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New Product Launch Checklist: How to Collect Contacts And Sales Before You Go Live

a clipboard with a pre-launch checklist on it

An eCommerce launch can make or break your online business, depending on how much you’ve invested into it. You have to set goals and develop a strategic roadmap to facilitate a successful release.

Research has found that 90% of eCommerce start-ups fail within the first 120 days of operation. The top three reasons cited for this are:

  1. Poor online marketing (37%),
  2. Poor online search visibility (35%), and
  3. Little to no market for their products and services (35%).

However, with a well-developed new product launch checklist that focuses on driving awareness and interest, you can equip your eCommerce brand for a smashing success.

Don’t launch your eCommerce store, new product line, or latest campaign until you’ve first ticked off everything on our new product launch checklist.

Why you need an eCommerce new product launch checklist

Whether it’s a new online store or a new line for your existing brand, a launch requires a substantial amount of time, effort, and hard work. The most successful eCommerce stores don’t just launch a product and cross their fingers.

To promote the long-term success of your brand, you need to fine-tune and optimize your launch strategy. Even Amazon now asks fresh sellers to prepare for launch with their Launchpad program and checklist for new brands.

A new product launch checklist will help you stay on track by holding you accountable for your goals. You can use it to develop a clear action plan for your release that’ll minimize mistakes, streamline your process, and ensure your launch is poised for success. This new product launch checklist can also guarantee sales before you even have inventory.

Post-release, you can use the list to determine what did and didn’t work well to roll out optimizations and improvements ahead of your next launch.

Your eCommerce new product launch checklist framework

You need to tailor your new product launch checklist to your unique needs to give your launch the best chance of success. At the same time, there are certain eCommerce activities that every pre-launch checklist should include:

  • Target the right channels
  • Build your email list
  • Take pre-orders
  • Leverage scarcity
  • Generate future sales
  • Plan your logistics

Target the right channels

When planning an eCommerce launch, you need to make your campaign (and your brand) visible in the places where your audience spends most of their time. Knowing which channels to target will help you push your launch to the right people.

You can either look at where most of your existing customers come from (if you have existing data) or talk to your target segment to understand more about their online shopping behaviors and interests.

Use a mix of organic and paid channels as well. Organic traffic sources include your personal network, brand partnerships, events, and an unpaid social media strategy.

As for paid avenues, you can make use of paid social media promotion across channels like Google Ads, affiliate marketing, and display advertising.

Determine which channels will maximize visibility and traffic for your release, then craft a launch plan that’s specific to each one. For instance, if your new product is geared toward new homeowners and interior design enthusiasts, organic and paid Pinterest marketing could be a lucrative channel.

If your campaign targets parents-to-be, you may find this segment responds better to Google Ads and partnerships with trusted experts in the parenting niche. Or, if you sell office supplies, showing up at conventions and trade fairs might yield more fruitful results.

As a brand that’s just starting out, don’t underestimate the power of your personal network; it can prove to be a major source of growth.

Your network can spread the word about your launch, demonstrate positive sentiment, and serve as personal recommendations for your campaign. Be explicit in your approach and don’t be afraid to ask your connections to show their support.

Take advantage of your own channels like:

  • Company website
  • Amazon Stories
  • Social Media (TikTok, Instagram, etc.)
  • Networking events

Pick a few you can invest in and maintain over time, as a neglected, inactive channel can hurt sales worse than not having a channel at all.

Build your email list

Earned channels like SEO and marketplace ads are unpredictable. You go head-to-head with competitors, algorithms can change, and the success of your chosen avenue is in the hands of others.

So, having a channel you own (i.e., email marketing) lets you exercise control over the conversations you have with your target audience. As a result, you’ll be able to nurture those relationships to generate more sales.

So, make sure your eCommerce new product launch checklist includes a plan for building your email list before launch. Growing your list will not only enable you to “own” your customers but also give you insight into launch demand. You can then use that information to forecast supply needs and paint a picture of what sales might look like once you go live.

