Creating a product for the first time is one of the most exciting times in your business history and personal life. Something that you believe will make the world an easier, better or safer place can now transform the lives of willing consumers. But, a comprehensive approach to solutions and marketability is what makes a product sustainable and successful. If you launch a product into the market, not having the logistics to keep up with demand and maintain healthy relationships with third-party businesses, all your hard work goes down the drain. You need to focus on making sure consumers and distributors market the product in a light that highlights its core differences from the competition.
Information at the ready
Your website must have the relevant information for your target audience which wants specific details about your product. It should also have basic and broad information for consumers who are just passing by. Equally, before you launch a product, you could leak information either on your social media account, website, or more importantly to the media as a press release. You can generate a tremendous amount of energy and anticipation around your product, just by giving consumers hints at how different it is to the competitors.
Contact industry specialists
As well as the media, the real key is to contact industry specialists who are relevant to the core market your product is trying to penetrate. Through their knowledge and know-how, they can give you an accurate assessment of how they think you will perform. The schedule calls for updates with these kinds of people so that they can inform you how well your product impacts on the ground. They can also inform you of movement in stock trades and whether your product is shifting the market toward a certain trend which gives you a sign that consumers are changing their buying habits. Industry specialists who are well respected or deal with a certain sector of an industry might also be called up to do interviews with the financial press. By remaining in constant contact with these specialists, you can get a heads up for what the media are looking for, regarding sales figures, customer satisfaction, pricing wars, how distributors have reacted and what kind of future your business may hold in the industry.
Distributors and sales
A business which cannot fulfill demand will lose momentum, damage reputation and soon, drop off the map with consumers. A scarcity of product at large can sink your ship even before it has set sail. Distributors such as supermarkets and online businesses want to be able to ensure they can keep their customers happy, and avoid promoting a product which is ‘out of stock’. This means you need to keep in constant contact with the supplier, who will follow your orders of how much to make of your product. Straight from the holding area or storage building, the distributors will have their stocks replenished after they have contacted you with regards to how much they have sold and how much more they need.
Once your product has launched and begun to sell, the key to establishing a reputation and a setting the tone of your image, keeping the momentum is crucial. You should aim to eliminate paperwork by having a purchase to pay system. Working directly with the manufacturer and distributor, you can have a clearer picture of your inventory, how much stock has been sold, and how much you have left that can fulfill outstanding orders. This kind of system keeps your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in your business from, where the products are made, then sold and the demand that’s reflected back to you.
Responding in real-time
Creative marketing techniques could be your saving grace, so in order to generate buzz around your product, an online presence is crucial. There are many variables and traps to achieve and avoid, but with a few tried and tested tactics you can achieve success. One of the best ways to maintaining a good and customer-friendly image is to take complaints and feedback seriously and respond in a timely manner. Whether on your social media accounts, reviews online, or emails on your website, keep in contact with your customers and offer solutions to their issues around the clock. You should also have a set of question, as little as five will do, about how you could improve the product or what customers find most troubling about it. A simple star review is a great tool to get feedback from people who are on the move and don’t have enough time. However, the best way is to have a comment section, in your smartphone app or on your website so specific issues can be highlighted and address more precisely.
Innovation as a response
Based on the first launch, the version of your product out on sale will be tested by consumers. As you get customer feedback as to what customers like and don’t like about your product, wait and brave the initial tidal wave. After a couple of weeks at most, if the same reports are coming through to you, regarding something that is not working or prone to malfunction of your product, go back to the drawing board with your manufacturer and design team. Figure out how to make your product better, reliable and complete the updates in a timely fashion. All the while, you need to keep your customers ‘in the know’; so write informative and friendly blog pieces on your website. Launch the new version to captivate the attention of the press and market.
Hire a business consultant
It’s the mark of a truly professional and analytical business owner and or director if they can bring in a consultant, who they are willing to let, pick holes in every aspect of their business. Engaging with an outside expert who can objectively assess, test and compare your products and services to the market in their own time, is incredibly vital to growth. It can be a complex and sensitive operation as the human relationship also comes into play. The added benefit of working with a business consultant is their knowledge in politics, social issues, economics, logistics, supply chains, contacts around the world and their ability to offer counsel, advice and strategy. A senior or mid-level consultant has enough experience of working with other businesses that he or she can help in any expansion ideas and financial planning for future projects.