Check out how to prepare for a successful product launch and increase both traffic and sales on your online store. We’ve also set up a product launch checklist so you can better organize things on your end, too.
Picture this: Your online store is all set up and it’s been going strong for a couple of months.
You’ve already made some sales, there’s a considerable amount of followers on your social media and you’re thinking now might be the right time to launch a new product—or, if you’re feeling a little bold, maybe a whole new product line.
So you toil away at crafting some beautiful product pages on the store’s website, with really cool product descriptions and a couple of photos of your products that are just to die for. You spend hours adjusting, tweaking, testing filters for each photo and removing that comma just to put it back again in the opening paragraph of the description.
Then, finally, you publish everything and wait for your target audience to find your offerings.
But… They don’t. And sales don’t go as you had predicted. So now what do you do?
Designing a product launch strategy can help you avoid this type of unwanted situation and, more importantly, improve your store’s organic reach with target customers. So keep on reading to create your strategy!
What is a product launch?
Launching a new product out into the world is about more than just creating product pages on a website and acquiring those items via dropshipping, print on demand or other more traditional retail models.
In fact, for ecommerce businesses of every size and niche, the process of successfully launching a product online involves a joint effort of the entire organization—and that’s true whether you have a massive team or you’re working solo.
There’s actually a simple explanation for this: A product launch brings together a wide assortment of efforts, such as marketing campaigns, a social media strategy to create some buzz, a strong product offer to encourage sales, and good communication with both customers and potential customers, too.
Also, because we’re dealing with the concept of product launch, most of the work involved actually takes place before you start selling products.
👉 Quick and simple product launch definition: Product launch refers to a number of efforts a store owner needs to make in order to launch a product online. These efforts involve almost every aspect of a business, like advertising, selling on social media, pricing strategy and website design. More importantly, a successful product launch strategy involves generating demand for the product you wish to sell.
How to launch a new product
Now that we got the definition of product launch down, it’s time to tackle how you can create a product launch strategy. And this involves some careful consideration.
Decide if now is the time
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not the timing is right. Is this the best moment to launch a product? Is your business in a good place, financially, to test a new product and sketch out a marketing campaign?
These are some important questions you need to ask yourself, not least because you’ll need to run some calculations to decide if the launch process is worth it. And yes, we are talking about profit margins and ROI, because working with these metrics can help you figure out whether a successful product launch is something achievable for your store.
📈 Check out how a break-even analysis can help you with the financial side of managing an online store.
Study the demand within your niche
The second thing you should consider is your niche, your customers and, of course, those potential customers that have yet to purchase something from the store.
The goal here is to gather enough information so you have answers to questions like:
- Are there any competitors who have pulled a successful product launch? What can you learn from them? If you’ve followed a recent launch from a brand you admire or if you’re selling for the same audience as they are, check out their materials to see what they did right and how you can integrate that into your product launch plan.
- How does your target audience engage with a product launch? Do they react well to this kind of product marketing strategy? Do you think you can get them to spend more money on your store with a product launch?
🔬 A thorough market research can be a great ally for this.
Determine if you’re going big or small with your product launch
Lastly, you should also consider the size and scope of your product launch strategy. Do you want to do a full-scale launch or do you think it’s more feasible to go with a soft launch instead?
To make this decision, you’ll need to weigh in the two points we raised above. Meaning, you’ll need to take into account if you have the budget to create a more sophisticated campaign that has higher chances of getting a good public response, or if it’s wiser to start small and do a pre-launch for a selected few before the official launch date to gather some initial feedback.
5 product launch ideas
Creating a successful launch is, as we mentioned earlier, a company-wide effort―a project that demands the product team, the sales strategies team, the marketing team, the customer support department and the sales team all work together.
And that’s great and all… But what do you do when you, the business owner, are the entire organization?
No sweat! We already talked a bit about what you need to take into account before you decide to launch a product. Now, we’ll tackle some simple product launch ideas you can easily build even if you are a one-person organization.
Below are some product launch ideas you can set in place:
1. Create a waitlist
A successful product launch is all about generating the right amount of buzz. Ideally, you want to boost store traffic, create anticipation among existing customers and generate some hype among social media followers.
That’s exactly why one of the best product launch ideas is creating a waitlist for the launch date of a new product.
A waitlist is a dedicated landing page for your store’s website, and traditionally it shouldn’t have much info other than the product launch date, some two or three lines about what’s to come, and empty fields for users to type in their names and email addresses.
