Six Characteristics of a Successful Product Launch

Six Characteristics of a Successful Product Launch

Releasing a new product into the world is like letting your baby fly the nest. You know it’s time to send your creation out to make its mark but you feel uncertain about the reception it might receive. You want your sales to be where predicted or above and for customers to return and buy again. 

What are the elements that make a successful product launch? Companies finding success often do the same things over and over again. While not exactly a formula, there is a roadmap you can follow.

What Are the Six Steps of a Successful Product Launch Plan? reports a massive 95% of new products fail, and around 80% for grocery store products. Why do so many new products fall flat? Getting a great start is your first step to being in the 5% of success stories. A successful launch can spur you toward better odds.

Different products have different needs when it comes to promotion. However, there are six characteristics of a successful product launch that work for almost any industry. 

1. Test Like Crazy

Have you ever bought a product because it’s hyped up on TV only to realize it is inferior or doesn’t work? Consumers aren’t quick to forget or forgive you wasting their hard-earned dollars. They’ll be far less likely to buy your “new and improved” version down the road.

Test your product in extreme conditions to make sure it won’t fail. Try different scenarios you might not have thought of. Ask employees to take it home and abuse it. Fix any problems you encounter before considering a release date. It’s better to delay by a few months than to put out a product that isn’t ready. 

2. Choose a Great Name

Your product name can make or break your sales figures. Research shows to be effective, a name should be easy to process and memorable. The word “gibblebobbinstuff” might mean something to you personally, but will buyers have any idea or be able to remember the word and spelling? 

It’s best to stick with simple terms. If you can make your name rhyme, tie it to your industry or have some other way it’s memorable, so much the better. 

3. Prep Your Staff

When you launch a new product, if you time the marketing and placement right, you’ll gain a bunch of new customers all at one time. Is your sales and customer service staff equipped to handle the influx of new sales? 

Do an audit of your sales and customer service departments. Prepare them for the new product by letting them test it out and learn the quirks. If someone calls and says a gadget won’t turn on, does the agent know how it turns on? Many problems are actually user error and easily solved with some simple troubleshooting. 

Do you need to hire additional employees to handle the extra workflow? Perhaps you need some temporary seasonal help to get you past the heaviest part of new orders?

4. Work on Logistics

You can win or lose loyal customers when it comes to the shipping portion of your business. Is the item packaged correctly and all parts of the order complete? How long does it take to grab the item, pack it and get it out the door? 

You can install inventory systems to ensure you find the right product quickly and keep track of how many you have. Ideally, your inventory is tied to any ordering systems to avoid selling products you don’t have to customers. If you sell online, it’s even more vital you integrate the two.

Consider your shipping carrier. The USPS recently raised their prices, so knowing what your alternatives are may save you a few bucks here and there. You also want a reliable delivery service to get packages to your clients as fast as possible. People are used to Amazon’s two-day delivery model. They may start to balk and leave you bad reviews if you take over a week to ship their item. 

5. Consider the Display

Did you know over 80% of buying decisions are made in the store while a person stands in front of the product? Once you realize how many people impulsively buy a new product, you realize just how vital your product display is. 

Your product packaging must pop. Look at the color of other items similar to yours. How can you stay true to your industry and brand while still adding something that will stand out? 

Even the shape of the packaging can make a difference in how it stacks on the shelf and whether it stands out. Try different combinations and market test them with a control group to see how well consumers respond. 

6. Gather Feedback

As soon as the product launches, you should ask for feedback. Gather information from customers, employees, shipping partners and stores where your product sits on the shelves. The more information you have, the better you can refine the process going forward and find success with future launches.

You can also study metrics to see how well various ad campaigns worked. Is there anything you can do to refine your launch process? 

Keep Improving

If you launch a product and it fails, don’t be afraid to relaunch it as “new and improved” or some other small change. Keep moving forward and trying new things. The true success stories come from brands that failed, failed, kept trying and finally succeeded. You really haven’t failed to thrive until you quit trying, so keep refining your launch process until you hit the sales numbers you want. 

Author Bio
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief of Designerly. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.

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