Launching a new physical product was always going to be a challenge – even a risk, but launching in a pandemic that never seems to go away – that’s just crazy, right?
But in reality, unless your product relates specifically to an industry which has been particularly hard hit this year (travel, hospitality), it’s possible that this is the best time of all to launch for some very practical reasons.
Although Amazon has been the retail winner of 2020, there have been other shifts in buying patterns. Indie creators (Etsy sales for this quarter are up 128%), ethical brands and businesses founded by people of color have all seen improved visibility and sales. Thoughtful buying choices that might not have crossed people’s minds a year ago are increasingly important.
All of this means that the four core elements of launching a new product have changed – in your favor.
The New Education
The explosion in online education means that the secrets to launching your product on Amazon, running a viral giveaway on Instagram or finding a standout voice for our brand don’t have to be cloaked in mystery (or cost many thousands of dollars) any more.
You can curate your own affordable MBA that meets the precise needs of your product idea, and there is so much choice that you can even seek out educators who connect most with you in terms of values, race, gender identity or faith – those thoughtful buying choices again!
Know Your Niche – And Honor It
Market research remains vital – now more so than ever, as customers look for more niche qualities when they shop.
They want to know what underpinning of diversity or sustainability your product has, they want to support underrepresented business owners and they want to know that they are buying from a person, not a bland franchise. Identifying these dream customers and tailoring your product and messaging to their needs is now not just a personal choice, but a solid business model.
Assemble A Global Team From Your Sofa
Access to creative talent remains as easy as ever (freelancer platform UpWork also reports that revenues are up for 2020), and access to manufacturing in China, for instance, is unhampered (check out Alibaba.com).
Wrapped in a blanket on your sofa, you can hire a graphic designer in Bucharest, a product engineer in Buenos Aires, and order samples from a factory in Guangdong. Juggling this with a full time job too? Hire a VA from from anywhere from Lagos to Laguna Beach to handle your admin.
Nevertheless, She Persisted
Finally, if getting your creation into your favourite stores is your goal, there’s some more good news.
All the trade fairs are cancelled this Spring, and without a nationwide-accessible vaccine, Fall might be a bust too. This means that the big names who can throw tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars at a vast presence at NY NOW now have to rely on virtual launches.
This can really level the playing field for a newbie like you if you are highly persistent with a well-targeted and personal campaign aimed at your dream retailer.
Launching in a pandemic might at first seem impossible, but with persistence and ingenuity, the tools to do it both leanly and effectively are readily available. A sold out Spring launch could still be at your fingertips.