Protecting your product launch

Geri Mileva
September 5, 2023
September 5, 2023
Protecting your product launch

Putting something new out to the market is exciting. You’ve been developing something, or have just acquired some cool IP and you want to start making money from it. But there are a bunch of things you need to keep in mind if you want the launch to be as successful as it can be. 

Chief among these is making sure your product feedback is positive and that your ratings are high. What you want to create is the virtuous cycle of purchases turning into good reviews, turning into more purchases. 

Nothing will kill a launch faster than an influx of sub-4-star reviews - get too many of them in a row and you’ll watch your sales collapse. It takes five 5-star reviews to undo the damage of a single negative review. 

If you want to protect your launch, you have to make it high-quality and visible, but you also have to do everything you can to give them an alternative to leaving negative feedback on Amazon. 

How do I keep my ratings up?

Get the product page right

One of the best things about launching a new product is that you haven’t made any mistakes with it yet. You get the chance to look at the rest of your catalog, as well as similar items sold by competitors, and assess what works and what doesn’t. You can avoid some of the problems that lead to negative feedback down the line, and one of the most important ones is getting the product page looking right. 

Firstly, make sure that any product descriptions are detailed and accurate. This is your chance not just to explain the benefits of your product to the buyer, but also to manage their expectations. Don’t promise them the stars if you can only deliver the moon - everything needs to be described as accurately as possible.

Ask for them

There’s nothing wrong with asking people how your product did. If you’re selling on Amazon, for example, you can use its “Request a review” button to ask customers to review your product. An email will be sent to them asking for reviews of the product and the seller. If need be it will also translate it to the buyer’s preferred language, in case you’re also selling in international markets.

Products like FeedbackWhiz can take care of this for you, and will also exclude customers who are likely to leave negative feedback for your product - whether because they requested refunds or returns, left negative seller feedback, or any other reason. At the same time, it will seek out customers who’ve bought from you multiple times, as repeat buyers tend to be twice as likely to leave positive feedback (people who had a negative experience are more likely to leave reviews out of frustration).

You could be forgiven for wanting to compound your opportunities here, especially if you sell outside Amazon’s platform. You can create email lists so you can reach out to them directly. Be very careful here, though - Amazon does not like it when you go around them to directly contact customers who bought through the platform and can penalize you for it.

You can also request reviews via product inserts - little leaflets or other marketing material within the packaging of your product that asks the buyer to leave a review when they can. 

Be mindful of neutrality - ask for the review, but don’t try to sway them to give you five stars. Amazon sees this as manipulative and can lead to your product being taken off the site.

Use the Amazon Vine Program

If your brand is registered on Amazon and you have too few reviews for your product (fewer than 30), you’re eligible for its Vine program, through which 30 units of your stock will be sent for free to certain customers for a review. 

Amazon says that roughly a quarter of these reviews come in within five days, and virtually all of them come in just over a month.

Use the Amazon Vine Program
Source: Unsplash

Effective product support

A lot of negative feedback is the product of misunderstanding, which is itself often a product of bad communication. Having easy and open communication channels with your customers is crucial to keeping any negative feedback to a minimum. Even if you have a good product description, it doesn’t eliminate all possible confusion about a product when the customer first gets it, especially if it’s a new product. 

Using a tool like Onsite’s product information landing page goes a long way here - an easy-to-navigate, convenient, and intuitive way to find out any information that will improve their experience with the product and, crucially, bring them back from the brink of returning an item or leaving a bad review. 

Through the “get product support” button, which Onsite integrates directly onto customers’ order pages on Amazon, buyers get a seamless route to the product support landing pages, which are full of resources like product guides, video tutorials, explainer packs, FAQs, or anything else a buyer may need to fix any issue themselves. 

It can include a direct chat function so that customers can contact you directly if they do not find what they need on the site. Onsite also lets you access these landing pages directly with a QR code.

Keep an eye on the stars

The thing to keep in mind here is that you never want your reviews to dip below 4 stars. Going above 4 stars on your product rating will translate to a sales boost of 20%, but the inverse is also true. People can overlook, or not even notice, that your rival's product is a 4.5 while yours is a 4.2 - but theirs is a 4.2 and yours is a 3.9, you will have no hope of really competing with them. 

Onsite has a feature that tracks every product in your inventory, giving you a list of products that are hovering around the 4-star mark - either about to go above it or at risk of dipping below it - so that you can optimize how you advertise and sell them. 

Promote and advertise

A product launch is a perfect time to use promotional tools to drum up some initial demand. You could, for example, do a simple introductory price discount, which slashes prices for the first couple of weeks. You can use vouchers, which add tags to your product that offer a small discount, but don’t carry some of the fees on Amazon that other promotional methods do.

A launch is not the time to be skimping out on your ad spend - this is the time when you have to do as much as you can to get your product in front of as many people as possible.

Sponsored Products is Amazon’s biggest advertising moneymaker for a reason - use it. If you’re a registered brand, a new launch is a perfect opportunity to showcase your entire catalog with Sponsored Brands. Even if they don’t buy the first time around, through Sponsored Display you can retarget people who have seen your products before but not purchased.

Customer Service

Finally, make sure your customer service is ready to handle any problems - new products come with further uncertainty, and it will take a bit of time to figure out what all the problems are. Don’t be in a position where problems can pile up and spoil the honeymoon period. 

Onsite will help you communicate directly with your customers to keep returns and negative feedback to a minimum

Remember also that, even if you’re successful at launch, unless you want sales to peak early than fall, you’ll be keeping a magnifying glass on all data related to sales, returns, and feedback.
Analyze the data, condense it into actionable items, and execute them. You want to build on success, not rest on it. 

Get in touch today to talk about how to customize Onsite’s suite for your brand ahead of a new launch.