To expand your email list, try these tactics:

  • Host a giveaway for people who sign up for your mailing list.
  • Create a pre-launch landing page that contains your mailing list subscription form.
  • Leverage social media to convert followers into email subscribers.
  • Guest post on relevant publications with a link to your mailing list.
  • Partner with trusted experts and brands in your niche to promote your mailing list.

If you crowdfund your product in any way, that program will help you capture emails. However, even if you don’t, it’s still important to work to build your own audience via an email list. Doing so will foster a strong community of early adopters and customers to champion your launch.

Generate buzz around your product before and during launch

Use social media, online ads, PR campaigns, or other marketing initiatives to build anticipation and maintain excitement about your release. Getting people talking about your product before it goes on sale increases the likelihood of a successful launch.

Social media is a great way to generate interest in your product and drive traffic to your Amazon listing. That often entails:

  • Reaching out to influencers on relevant channels
  • Using initiatives like Amazon Vine
  • Offering products to users in exchange for unbiased reviews and unboxing videos

You can also add to third-party and influencer-generated content with your own promotional streams. For example, maintaining a blog about production and manufacturing or design processes, live streaming the launch, or sharing images of prototypes, mock-ups, and stock arriving can all create hype for your product, as well as build trust in your brand.

Take pre-orders

eCommerce launches are risky, but you can offset some of the risk by accepting pre-orders before you go live. Securing pre-orders locks in sales before you go live and, potentially, before you even order stock.

You can then use the revenue from those sales to fund production, boost your launch marketing efforts, or reinvest them in the business for future releases.

They also build momentum before your launch and generate buzz while allowing you to gauge market demand for your product. You can then forecast product demand and inform production runs based on these early commitments.

A pre-order strategy is also a smart way to leverage quiet periods for your business. For instance, if you know your sales are typically lower during the spring months, you can develop a summer launch campaign that accepts pre-orders in the preceding season.

This will boost your revenue during those commonly slower months while also fostering excitement for a summertime product release.

If you choose to take pre-orders prior to your product release, give yourself plenty of time to build momentum. The typical pre-order timeline takes place between two weeks and two months ahead of going live.

If you open pre-orders too soon, you’ll lose interest, but too late won’t give yourself enough time to gain interest.

An easy way to accept pre-orders is through a third-party platform like Kickstarter. Alternatively, you can set up a pre-order option on your product page, create a specific pre-order landing page, or use your email list to collect customer information for pre-orders.

Amazon even allows you to set up pre-sale and pre-order products: When uploading the product, simply click the More Details tab, then the calendar icon, and make a selection under Release Date.

Be aware though, Amazon won’t allow you to have a release date more than 30 days in advance. You’ll also have to set the amount of stock you can commit to ship on the launch day.

Keep in mind, if you take pre-orders on Amazon and something goes wrong with manufacturing or logistics, it could significantly hurt your Amazon account.

Pre-orders are commonplace in the gaming industry. From consoles to individual games, gamers can be found lining up to secure the latest releases before they launch.

Take Cyberpunk 2077, for example: Ahead of launch, this game secured eight million pre-orders, which equates to approximately $500 million in revenue.

Leverage scarcity

Your items are scarce because you haven’t launched yet, but that can work in your favor. Capitalize on scarcity to build exclusivity for your eCommerce launch, which increases product demand and collects more leads and sales for your launch.

Some of our favorite ways to leverage scarcity for your eCommerce launch are:

  • Making a waiting list:
    A waiting list introduce a sense of exclusivity around your eCommerce launch and gives people an opportunity to be the first to get their hands on your new offering
  • Offering invite-only access:
    This adds a layer of prestige to your pre-launch strategy by generating both FOMO (fear of missing out) and desirability.
  • Creating exclusive launch content for members:
    You can take this chance to reward loyal followers by offering limited-time discounts or promotions or setting a finite number of units available for purchase.
  • Sharing limited early-release product runs:
    Announce you’ll only release a limited number of items at launch, with the rest to follow at a later date. This presents the opportunity to ramp up preorders or collect contact information for the release announcement.
  • Incentivizing early orders:
    Think discounts, exclusive accessories, or unique colors during preorder. For example, you could offer a free gift for the first 100 orders to encourage people to place their orders early and secure the free goodie.