The premise is simple: You offer them an exclusive notice about the product you’re launching (and maybe even some early access to the item or a special discount) and, in exchange, they offer you their email address.
This is a great product launch strategy to strengthen your bond with the audience because it’ll make them feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. It’ll also do wonders for your email marketing campaigns since you’ll have more people to send those messages to.
2. Establish a limited-time offer or give extra perks
Another great way to generate some buzz for a successful launch is to borrow from one of the most quotable pop culture references out there and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes: You’re not yet offering them a product, so to speak, but the promise of one. The product you wish to sell them hasn’t officially been launched yet, so you need to offer them something more concrete to encourage sales.
That’s exactly why a limited-time offer and some extra perks can be such great product launch ideas. Here’s just two possibilities:
- To convince users to sign up for the waitlist, why not offer them some extra perks? A garment store that’s gearing up for a big winter collection launch can offer exclusive enamel pins to the first 200 people that sign up for the waitlist, for instance.
- Another idea is to publish a limited-time offer that’ll last for 24 hours after you launch a product. This will amp the sense of scarcity that’s super effective for making sales.
Catbird’s homepage shows how you can create a sense of scarcity by offering a limited-edition perk for orders over a certain amount. While this offer was not connected to any product launch in particular, it could be easily integrated into a launch campaign.
3. Use storytelling
Storytelling is a big part of how brands communicate with their clients―and it can be especially powerful for brand owners looking to launch a product.
The goal is this: Create a narrative to encompass your new product. Ideally, you’ll be looking for sentences that can:
- Generate buzz around this new launch;
- Position the launch as something that fits well within the company’s journey;
- Wow visitors, followers and prospective customers with a story about how the product was created and how this product idea came to be.
Papersmiths, a UK-based stationery shop, does an excellent job at merging storytelling and product launch. In their TikTok videos, they sometimes reveal new products while positioning the brand as one of the best places to go if you love stationery and also want to have the proper tools to create your own drawings.
@paper_smiths ✍️ This fun creative playbook is full of experimental portrait prompts and challenges designed to boost your mental health and help you to build confidence - in your drawing skills and in yourself. ❤️ #SelfLove #SelfLoveJourney #SelfLoveClub #SefLoveChallenge #SelfLoveBook #SelfLoveBooks #selfportraits ♬ Calm LoFi song(882353) - S_R
4. Focus on social media
As you’ve probably noticed by now, a product launch involves a lot of communication and a lot of visual assets―which is exactly why a good product launch strategy involves focusing on social media platforms.
Of course, you want to focus solely on the platforms that your target customer actually uses. Catbird’s product launches, for instance, usually obtain a good organic reach on Twitter, and it’s not uncommon that their customers find posts like this one when scrolling through their feeds:
Did you notice how the image is elegant and minimalist? They focus on just a piece of the new jewelry, so viewers can’t exactly see the whole product but can have an idea of what awaits them. The launch announcement is also pretty concise, with just two sentences and two emojis.
The post as a whole is very much on-brand, and that’s exactly what you might want to do in your own product launch strategy. Remember: You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops. You can, though, create a strong message and make use of stunning photography.
You can also use influencer marketing for your product launches, but make sure to partner with influencers who either share followers with you or that have the same missions and values as your store.
The idea with influencer marketing is to create a coordinated effort that generates results for you and the influencer as well, so it’s important to align everything with them concerning payment and guidelines to make sure you’re both on the same page.
🚀 You’re your own marketing team? Don’t sweat! Check out some of our recommended reads to help you strengthen a brand’s presence on social:
- How To Write the Perfect Instagram Bio to Attract Followers
- How to Use Instagram Hashtags for Likes and Traffic
- How to Get More Followers on TikTok
5. Create video content
There’s no running from video format anymore. It’s taken over social platforms―and if you’re really intent on achieving launch success, then you should consider moving part of your product launch strategy to TikTok and YouTube.
Video can be a really useful format for a variety of niche items, regardless if you sell plants, jewelry or any other kind of product. The great thing about this type of content is that you can showcase a product’s features in a bunch of different scenarios, and it’s also pretty handy for stores selling electronic devices since it allows you to show the product in action.
You can also create videos of someone unboxing your new product to build awareness about the brand. This is currently one of the best product launch ideas out there, because it allows you to generate a good buzz and show all the special details that make that new product so unique.
