Business accelerators: Expanding into a new market or service

January 23, 2018

Expanding into a new product or service can be a wonderful way to accelerate your business’ growth. The key to successful product launches is ensuring your decisions are based on a solid foundational program of data, insights, and test markets. Here are 9 tips for making sure your product launch is successful.

Strategy & Planning

Creating and launching new products or services can take a lot of time and money. Make sure this new product fits into your overall strategy for growing the business. Ask yourself the following questions before launching a campaign for a new product:

  • What business goal do you hope to achieve?

Are you launching the product strictly to bring in more revenue, or are your trying to create something that makes you stand out from the competition? Is this something your high-rollers have been asking for, or are you trying to draw in a new demographic to your business? Defining your goal will help you determine details of product design and launch and will give you a foundation for measuring its success when the campaign is over.

  • How will you measure the results of this campaign?

Establish some key objectives such as revenue targets, number of new leads who fall into the new demographic, or number of VIP customers who returned to take advantage of the new product.

  • What’s your break-even point?

Reaching the break-even point should be one of your performance objectives when determining whether the campaign is successful. The break-even point is how much you need to sell to make back your investment in the new product. To calculate this, add up all the development, production and launch costs, then divide that by the profit you make on each sale.

Before jumping into a launch, consider launching the new product in stages to fine-tune the product before releasing. (Check out Enterprise behavior: How to launch a new product or service.)

3 Effective Launch Ideas

Now that you’re clear on strategy and your goals, it’s time to consider the launch. Here are three ideas to market your new product or service.

  • Spread the love.

In a world where customers are bombarded with electronic alerts and messages, it pays to stand out with a beautiful card and a simple message. If you’d like to reward someone, give them something special—like your new product. Make a small, but beautiful business card that looks like a gift card and hand it out to existing customers to share with people they love. Have your cashier say something like: “Know someone who made your day? Give them a free powder manicure on us.”

  • Reward good customers with a “freebie”add-on.

Whether your new offering is a new service, a new product or simply free delivery a “freebie add-on” is a great way to get your best customers to give it a try. Identify buying patterns of your current customers and determine who are most likely to purchase your new offering. If you’re selling new sneakers, perhaps identify people who have purchased shoes from you before using Clover Insights. If that group is too large, narrow it down by those people whose shoes are most likely to need replacing. Then send them an email, text message, or other alert letting them know that they get a free manicure with their next haircut, or a free brake inspection with their next oil change.

  • Call the press.

Consider whether your product could be newsworthy and get local attention. For example, if you are a local pet shop and you donate your time to an animal shelter, ask the local paper or shelter if they would do a story on rescue dogs and highlight that your business donates new, homemade dog biscuits once a month when your team volunteers. If you’re a restaurant or coffee shop and you’re trying out a new menu, offer local reporters or bloggers to a special tasting event. It’s a great way to get a review in the local paper.

Measuring Results

Periodically, on a weekly basis, and also at the end of each promotion, check how your new product is performing. Clover Insights will collect your transactional data as well as customer data to help you evaluate whether you’re reaching new customers.

  • Did the new product or service meet your performance objectives?

If it didn’t, take the time to talk to your staff and ask their opinions on why it failed. Your staff is the front line and likely can offer insight into why customers might not have responded the way you expected.

  • How does it compare to your other products?

Did it perform well enough to add to your mix of products permanently? Sometimes evaluating new products against your existing products reveals low-performers that should be cut from the mix.

  • What do the customers think?

Gather feedback first-hand using apps such as Feedback and Customer Survey. Also train staff to ask customers what they think of the new products. Sometimes customers are interested, but don’t take advantage of a promotion because they didn’t schedule enough time in advance or because they just weren’t ready to buy. It’s important not just to collect the data, but to analyze it in the right context.

Taking all this data into consideration, it’s decision time. Hopefully your new product exceeded your expectations and met all your performance objectives. More likely than not, it’ll need to be tweaked to be made more profitable. If the results are a little less clear, brainstorm ways to take it further. Perhaps you only offer the product during certain times a year, or only in the most popular colors. Maybe the price needs raising to make it more worth your while, or lowering to entice more sales.

Want more ideas on how to accelerate growth this year? Check out Clover’s App Market.

[image: Nail Salon by Tom Hilton on flickr]

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