According to Rob Adams, McCombs School of business professor and author of the bestselling “If You Build It Will They Come?” roughly 65% of new products launched by well-known, established brands fail within the first few months.
This statistic is not really surprising when you take into consideration that creating brand awareness, raising money and establishing credibility within your branch are only a couple of challenges you’ll have to face during product launch.
However, every successful launch begins with good timing and while you may feel a great sense of urgency to drop your product on the market, rushing may cause your product to fail instantly.
Should You Delay Your Product Launch?
In some situations, you might need to postpone your paunch temporarily, because the postponing may mean the difference between a complete disaster and great reviews. So before you firmly decide on a launch date you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your product do what it is mean to do?
Basically, you need to asses and make sure everything is functioning properly, because if the product falls short of your expectation, you should invest more time and money into development.
- Is your team prepared and fully-equipped?
This means that you have to have everything from your marketing materials to marketing software prepared. For this, you should consult your team to make sure everything is in order.
If the answer to one of these questions is “definitely no” you need to postpone your launch for at least a couple of months. But don’t worry, you could use this period for marketing and building anticipation. You just need to avoid tying yourself for a specific date until everything is in its place.
On the other hand, if you feel like you’re fully prepared to take the challenge, you need to follow the next four steps to launch your product…
Steps You Need to Take In Order to Have a Successful Launch
Step #1: Test as Much as You Can Before the Launch
For starters, you need to test your product as much as possible. This will help you verify that both your organization and customers are ready for your launch.
Also, this applies for everything to software to food and drinks. For instance, Gary Erikson, the owner of Cliff Bar and Co. insisted on testing recipes for a couple of months, before he settled on a first couple of flavors for his energy bars.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should test your products for years before you decide it’s perfect. In some instances, launching a barely-viable product on the market can allow you to get more data, and tweak your product to your customer’s desires.
Step #2: Value Your Product Accordingly
Pricing your product may be the most difficult part of any launch, because it may make or break your launch. So you need to choose a certain price range and then look at your competitors, compare the features of your product with their and price it accordingly. But make sure not to over-price it.
For instance, a product that was actually way ahead of its time, The Apple Newton PDA, flopped because it was priced at $700. There were some customer that could afford the Newton, however, its pricing affected its market positioning.
Basically, if you price your product too high, the common customer may think that the product is too sophisticated for his needs. Furthermore, it could force potential buyers to look for alternative products, they feel are more relevant to them.
Step #3: Be Prepared for an Unexpected Spike in Sales
Once you post your product on your site and market it properly, chances are you’re going to see a big increase in sales first few days or even weeks. So you need to make sure that your staff is prepared to handle this increase in volume of work.
So make an effort to educate your employees to handle all of those new orders and shipments. Also, you need to pay close attention to your sales. Luckily, ecommerce platforms like Shopify enable users to track their balance at any time from their store’s dashboard and see any sign of a spike in sales early.
In addition, try not to neglect your existing business completely. You’ll naturally shift your focus on to a new and exciting product, but you need to strike a balance sustaining your current business operations and giving your new product life.
Step #4: Get Consumer Feedback after the Launch
Every launch needs to have clear goals and in order to measure just how well your service is meeting, you need to gather some feedback. Once you get it, you need to analyze it from top to bottom in order to see are there any changes needed.
Essentially, this feedback will help you cater to your target demographic by enhancing your product to their specific needs. Keeping your customers satisfied is the most important part of any business and if you make a clear effort to appease them, you’ll definitely see good results.
Just see how the University of Oregon conducted surveys in order to improve in-stadium experience. Their research showed that the fans want to have a batter view of the game when they are away from the seats. The University then added 150 small monitors along the concourse and increased attendance.
As we said in the opening paragraph, launching a new product certainly isn’t easy but you know what’s easy? Losing sight of your goals during the launching phase.
This means you need to create a highly-detailed production schedule, ensure that tasks are finished on time and that every single member of your team is held accountable for his role. If you don’t stick to your schedule, you may take too long to launch, which can cause a product to fail.
So by the time your product hits the market, the consumer needs could possibly change or market segments may evolve. For example, just look at the fate of Google Lively, Google’s answer to Second Life. After a prolonged development, Lively launched in 2008, just as the recession was starting.
While you cannot predict everything, you need to make sure that your schedule is realistic and that you’re going to stick to it, no matter what it takes.