everything about your product is compliant with local regulations, for all territories you’re looking to launch in. Seek legal advice for labeling claims and check you meet Amazon product requirements before any problems arise. Read more about compliance considerations you should be aware of here.
Many people focus on niche identification and launch, but missing any of these vital steps in between could lead to a failed product, resulting in wasted costs and effort for your business - and a black mark on your brand’s record.
What’s more - it’s important to remember this is an iterative process when done right. As you move between steps, you should be open to revisiting & changing your previous decisions if those prove to no longer be the best options. As you learn about your competition, customer, design options, creative, and compliance considerations you should incorporate those into your product launch plan accordingly.
Ultimately, it’s vital to launch a well-planned product that’s right for your market. This is what carries credibility and longevity for your e-commerce brand.
Discover opportunities. Maximize your sales. Grow your Amazon business!