Customers are more likely to buy a product that they feel is in high demand and may not be available for long, so capitalize on this tactic to boost preorders.

Generate future sales

Your pre-launch strategy should focus on collecting contacts as well as sales. However, this only works if you’re using a platform like Kickstarter or your own website. While we’ve already discussed the importance of building an email list into your eCommerce new product launch checklist, it can also benefit future sales.

In your pre-launch strategy, create a sign-up or waitlist landing page for your campaign. You can build one on your website that’s connected to your email marketing platform through a sign-up form.

This will let you collect contact information from people who are interested in your launch offering. As such, these contacts should be both high quality and relevant to your business.

Along with building anticipation leading up to your product going live (see previous point), post-launch, you can tap into the list’s contacts for future marketing and sales activity.

Reengage these contacts to inform them of upcoming launches, gather their feedback, and keep them up to date on new product releases, sales, and other offers.

This lead nurturing will feed into your long-term sales strategy by driving sales and turning them into valued, repeat customers.

Plan your logistics

No new product launch checklist is complete without a well-ironed logistics strategy. For an eCommerce release, you need to know exactly how you plan to hold stock and fulfill orders — otherwise, your campaign will fail at the last hurdle.

Nobody wants to sign up for a pre-launch only to find out it’s over-ordered and they’re unable to get their hands on the goods. Manufacturing and logistics departments need to stay on their toes to react appropriately to supply issues.

An example of logistics planning gone wrong can be seen with Sony’s launch of the PS5 gaming console. In the lead up to its release, Sony ran a large-scale pre-launch campaign. However, they underestimated the market demand and were unable to fulfill pre-orders to schedule.

This logistical nightmare, combined with Sony forgetting to state the pre-order period during their PS5 launch event, had a snowball effect: Stock sold out within seconds, and the company wound up with a backlog of orders that they couldn’t fulfill. (I was only able to score one within a five-minute order window a year after the console was released).

If you fail to plan your fulfillment, you put your entire eCommerce launch at risk. As Sony can attest, overlooking your logistics may result in slow lead times, insufficient inventory to meet consumer demands, and dissatisfied customers.

To combat this, you need to maintain stock meticulously and monitor inventory forecasting and the logistical needs of your pre-launch strategy.

If you plan to sell on Amazon, you can use MyFBAPrep to offload your logistics and gain end-to-end transparency to know exactly how much stock you have for future sales. That’s especially critical on Amazon, where an inability to fulfill orders could cost you your account.

Ensure your product is high quality and well packaged

Implementing 3PL and FBA prep as part of your logistical plan will support an excellent launch. For instance, these assets reduce the number of returns and negative reviews, which hurt your chances of success on Amazon.

Your customers should be happy with the product when they receive it. Often, that means sending your product to a 3PL, then having them package and deliver it for you. If you rely on FBA, you’ll need a prep program capable of these tasks to ensure all your deliveries arrive in top-notch condition.

Preparing your product for launch on Amazon

Before you release your product on Amazon, it’s essential to prepare your listing so potential customers can find your new offering easily and make a purchase. Here are some tips for preparing your Amazon listing for a successful launch.

Ensure all details on your listing are accurate

Inaccurate information can cause confusion and may stop customers from making a purchase. So, clarify critical elements like your product title, description, pricing, and availability. How many units will you have to ship on release day? Does release day mean “arrived at FBA”? Or, does it mean “Ready to ship out via your 3PL”? Nailing down those details before you post your product on Amazon is critical.

