Best Time for Product Launch

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Out of 12 months in a year, when would it be the best time (aside from seasonal items of course) to launch a product?

For an ecommerce business owner, knowing your niche is one key building block to success. Product launching, and timing it to the most optimum period requires research and planning. It takes more than an updated website and a bulk email advertising your new item to your mailing list to get these items flying off your shelves.

The best ecommerce practices usually end up with the tried-and-tested advice of launching a product sometime around the holidays—and not just Christmas! While that makes perfect sense, this post will talk about the whys of launching around holiday seasons and give you some flexibility in case you’re not able to do this in reality.

Planning your campaign launch also needs to take into account the nontraditional methods of advertising. Social media, paid consideration for bloggers with a wide audience and other tastemakers can go a long way to creating potentially viral products that consumers love to like, retweet and Instagram about.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Holidays, you gotta love ‘em.

Depending on your product line, there’s probably a holiday in the calendar that can fit a promotional rollout for your intended launch. It takes some creativity but many out there have been able to get away with product launches that may not be directly related to the holiday itself. How many Mother’s Day promotions have we seen for power tools, used cars or even soup cans position themselves in the aisles and headers of major retail chains?

For an ecommerce business, taking a risk on launching a product around a holiday most people wouldn’t associate with the product can be an innovative move.

Holidays can also be thought of as budgets consumers already have… for products they aren’t sure yet what to get. That product, with the right timing, could be the one you’re launching.

For example, if you sell pet products and accessories online, you could work in a campaign for Valentine’s Day for those who love their pets. It’s a celebration that isn’t limited to humans only. Valentine’s Day is about love. Working that message into a new product launch could be one way to make yourself stand out from the competition.

Planning around a holiday also creates a fixed, immovable deadline for you and your organization. It forces pragmatic choices by making it inevitable to launch on schedule. One reason why software developers can indefinitely postpone upgrades or new version launches is that in the software industry, holiday product launches aren’t needed as much as in the retail business. If Microsoft can’t launch the latest version of Windows by the time school begins, they won’t have missed a window of opportunity as much as an ecommerce owner planning to sell backpacks.

Timing is related to product readiness

All too often many products are launched without the product being really, truly viable and ready for the market. Any momentum generated by a good campaign is wasted if the consumer reaction smacks of discontent. In the easily accessible area of social media, you want to be sure that products are shared at the speed of likes in positive ways. Sometimes the downfall of a product that was hastily launched accelerates much faster than something that works as expected. Schadenfreude is a strange phenomenon, and one to avoid at all costs.

Educating the customer is vital

For those of you getting a new product out that needs some consumer education, make sure your campaign involves how-tos. Educating the customer on what it’s for and how it’s used before they get the item in their hands will save a lot of frustration from piling up.

Ecommerce business owners who thrive in the tech sector especially know this firsthand. Innovations are great, but nobody will buy the product they’ve been oohing and ahhing about if they don’t feel comfortable about using it. Making the learning curve as short and sweet as possible will go a long way in generating positive feedback among your early adopters.

Social media can make or break you

good-viralThe final step to consider in product launch is your social media campaign. Well-designed products will be a step ahead on the consumer radar for their picture and post-worthy quality. But what if your product is as boring as a doornail? That’s when your design and packaging will play a role. Steve Jobs was famous for his perfectionism in Apple products. Everything from the opening of a product box to the texture of its materials was under his constant scrutiny. Taking a page from Apple, having good logos and clear print in unique packaging helps build brand recognition among your customers.

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Catherine is president & executive director of 20four7va, a global eCommerce virtual assistance service provider. She is into strategic planning, product development, brand management, and digital marketing.
http://20four7va.com/twitter.com/20Four7VA

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