How To Do A Product Launch For Ecommerce

If you sell products, classes, or anything else online, you might want to consider using launches to either introduce the product or to sell it in a limited-time capacity.

Launches use scarcity, urgency, and social proof to encourage people to buy whatever it is you’re selling, and if you launch the right way you’ll have predictable results pretty much every time.

How To Do A Product Launch For Ecommerce

Table of Contents

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eshop success launch graphic
Cart almost open photo.

What is a product launch?

Product launches are when you lead up to a new product release with a planned publicity campaign that gets people interested in the product and excited to buy it. This is usually done with social media and email campaigns, and sometimes with paid ads, but those aren’t always required.

Launches can be used to introduce a new product, or to release something that you only sell a few times a year.

When I used to launch my EShop Success program it was a very scheduled thing, with specific tasks to do and emails that went out each day. (The program is open all the time now but I screen people in.)

Product and collection launches are usually used to sell a group of related products that will be available for a short time, then pulled from your shop in order to create scarcity.

If you’re using a launch to introduce a new product, but you won’t be pulling it at a certain time, you’ll lose the element of scarcity, but you can still use the launch process to create some interest in the new product before you release it.

Do product launches work?

The success of a launch can usually be predicted based on how well you follow the schedule that you’ve set up for it, and how many people you have to market it to.

When people don’t follow the schedule it won’t create the same anticipation in their customers, and the sale might not go as well as they hoped.

And if you only have a small number of people who are following your business, it won’t be as effective because you won’t have as many people to purchase things.

It’s pretty common that you have to go through 3-4 launches before you get enough momentum to make a decent amount of money from one, and it’s 100% possible that you won’t sell anything during a launch, unfortunately.

One thing that you can do to increase the success of a launch if your audience is on the smaller side is to only have a few things available, then when they sell you can legitimately say that you sold out.

This is kind of a shady maneuver, but if you really sold the supply of the thing that you have, you aren’t lying when you tell people that it sold out, even if you only had one of the thing.

What this does is add scarcity to the mix, and that’s a powerful thing. I wrote another article about that here: How To Use Scarcity In Marketing.

How to lead up to a product launch.

When you’re going to introduce a new product or collection and you want to do a launch, you’ll need to start by planning social media posts and emails that will go out to your email subscribers in the 7-10 days leading up to the launch. That time period is long enough to drum up interest, but short enough that people won’t forget about the product and your posts.

Product launch schedules can vary, so you can tweak this to fit your own schedule, but you want to let people know that you have something new coming and that they should watch for details.

10 days before the cart opens:

Post about something coming but don’t say what it is, just say that it’s exciting and you’ve been working on it. Send an email and post on social media. Pause any automated regular marketing emails that are scheduled to go out, you want everything to be about the launch for now.

7 days before the cart opens:

Send another email and post a sneak peek of things that you’re working on, and say that they’ll be available in a week.

5 days before the cart opens:

Post a sneak peek photo of one of the products but don’t make it obvious what it is. You want to drum up curiosity at this point. Also send out an email about it.

Days 3-2-1 before the cart opens:

Do more posts and maybe some videos showing the products that you’ll be launching, this time you can make them sneak peeks or photos of the full products as you get closer to the release date. Send out an email the day before the products are released. Mention any limited quantity information to increase the idea of scarcity.

Opening day and while the product is for sale:

Email your list and post that the collection or product is available, and that there are limited numbers of each item. Tell them how long the items will be available so that they know they have limited time to buy the collection.

If this is a product that you’re going to have in your shop permanently, you won’t be able to use the scarcity tactic, so this is basically the last time you’ll be able to use urgency to get people to buy.

Send out another couple of emails over the next few days, then a week later to remind people about the new product, but if there’s no scarcity most of your sales will probably come right at the beginning.

If there is scarcity, like a limited inventory available, or a limited time that the collection or product will be available for sale, you’ll want to send out an email campaign during the time that the collection is available. (Usually for 3-4 weeks at the most)

The first day that it’s open, you should send out an email announcing the release and sending links to the products.

The next day send another one featuring one of the items in the collection, then two days after that, send another one.

If you have a lot of things to sell you can send out an email every other day, or every third day to tell about another item in the collection.

If something sells out in the time the product is on sale, make sure to mention that by telling people on social media and in your emails that your products are selling out.

Posting a photo of the product with “SOLD OUT” written on it is a good reminder for people that they need to go buy what they want before it’s gone.

It’s not unusual to get some sales right at the beginning, then fewer during the middle part of the launch, then more sales toward the end, so don’t be upset if you get sales but they slow down!

Launch photo from the day before the class closed.
Launch photo from the day before the class closed.

When the closing date is coming up:

If you have a product launch for something that you’re only selling for a limited time, you’ll need to send out three emails to end the campaign.

The day before the last day that the products will be for sale, send out an email and post on social media to tell people that there’s one day left for the sale.

The last day of the sale, send out one email in the morning to say it’s the last day, then send out another one 4 hours before the sale ends.

If patterns hold true, you’ll get some more sales on the last day of the launch even if you haven’t made any for the few days before that. People tend to wait until the last minute, and it’s the last email that will push them into buying.

Isn’t that a lot of emails to send out?

Yes, yes it is a lot of emails to send out. However, you really have to do it this way because people need reminders, and they probably won’t open every email that you send.

When they see the subject line of the email in their inboxes, that’s when you’re passing along your marketing message, and even if they don’t open the emails, they’ll see that subject line.

I have a section in my Email Strategy class Opens in a new tab.about what to send on each day of a launch, and there is strategy to it.

You’ll also get people who unsubscribe, which is fine. You have to look at email unsubscribes as people who don’t want to buy from you, and who are helping you out by removing themselves from your list.

Don’t get discouraged, and stick to the schedule.

What if everything sells out before the end date?

If you do end up selling the entire collection before the end date comes up, you can post a big social media post with “Sold” on it and tell people that your collection is completely sold out, but that you might be bringing back some of the most popular items later. Also email your list with the same photo.

Wait a few weeks at least, then you can put the things that sold the fastest in your shop as a permanent item in your shop, or you can do another limited-edition launch for those.

I know one jewelry maker who would release limited edition collections with a small number of items multiple times a year. She also had some “regular” listings in her shop so people could buy those anytime, so the limited-edition items were promoted with a launch campaign and scarcity.

Do launches work for every product?

Launches don’t work for everyone, so if you sell things that your customers buy as more of a necessity than a luxury, and if they wouldn’t need the products that you’re launching, they might not buy them.

You might go through the entire launch cycle and sell NOTHING…That’s pretty common for the first few launches, to tell the truth, especially if you don’t have an email list or if your list is small.

If that happens don’t make an announcement that you didn’t sell anything, because people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. Just complete the launch, take the products down, and wait for a while before you add them to your shop as a permanent part of your stock.

In my cake decorating shop, I don’t do launches because my customers buy specific things when they need them, but they don’t buy things just because they’re new or only available for a limited time.

For a shop that sells something that could be seen as a designer item, or something that you could buy for yourself anytime, not just when you needed it for a specific event, launches would work really well. But you need to have a following somewhere, either on social media or with an email list, or you won’t have anyone to sell to.

Jewelry, seasonal home decor collections, fashion items, and bath and body items can do really well with product launches that use scarcity.

Launching a product can be a good way to increase interest in your shop, so give it a try if you think it could work.

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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