How to prepare your store for a product launch
While there’s no such thing as too many product launch ideas, this does not mean that your website and product pages don’t deserve some special love and attention when you launch a product.
In fact, there’s also plenty of work that needs to be done on that front, too. Let’s check out some of the more important actions you can take to ensure your product launch is a success:
No customer support department? Try chatbots
Ok, so you don’t have a fully-fledged customer support department in your business. You don’t even have a dedicated employee to manage customer feedback and provide answers to important questions visitors might have about shipping, product returns or payment options.
The good news is that you don’t really have to, though. Apps like JivoChat can equip your store with efficient customer service, which can be extremely helpful during busy times like a product launch.
You can set up your customer service app with a pre-defined FAQ about the launch and the new product so that visitors can quickly find the answers they’re looking for, and then redirect them to the product page right away.
Canadian skincare brand BareBearBerry, for instance, has an automated chat that provides assistance for first-time shoppers.
Pick catchy words and establish key messages
We mentioned earlier how a product launch is, first and foremost, a product marketing strategy where you build hype around a new item you’re releasing.
And while we did show you a lot of product launch ideas, it’s important to remember that it all comes down to product positioning: You need to create content that is engaging, interesting and that makes people hyped about what you’re selling.
Case in point is this Instagram Story from Catbird, announcing a new arrival to their collection. The phrase “two halves, made whole together” creates the perfect tagline to charm new and recurrent customers alike.
🍭 Also, now might be a good time to think about branding and building a brand image. After all, you want people to remember your store even after you launch a product, right?
Create special pages for the website
You also need to nestle the product you’re launching in your store, as people still need to have a page where they can click on “Add to cart”.
When it comes to a product launch, there are two ways you can go about this:
- Create dedicated product pages for each item and nestle them inside broader category pages you already have;
- Create a whole section for all of your new arrivals.
Just take a look at what Papersmiths did: They have an entire website section dedicated to New Arrivals, so customers can easily locate what’s new.
Invest on paid advertising
Paid advertising can be a tricky move, especially if you’re tight on budget.
But even investing a small parcel of your revenue into paid traffic solutions is a great strategy to really put your ads in front of the right people at the right time. After all, Google Performance Max campaigns can help you make a direct impact on target markets that have a higher chance of engaging positively with your product launch.
Product launch checklist: What to do before, during and after
We’ve already covered a lot of ground, but we couldn’t leave you hanging without a proper checklist―after all, Shoplazza is a big fan of checklists. (Don’t believe us? Check out our General Checklist for Starting a New Shoplazza Store and you’ll understand.)
With that in mind, here’s everything you have to do in order to nail a product launch.
- Set up a calendar and a product launch plan: Define the launch date and then work backwards to define all the steps you need to take to make that happen. With a product launch plan in hand, you’ll be better equipped to make important business decisions and decide what should be prioritized first.
- Define which marketing channels you’ll use: Email marketing, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Google… Take your pick.
- Set concrete goals: Decide how many sales you wish to achieve, for instance. This will help you measure the results on the post launch.
- Define who your target audience is: Study customer data and user behavior to figure out all the relevant details about your audience. This will help you create a great product launch.
- Sketch out the launch campaign: Start working on social media posts and play around with some tagline ideas to really make that launch a success.
- Set up a launch event, whether in-person or online: If you’ve already gathered a considerable following online, it might be worth going live on your preferred social media for a launch event. This can help spread the word around, and maybe you can even go for a special event with the influencer you partnered with for the marketing campaign. Cool, right?
- Start small and build up: You don’t have to launch everything all at once. In fact, if you have two or more products lined up for the new reveal, you can start marketing just one of them and then build on that first campaign.
- Evaluate what went right: Gather your data to check what went right so you can start creating the next product launches with more confidence.
- Optimize and keep on building: “Post launch” is not a synonym for “the end”. In fact, after you successfully launch a product, it’s important to keep on building that traffic and attention you’ve gathered. A good way to keep your products on the minds of customers is to highlight them on social media, like Good For The Studies has done on Instagram with their New Arrivals highlight:
Next stop: a successful product launch
And there you have it! All the information you need to launch a product, together in one single post. Now, you have everything you need to get a product launch strategy off the ground.
Remember to coordinate all of your efforts to increase the chances of product success. If you’re able to center your product launch ideas around user behavior and create campaigns that really speak to your target audience, the results can be extremely powerful. Happy launching!