There’s a saying that change is the only constant in life. It may be cliche. But it rings true, especially for brands and retailers.
Styles change. Technology evolves. Customers’ needs, values, priorities, and expectations are always in flux. It can be hard to keep up!
Brands and retailers must constantly innovate to keep pace with these changes and continue to meet consumers’ ever-evolving needs and expectations. One key way brands and retailers innovate is by releasing new product offerings on a regular basis. According to Clayton Christensen, former Harvard Business School professor, 30,000 new consumer products are launched each year.
But developing a great product doesn’t guarantee it’ll fly off the shelves and be wildly successful. Per that same professor, up to 95% of new products fail.
Pretty disheartening, huh? But it’s not all gloom and doom for brands and retailers. We promise.
Of course, there are myriad factors that contribute to the success (or failure) of a new product. Some of those factors are out of your control. But a lot of others are in your control.
In fact, we have identified four key best practices for launching any new product. These are intended to provide you with the focus necessary to drive meaningful impact. By adopting these proven practices, you’ll set yourself up for the most successful product launch possible.
How Product Sampling Works
Product sampling involves sending out free samples of a product, and then asking for reviews from those who received a sample. The reviews are then displayed on your product page when you launch your new product.
Product sampling is a great option if you’re launching a new product on your own direct-to-consumer site.
However, you should also consider product sampling if you’re launching a new product that’ll be available on a retailer’s site.
Retailer-only campaigns work similarly. But instead of displaying reviews on your own dot com, the content is displayed on your retail partners’ sites – boosting shopper confidence there.
Product Sampling Works Across all Product Categories
Product sampling is really simple – especially if you work with the right sampling partner. But it’s also a really effective way to collect a large volume of high quality content – fast.
At PowerReviews, we see an average submission rate of 85% on our product sampling campaigns. That means you can expect to generate about 8.5 reviews for every 10 products you send. Some of our customers have even higher submission rates.
And the reviews that result from the campaign are high quality. In fact, reviews that result from PowerReviews sampling campaigns are an average of 29% longer than those generated from other sampling programs.
When you hear the phrase “product sampling,” you might think of low cost consumer packaged goods, like toothpaste or shampoo. But the reality is, product sampling can be effective across a wide range of product categories.
Here at PowerReviews, we’ve planned and executed pre-launch product sampling campaigns for products ranging from makeup and sparkling water to strollers and mattresses – and everything in between.
Time Your Product Sampling Campaign Right
It’s important to time your sampling campaign right. A best practice is to launch your sampling campaign at least 10 weeks ahead of your planned product launch. That way, you have enough time to identify your sampling audience, send out samples, and request reviews. Again, the right sampling partner will do all the heavy lifting for you.
Once your campaign has wrapped, you’ll have plenty of reviews to display on your product page on the day you launch your new product. This content will boost shoppers’ confidence – and increase their likelihood of giving your new product a try.
Collect Visual Content, Too
Chances are, you’ve taken beautiful photos and videos that showcase your new product in the best light. This content is important; but increasingly, consumers want to see photos and videos from others like them.
A survey found that over three-quarters (77%) of consumers always or regularly look for visual content from other shoppers who have purchased a product. And a third of Gen Z shoppers won’t buy a product if there are no user-generated photos or videos available for it.
If user-generated visual content is important to you (and it should be), consider collecting it as part of your product sampling campaign. Those who sampled your new offering should be able to easily upload a photo or video of the product in action right from the review submission form.
Analyze Review Data to Enhance Products
A key benefit of product sampling is that it allows you to display a high volume of quality reviews as soon as you launch the product. This content increases the likelihood a consumer will purchase your new product.
But another benefit is that reviews generated during a pre-launch product sampling campaign provide you with a ton of data. You’ll get rich insight into what consumers love about your new product – and things that aren’t so great. Then, you can share these insights with your product teams to fuel product enhancements – either before launching the product or later on down the road.