The Definitive 10 Step eCommerce Product Launch Checklist
Putting together a product launch checklist is a great way to ensure your new lines go to market smoothly. By setting out the key steps that need to be undertaken, these lists offer a great starting point for your product launches.
Although product launch checklists are simple tools, tons of benefits come along with using them.
Not only do they ensure that you don’t forget any key actions, checks or reviews, but they also allow you to track progress without losing sight of your overall objectives. While you may like to use product roadmaps and detailed spreadsheets, it’s wise to create a product launch checklist that provides a high-level overview too.
This is also a useful document to share with your team. Launching a product can be a long process which requires input from across marketing, engineering and support teams. This can be an overwhelming task at times. But a product launch checklist will help you stay on track.
It can even reduce duplicate work, increase productivity and provide clarity to all the team so that they can work together cohesively. By getting cross-departmental input, you can also rest assured that nothing important is overlooked.
Below, we’ve listed out ten essential steps to include as part of your product launch checklist.
A key part of any new product launch is understanding your customers: their pain points, motivations and goals. Knowing these things will ensure you position your product in a way that appeals to them.
The product team probably conducted in-depth research before designing the product, so be sure to check this out. But it’s worth conducting further research to develop your customer profiles. Review sales data, conduct customer surveys and interview your target audience. These conversations will provide clarity on how you can market your product effectively.
Once these insights are available, you can create detailed customer personas, conversion funnels and customer journey maps that will inform your launch strategy.
Once you get to know your target audience, you can begin writing your positioning statement. This is a short summary which outlines who your product is for and its unique selling points.
You could also enhance your positioning statement with insightful statistics, customer personas, key messaging and details on product functionality. As your product launch plan comes together, you can even expand your positioning statement to include information about your sales funnel and advertising approach.
With a strong positioning statement in hand, your brand will be ready to share your new product with stakeholders.
Employees, executives, managers, shareholders and board members will all be able to provide advice and feedback on your product launch plan. If they show support, it could signal that it will be a hit.
It’s important to set precise goals for your product launch. Do you want to build awareness, maximise launch day sales or convince loyal customers to upgrade? By setting clear goals, you’ll be able to create a strategy that will really benefit your business.
Try to follow the SMART goals framework when choosing objectives. This simply means that each of your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Once you have buy-in from key stakeholders, you’re ready to develop a detailed product launch plan and start executing it.
Setting a launch date is key. But to really start delving into the nitty-gritty details, you’ll need to create a go-to-market or GTM strategy. This will outline exactly how you plan to reach your target audience and gain a foothold in the market.
GTM strategies generally include an eCommerce marketing plan and sales strategy. You’ll need to consider pricing, packaging, competition and distribution at this stage too.
With your strategy, goals and market research in mind, you can now start creating content to win over your target audience. You’ll probably require blog posts, demo videos, product photos, tutorials, product descriptions, support documentation, FAQs and sales scripts.
Microsites are particularly useful for product launches because they allow you to host product-centric content and target specific audience segments. They can also be used to gather highly accurate insights into your product’s performance which can inform future campaigns.
It’s also a good idea to prepare press releases and reach out to reporters in the run up to your new product launch. This will generate news coverage, increase top of mind awareness and create buzz around your product.
Before launching a product, brands should also create a buzz among their own customer base. These are the people who are most likely to be most interested in a new product, but they can help spread the word too.
Statistics suggest that 63% of consumers like when brands offer them a new product, while 56% of new product purchasers hear about releases through friends and family. So if you can get loyal followers talking about your upcoming product release, your launch is likely to succeed.
Share content on social media and send out product news in your email newsletters. Consider using special offers, competitions and free product samples to generate interest too. Encouraging early adopters to leave ratings and reviews for your products will also help kick start sales after your launch, so this is a must-have item on your product launch checklist.
A product launch checklist can help you assign key responsibilities across departments. But as you come close to rolling out the red carpet for your product, it’s important to consult with various teams and departments again.
Be sure to check in with sales, support, marketing and logistics to ensure they are all prepared for the launch. If any issues arise, you can reassign resources to quickly address them.
It’s a good idea to launch your product internally first. This will help you create a comprehensive launch day checklist to ensure nothing goes wrong when your product goes public. If you run a loyalty programme, you could also consider launching your product for members first.
The more people check out your microsite, visit your product pages and complete the checkout process, the easier it will be to identify technical issues.
This is particularly important for omnichannel brands as there are lots of different sites and content to check over. Updating these glitches could take a few days, so be sure to allow enough time for this. You can use the likes of heat maps, journey mapping software and Where to Buy buttons to ensure shoppers have an easy path to purchase.
At the end of the process, it’s important to assess the performance of your product launch. Did it achieve the goals set out? Did it attract engagement from your target audience? Is there anything you should add to your product launch checklist for next time?
To do this, you can check out your website analytics and sales. If your products are available across multiple channels, you’ll also be able to use Digital Shelf and Amazon analytics to further assess performance and gain unique insights into competitor products.
It’s also wise to gather cross-company feedback and insights. With all this information, you’ll be able to optimise future launches and product performance.
As well as these ten steps, you should add other criteria to your checklist too. Think back to past launches and consider what worked well and what could be improved upon. This may highlight steps worth adding.
If you update your product launch checklist iteratively after each launch, you’re sure to end up with a document that will steer you right every time.