Then, double-check all product information on your listing before you launch. Verify details like sizing, color, material, safety, certifications, and other such elements. This will help you avoid potential problems due to a lack of clarity in the listing.

Optimize your product title for high CTR

Your title is one of the first things potential customers see when they find your listing, so it needs to be catchy and attention-grabbing. An enticing title will improve your listing’s visibility and increase your chances of making a sale.

To craft an attractive title that adheres to Amazon title guidelines, be sure to:

  • Include your primary keyword at the start: This helps potential buyers find your listing while searching for your product on Amazon.
  • Grab shopper attention: Use strong (but not overexaggerating) adjectives to describe your product so your listing stands out from the competition.
  • Keep it short and sweet: A long, rambling title is likely to turn off customers, so build a title that’s concise and to the point.

Add Instagram-worthy product photos

The quality of your product images can make or break your success on Amazon; photos affect your click-through rate, conversion rate, sales, and even customer reviews.

They’re also often the first thing potential customers see when they click on your listing, so it’s vital to capture compelling, high-quality pictures.

Your photos should show your product in the best light possible to help convince potential customers to buy. However, high-quality photos usually entail a higher price, so you may have to price your item higher if your pictures are on point.

Basic Amazon guidelines for product images include:

  • The image must be the product’s cover art or a qualified photograph. It’s prohibited to create illustrations or drawings of the product.
  • The image must not include extraneous or unclear objects.
  • The image must have realistic color, smooth edges, and be in focus. It also needs to be professionally lit, scanned, or photographed.
  • The front cover art for music, books, and video/DVD releases should completely fill the image frame. Cellophane, jewelry cases, and advertising stickers aren’t permitted.
  • The product should occupy at least 85% of the image space.
  • The entire product needs to be visible.
  • A white background is required for the main image (i.e., RGB 255, 255, 255).
  • No additional graphics, text, or inset images may be present in the picture.

Choose the right keywords

Keywords are another critical element of your Amazon listing. They help potential customers find your product when searching on the platform, so they’re essential to optimize your Amazon listing.

Consider the terms potential customers might use when looking for a product like yours. Then, include those keywords in your listing title, description, and bullet points. This will improve your visibility on Amazon and increase your chances of making a sale.

You can also look at what your competitors are ranking for to gain an idea of what keywords you should be targeting, or employ Amazon listing tools to speed up your search.

Take advantage of A+ Content

If you’re enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry program, you may be eligible to add A+ Content to your listing. This is one of the most powerful ways to skyrocket your conversion rate and make your listing stand out from the competition. A+ Content gives you access to additional photos, videos, and detailed descriptions.

You can also create an Amazon Brand Story, which allows you to build a human connection with your customers by telling your company story and sharing your brand’s values with consumers. Notably, you can feature these Stories in ads to promote your brand before your product officially launches.

Include simple language in your product description

Your product description is where you push your product to potential buyers. As such, it’s important to use language that’s persuasive and easy to understand. Also, avoid technical jargon or terms that might be confusing to shoppers. This will push people to purchase your product.

Bullet points are a great way to highlight your product’s key features simply. They help potential customers quickly grasp what it has to offer and why they should buy it. When crafting bullet points, make them concise and easy to read. Insert keywords as well to improve your listing’s visibility.

Include a call to action

A call to action (CTA) is the final nudge potential customers need to make a purchase decision. It’s a statement or phrase that urges the reader to take a desired action. You should feature your CTA in the last sentence of your product description, your bullet points (ideally the third one), and in the last image of your gallery images.

Wrapping up — Craft an airtight eCommerce new product launch checklist

A new product launch checklist is your roadmap to growing your brand even before your release. It drives traffic and sales to your eCommerce store while also forging strong relationships between you and your customers.

From choosing which channels to target to constructing an email list and embracing scarcity, you can adapt the included steps to help your launch generate as many contacts and sales as possible.

Refine and optimize your new product launch checklist with each drop to produce a strong strategy that consistently drives success for your store.