In some ways, creating a product is like having a baby. First, you have to decide to just go ahead and take the plunge: you put pencil to paper, nose to the grindstone, and you finally sketch out that product idea that’s been bouncing around in your head for months or years.
Then you have to see your little product through revisions, redesigns, prototyping, and finding a manufacturer. By this point, your product has grown up! It’s finally ready to graduate into the real world of sitting on shelves and waiting for people to come pick it up.
Once you’ve shepherded your product this far, it can be tempting to loosen the reins a bit and expect that people will just naturally want what you’ve created. And while that’s true for some lucky product designers, it’s most often not the case. That’s not because there aren’t tons of great products out there—it’s just that success depends on so much more than simply what you’re selling.
With that in mind, here are some tips for a successful product launch.
- Make sure your product works and functions exactly like it’s supposed to. Hopefully this is something you already went over in the prototyping phase, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to do another test before you officially launch. There’s nothing worse than unleashing your product on an eager world, only to have it fall apart or malfunction in your customers’ hands. That’s a mistake that’s hard to come back from.
- Have your marketing plan in place before you officially launch. You can start working on your marketing plan before your product is even finished—in fact, it’s a good idea to do so. Just as you had to research whether or not there was a viable need or desire for your product, now you should research who exactly is going to need or want it. Working with a marketing firm is a great option if you have the resources, but if you don’t, you can do a lot of research online yourself or by talking to friends and acquaintances.
- When it comes to your buyer list, choose quality over quantity. Chances are you’re going to need to sell your product to retailers, whether that’s your entire selling strategy or just a part of it. That means you’ve got to build a list of retailers or other sellers who, firstly, will want to buy your product, and secondly, who can buy your product. There’s no point in having a list of 50,000 names if most of them have no interest in what you’ve got to sell. For example, let’s say you’ve invented a new outdoor toy aimed at families with children ages 5 and up. The price is reasonable, but significant.
- Make sure your product has an online presence. You don’t necessarily need to create a full website for your product, but you do, at minimum, need a landing page with information about
You could stick Wal-Mart, Target, and every other chain store that sells toys on your list, but how likely is it that they’ll give you a shot? And if they do, it’s almost certain that they’ll just put it on a shelf along with the hundreds of other toys they sell each day. You might do better by contacting small, independent toy stores that specialize in high-quality items. They’ll not only be more likely to be interested in your product, but they’ll also be more likely to feature it prominently—at the very least, it won’t be lost among thousands of other items.
your product and how consumers can purchase it. If you can tap into social media, too, that’s even better. As you surely have experienced yourself when looking for products online, it’s getting harder and harder to trust any product that doesn’t have some kind of online footprint. Instagram is a great medium to start with, as all you have to do is take pictures and write some short captions.
In addition, when you’ve got an online presence you can get in touch with online influencers—bloggers, journalists, and others—who may be interested in helping you promote your product. This can be invaluable to your success.
Pivot International develops, builds, and manufactures new products every day. If we can help you bring your product to market, contact us!