It’s almost that time of year again: the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show is right around the corner and hundreds of companies will be launching new products with the hopes of gaining new business. Whether you’re an upstart looking to release your first product or a long-established company hoping to target a new market, it can be a daunting task to determine a clear path for launching a new product. There are numerous avenues that a company can take, and what works well for one product may not necessarily work well for another. In our 65 years of providing logistics services to a multitude of companies across various industries, these are the 6 steps that we’ve seen successful companies consistently follow:
1. Know Your Target Audience – Where do you think your product will sell best? Who is your target demographic and which media outlets do they follow? When is the best time or season to release your product? Performing the research upfront and knowing your product and its connection to your target audience is essential for a solid launch and continuous success.
2. Raise Awareness About Your Products– Whether it’s at a trade show, such as the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show, or a club store road show, allowing your products to get in front of buyers in an environment where they are expecting to experience new products will help your products and your company gain essential exposure.
3. Make Your Products Stand Out – There are countless techniques for making a product look unique among a sea of competitors, and this stage will often require multiple avenues to succeed. Whether it’s through eye-catching packaging or competitive pricing, the end-goal is to not only catch the attention of a potential buyer, but also to ensure that they become a repeat customer. One popular technique to help your product stand out is through utilizing your logistics provider’s value-added services department to repurpose the product’s packaging. Whether it’s shipper displays, variety packs, end caps or clip-strips, there are multiple designs that can get you in the door with some retailers or can make your product stand out from the pack.
4. Set Up Your Distribution Network Well in Advance – You don’t want to receive your first order and have zero inventory nearby and no transportation network for shipping out orders. Setting up your distribution network in advance of your first order allows you to have an effective and efficient method for shipping your products that won’t leave your retailers and customers empty handed. The quality of your supply chain is as much of a factor in the success of your product as the quality of the product itself.
5. Perform Forecasting and Demand Management – Proactively managing your inventory forecast and order demand will allow you to work efficiently with your logistics providers and your retailers. When your partners know what to expect, and you know how much inventory to carry to meet those expectations, your distribution network can flow smoothly to the end customer.
6. Form Relationships with Retailers – Perhaps the most difficult stage of releasing a new product is building relationships with the retailers that you want to carry the product. One of the best ways to form retailer relationships, is by utilizing industry partners that already have established ties with retailers. For example, through your logistics provider you may be able to benefit from vendor consolidation programs, preferred carriers shipping into the retailers’ distribution centers, and a level of knowledge of retailers routing guidelines that takes years to acquire.
In our experience, one of the worst situations that a company can go through is successfully launching a hot product, and not having the proper plan in place to distribute that product to the customers that want it. Your product is only unique and in-demand for so long until competitors begin to swoop in with products that are more widely available to your potential customers. If potential buyers don’t try your product before your competitors, it’s highly possible that they never will. If you’re struggling with putting all the pieces together in launching a new product, contact Port Jersey Logistics today for a free consultation.