5 critical actions for your product launch checklist
Product launches are make-or-break for many online retailers. They’re the optimal time to raise brand awareness, create hype, and get your products out there. Have you included these 5 steps in your prep to ensure your releases run smoothly?
You and your team spend weeks or even months planning for the big day, focusing on even the smallest details. In order to make preparations a little easier, we’ve compiled a product launch checklist to ensure you don’t forget these critical steps. Do you have the answers to these 5 questions?
1. What are your influencers up to?
For many online retailers, traditional modes of advertisement are becoming less effective in attracting new customers to their websites. And with shoppers being exposed to up to 10,000 ads a day, no wonder they’re tuning them out!
As a result, many online retailers are turning to influencers. And with good reason. Influencer marketing is effective because it uses strong psychological tools like social proof and word-of-mouth marketing, which 74% of shoppers see as a key factor in their buying decisions.
Influencers can also drive customers to websites in a moment’s notice. Easho found that to be the case when they teamed up with Mrs Hinch. The influencer’s Instagram story brought 1,500 visitors to Easho’s site within minutes of the story being posted, and over 54,000 shoppers throughout the four-hour duration of the sale. Luckily, Easho was prepared for these surges.
As an ecommerce business, what should you do in the run-up to your product launches? Coordinate influencer activity with your marketing team to develop campaign messaging that is in line with your brand guidelines. That could include which channels, which keywords you use to describe your products, and the use of emojis. It all comes down to communication: stay in constant contact with influencers about your expectations for your launch’s promotion.
2. Is your customer service prepared for your event?
Your employees are your best, (not so) secret asset in your preparations for product launches. Take an “all hands-on deck” approach to your team before your products go live, and before any potential chaos ensues.
Designate your customer support dream team well ahead of time. Have individuals continuously monitoring social media for any signs of dissatisfaction. Assign others to man your caller service lines.
Careful employee selection is crucial. After all, they are spokespeople for your brand and image. Above all, make sure your customer service team is empathetic and patient in order to give your shoppers the best experience possible.
3. How fast is your website?
On the big day, your customers expect your website to be fast. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Research has found that almost half of customers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, and up to 40% of website visitors will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. There’s little room for error.
Also, make sure you don’t overlook your mobile performance! With over half of all internet traffic shopping now happening on mobile, you might be surprised to learn mobile load time is actually worse than desktop. In 2019, the average mobile load time was 6.8 seconds compared to 2.7 seconds for desktop. That’s double the recommended 3 second load time!
The consequences of a slow website aren’t just short-term, like lower conversion rates. 79% of shoppers who are unhappy with web performance are less likely to make repeat purchases. What’s more, almost half would tell friends and family about a poor online shopping experience. That’s why it’s crucial you put resources into optimizing your web performance before the big day.
What can you do if your website is performing less than optimally? Compress images while maintaining the highest quality. Minimize the use of 3rd party plug-ins where possible, which can quickly become outdated. Use a content delivery network (CDN) for your static pages to focus your servers on your dynamic content, such as your checkout page.
4. How are you protecting your launch from bots?
We want product launches to attract attention, but sometimes that attention is unwanted. Many highly anticipated product launches and limited collection releases are targeted by bots and bad actors. These hyped releases bring in big revenue for online stores and have a high resale value on secondary markets. This is often the case with limited releases such as sneaker drops, or product launches like Kylie Cosmetics.
Bots have different methods of attack. They can hit websites with stolen card fraud, account takeovers or create fraudulent new accounts. Brute force attacks orchestrated by bots are also a common reason for website crashes. And during product launches, even mere minutes of downtime is real money your business is losing.
So, what’s an online retailer to do? The most successful businesses bring online fairness back to their releases by standing up to bad actors and investing in bot defense measures, including virtual waiting rooms.
5. How much traffic can your website handle?
Before the big (web) performance, you need a dress rehearsal. Load testing, which involves sending more and more traffic to your website in a controlled environment, is critical to helping you understand how your site will hold up when real shoppers hit.
What’s more, you need to get a sense of how your website performance is affected when customers are concentrated on specific pages. Namely your checkout payment systems and inventory pages, which are prone to traffic bottlenecks.
You can try scaling up your servers if you’re aware of how much traffic your site can support, and if you know what time shoppers are expected. But what do you do if the email campaign you just sent out brings sudden spikes of interested customers? Can you scale up quickly enough if an influencer's post draws shoppers immediately to your site?
Having a virtual waiting room in place ensures your site stays online, no matter how high the demand or how suddenly it hits your website. It’s also a powerful form of social proof and can increase the hype around your releases.
If you can answer these 5 questions, whether you’re releasing a new cosmetics collection, a limited-edition collectible, or collaborating with an influencer, you’re well on your way to creating a smooth and fair product launch. Provide the website experience your shoppers deserve on the big day.