When it comes to launching a new product, there’s myriad approaches and strategies brands can take. Given today’s competitive landscape and the variety of information and choice that consumers have access to, however, brands that leverage proven go-to-market strategies will likely be more successful than those that simply move forward without careful thought and preparation.
It goes without saying that the first step in a successful product launch is having developed something worth launching. I recently outlined three best practices brands can use to develop durable goods innovations, which are based on Nielsen’s learnings from assessing the viability of more than 1,500 durable goods globally over the past 10 years. So with that foundation in place, let’s look at four key considerations brands should keep top of mind when it’s time to launch new durables, particularly those that fall into the household appliance realm.
While some may still view on- and offline channels independent of one another, we know that successful marketers will approach product launches using an omni-channel lens. Having a strong on- and offline presence ensures that you’ll reach consumers in the channel that’s most relevant to them, which in turn creates awareness.
Consumers often visit several stores when they’re shopping for durables, and that means that broad distribution is essential for brands looking to showcase a new product. But limiting distribution to brick-and-mortar outlets is no longer sufficient, especially when it comes to durables like electric razors, coffee makers and irons. Additionally, our research suggests a strong link between having a digital presence and consumer awareness. Notably, online product pages that showcase positive customer reviews provide additional inspiration and information.
For many categories, it’s absolutely a best practice to launch a new product when you know that consumer interest will be highest. Take the year-end holiday season for example. That’s a prime time to launch a new tech gadget—but everybody knows that. So it’s very important to account for seasonality when you’re planning your marketing support. Yes, consumers will likely be clamoring for new gizmos around the holidays, but supply will likely be as high as demand. And that means that you’ll be competing with a wealth of other manufacturers with the same goal in mind. This principle also applies to durable goods.
Standing out is always essential. But you may have more of a challenge doing so at a time of year known for being overcrowded from an innovation perspective. So it’s important to weigh your ability to stand out with market crowding considerations and your marketing budget. Celebrity endorsements can also create strong memorability for brands looking to stand out from the crowd.
In most categories, it goes without saying that innovations need to be closely aligned with purchase drivers like quality, design and, not surprisingly, durability. These factors are even more important in the durables space. Individual product design, for example, plays a big role in purchase influence. Design is especially important for frequently used appliances that consumers keep on hand on countertops and places where space and shape are of greater consideration.
Design can also be a powerful tool in attracting certain consumer groups. We know, for example that younger, more affluent consumers place more importance on design than the general public. Using smart, quality design elements can help your innovation stand out among alternatives and attract a more discerning consumer base at the same time. According to Nielsen research, 0ptimized redesigns generate an average 5.5% lift in forecasted revenue over current designs.
Durability is especially important for small appliances, and promotions, warranties and guarantees can be great purchase incentives that also illustrate the projected long life of your innovation.
Given the lifespan of durables—and their expected utility over time—they cost more than common fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) items. But price is relative to an array of considerations, and innovators need to consider the price point in relation to the product delivering on its individual promise—no matter what.
While a high-end design may justify a higher price tag and drive value per transaction, lesser-priced, value products must deliver on customer expectations in the same way that premium products do. Regardless of pricing strategy, products need to deliver on their promise. That said, however, some durables may be less price elastic simply because of category characteristics. At the same time, consumers have demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for truly innovative products.
As with developing in the durables arena, there are many considerations that manufacturers need to carefully consider when it comes time to launch. These high-level guidelines, however, should get you thinking about the big-picture rather than spending too much time in the weeds.