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 constantly 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 regularly. According to Clayton Christensen, former Harvard Business School professor, 30,000 new consumer products are launched yearly.
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, myriad factors contribute to a new product's success (or failure). Some of those factors are out of your control. But a lot of others are in your possession.
We have identified four essential best practices for launching any new product. These are intended to give you the focus necessary to drive meaningful impact. These proven practices will prepare you for the most successful product launch possible.
How Product Sampling Works
Product sampling involves sending out free product samples and then asking for reviews from those who received a piece. The reviews are displayed on your product page when you launch your new product.
Product sampling is a great option if launching a new product on your direct-to-consumer site.
However, it would be best to consider the product sample excellent if you’re launching a new product on a retailer’s site.
Retailer-only campaigns work similarly. But instead of displaying reviews on your 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 simple – primarily if you work with the right sampling partner. But it’s also an 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 ten products you send. Some of our customers have even higher submission rates.
And the reviews that result from the campaign are high quality. Reviews that result from PowerReviews sampling campaigns are an average of 29% longer than those generated from other sampling programs.
When you hear “product sampling,” you might think of low-cost consumers' packaged goods, like toothpaste or shampoo. But product sampling can be effective across a wide range of product categories.
Here at PowerReviews, we’ve planned and executed pre-launch product sampling—products ranging from makeup and sparkling water to strollers and mattresses – and everything in between.
Time Your Product Sampling Campaign Right
It’s essential to time your sampling campaign right. A best practice is launching your sampling campaign at least ten weeks before 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 correctly on your product page when you launch your new product. This content will boost shoppers’ confidence and increase their likelihood of trying your new product.
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 essential, but increasingly, consumers want to see photos and videos from others like them.
A survey found that over three-quarters of essential consumers consistently or regularly look for picture 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 essential to you (and should be), consider collecting it as part of your product sampling campaign. Those who sampled your new offering can 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 much 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.