Optimising product launches

26 November, 2020 by Brydie Allen

In the November issue of National Liquor News, Stephen Wilson, Category and Insights Manager at Strikeforce, writes about how to get the most from new product launches.

There is nothing more frustrating than spending precious capital and becoming invested in a new product launch, then experiencing unrealised sales due to missing one of the crucial steps in an integrated ‘go to market’ program, whether you are a supplier or retailer.

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There are some checkpoints worth considering – understanding your core shopper, pre-sell activity, stock weight, stock availability, benchmarking your results, managing sales peaks and troughs and seeking end user feedback.

So, let‘s look briefly at each of these.

Understanding your core shopper  – knowing what motivates them, how they shop, what their mission is and what their non-negotiables are will drive trial during your ‘go to market’ activation.

Pre-sell – create some excitement and anticipation around the launch with your most ardent influencers: your retail partners and customers. Engaging early on with a well-executed pre-sell campaign, including activation and support details and maybe an introductory offer for the initial buy or early stages of the launch period, will assist early sales momentum.

Stock weight – this is not a one size fits all scenario. The days of simply allocating the same number of cases equally to all stores are long gone. Each store has unique physical attributes, a different customer base with different needs and is located in postcodes with differing income levels.

Stock availability – is this a limited availability of stock (e.g. a launch aligned with a special or one-off event with a limited time frame) or is this the launch of an everyday brand or item?

Benchmarking your results – key performance indicators will help you determine whether the product launch is as successful as you hoped it would be, and whether you are picking up early signals that you may need to increase order quantity or frequency or reduce inventory levels due to lack of customer interest.

Managing peaks and troughs – understanding when the peak period of sales is may determine the amount of focus the new product will need at any given time (e.g. it may be beneficial to run a sampling program during the peak periods of foot traffic to increase trial and purchase of the new product). There’s no point in gearing up additional stock and staff resources without understanding when this type of engagement or activation will generate the most customer interventions.

Seeking end user feedback – it is worth noting which customers were first time purchasers of the new product and asking them about their experience. Did the product live up to expectation? Would they buy it again? This will be a key indicator if stock weight and order frequency needs to be adjusted in the future.

In summary, these are all prudent steps along the way to realising the full sales potential of new product offerings.