Your new product line. It's your baby. You've raised it from the ground up. You've done your research. The demand is there. The need is there. And best of all? You've got the single largest eCommerce retailer at your fingertips.
So how come that new product isn't selling quite as quickly as you expected?
Was it over expectation? Was it a failure to generate pre-launch excitement? Is it the product—or is it Amazon?
Here's a hard truth. Just because you're selling on the world's largest and most powerful digital storefront will not guarantee your success. But it may not necessarily be a question of your product.
It may be a question of your product launch strategy.
How Your Product Launch Strategy Can Make (or Break) Your Amazon Business
A new product launch on Amazon is no less of a gamble than deciding to start your own business. But there are certain traits that successful launches tend to have in common regardless of what your product line may be.
A successful product launch doesn't just depend on a strong product line. It relies on a strategy that's focused around detailed customer data. That means understanding their needs, their values, their pain points and how your product can better fill the void left by your competitors during your customer's journey.
If that sounds like a tall task, that's because it is. Those needs won't be accurately described by sales data alone. Research reported in aggregate form rarely gives you a full picture of your customer. Instead, it's simply raw data which you can (hopefully!) develop a relatively coherent customer persona from.
You can't target customers based on raw data alone. Your pre launch should take into account real insight gleaned from hundreds, if not thousands, of competitive reviews on Amazon. And you may not simply have the time to do so.
But your competitors will. And a successful launch strategy can't be focused around the needs of your sales team (assuming you have one.)
It will be focused around the needs of your audience.
Your Amazon Product Launch Checklist
Refine your target audience
Customer pain points and needs will vary dramatically across demographics as much as they will vary across product lines. But narrowing your target audience down to specific demographics based on age, lifestyle and shopping habits is only one part of the equation.
What does your ideal customer's journey look like? How are they discovering your brand? Are they more likely to make an impulse purchase or do they have a specific product in mind? What strengths do your competitors have in common? What are their differences? And what specifically sets your own product line apart?
Yes, there will be huge gaps in product and brand popularity across demographics. That's simply the nature of retail. But if you've already done your customer research, you'll find their motivations can reveal much more than mere demographics alone.
Determine the right sales target
There's no accurate way to measure success without a realistic sales goal in mind. But keep in mind your own scalability as well.
Amazon FBA fees may seem exorbitant, but your own warehousing and fulfillment solutions may not be able to accommodate the influx of orders that can accompany new-to-market products. At the same time, there's no way of accurately estimating your own order value until after your launch. And even that may be wildly inaccurate.
When defining your target sales goal, take into consideration both long-term profitability as well as your immediate budget. Advertising costs on Amazon are increasing each month, and realistically calculating what you can expect from your ROAS prior to launching will go a long way towards estimating your profitability post launch.
Set a launch date
Setting a launch date is rarely as rigid as many brands tend to assume. Dates should be flexible enough to encompass both a soft launch and a full scale launch, but always take into account both the readiness of both your product line as well as the accessibility of Amazon markets. While seasonal products may largely determine the right time of year to launch, a good rule of thumb is to introduce your Amazon product to the market no later than 2 -3 months in advance of your seasonal sales goal. That's more than enough time to build excitement early on.
Run an A/B test
There's no better way to gauge a successful launch than the results of an A/B test, particularly if you're a new Amazon seller.
Amazon's A9 algorithm can be notoriously tricky to figure out. And the sad reality is that there's no way of knowing the longevity of your sales without estimating both short and long term interest.
A/B testing isn't a question of intricate measurement. It's a question of creating the best possible experience for potential customers during your product launch—including professional imagery, keyword optimization, as well as leveraging paid solutions and enhanced brand content. An experience which can only be refined through trial and error.
But before you create content for your listing, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind after you've completed your product launch checklist.
Get the Pre Launch Buzz Humming
How many times have you caught the premiere of a new movie or TV show simply on the strength of a trailer alone? Chances are, quite a bit.
It's no different in the sphere of digital marketing. Yes, customers may accidentally stumble across your product listing on Amazon—eventually. But eventually isn't good enough when you're trying to drive early sales.
Build anticipation early on. Email campaigns. Blog posts. Social media campaigns. An embargoed press release for external media outlets. Anything and everything you can think of to grab the public's attention. The more shareable it is, the better.
Don't just assume a consumer wants your product. Make them need your product.
It's one thing to draft a well-crafted and attention-grabbing press release. But today's consumers aren't going to rely on your marketing skills alone.
Even the most seamless advertising campaign can sometimes omit one of the strongest tools you have at your disposal: reviews and testimonials.
Recent research from Northwestern University has indicated that product reviews can boost conversion rates by almost 400 percent in some instances. And there's a good reason for that.
The digital landscape is inherently consumer-driven. And so are its marketing campaigns. If you're not taking into account the role of customer feedback in driving your sales, you'll never be able to accurately gauge the temperature of that landscape both before and after your product launch.
What's more, you'll never understand just how your product line is both addressing your customer's needs as well as falling short of meeting them altogether.
But Let Your Listing Do Some Of The Talking, As Well
I'm sure you've seen them.
Amazon product listings that are filled with dense and impenetrable technical specifications that have no bearing on your decision. Or even worse… bombastic and unrealistic claims that insult your intelligence.
Don't make that mistake. Listing optimization can be one of the trickier aspects of Amazon marketing—particularly if you don't have an internal marketing team. To create content that's engaging means directly engaging with your customers.
At the very least, make certain your Amazon product listing contains:
High-resolution, relevant images with neutral backgrounds shot from different angles
A product description that's concise and clear, with no more (and no less) than five bullet points
Relevant and competitive keywords, based on both historical and predictive trends
Know Your Product—But Know Your Service Better
Yes, you may have a product line that truly is revolutionary. A product line your core demographic can't live without. You've reached out to them. You've garnered feedback. You've created a stir. And now it's time to sit back and reap your rewards.
No matter how innovative your product is or how much of a need in the marketplace it may fill, bad customer service can make or break you in your first few weeks. That's true in just about any industry.
But in a customer-driven industry like eCommerce, it's not just apt. It's practically law.
Always make certain your inventory is in stock. If you're not currently an Amazon FBA seller, make certain all orders are shipped and tracked efficiently—and even if you're the only member of your customer support department. Answer any and all queries objectively promptly (always keep communication guidelines from Amazon Seller Central in mind.)
And never underestimate the power of unexpected value for new customers.
Whether it's new customer promotions, a future discount for signing up for your email list or a small gift with each purchase, it's those little things which can keep your customers coming back. If you have an off-Amazon store, you might want to consider your landing page to emphasize new products with Amazon-specific discounts. You may find your off-Amazon promotional marketing can drive entirely new and unexpected traffic to your listings.
Ready, Set, Launch!
It's your big day. And you've likely already considered any number of solutions during your product launch.
Amazon PPC. Off site PPC. Coupons. Discounts. Amazon giveaways. Social Media giveaways. There's a million and one possibilities to optimize your new product on Amazon. But in the end, it's only your product that matters.
Your successful product launch will ultimately focus around one factor and one factor alone: the strength of your product itself. Any additional marketing solutions and tactics may enhance those strengths. But as even the most cursory glance of Amazon reviews will tell you, users are motivated by just how your product will affect their lives.
Because that's what your product launch is based on: the introduction of an entirely new solution to the market. The emphasis is on your product, not your product strategy.
Master your product and traffic will follow. Just make sure you know the best route to get there.
Looking to increase your visibility on Amazon both before and after your product launch? We can help. Find out more at Color More Lines.