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My eCommerce Product Launch Strategy That Made $60,000 in a Day

My eCommerce Product Launch Strategy That Made $60,000 in a Day
But first, I had to lose $20k

How I Lost $20k

I've been in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) eCommerce space since 2016. My first brand, STNGR, was started out of my bedroom while I was a Junior in High School. I can still hear the eBay app *cha-ching* with that first $188.73 sale.

While that company has grown into a steady mid-7 figure brand, it didn't get there without its share of problems. The main struggle being around product launches.

When it came to releasing new products, one of the first things we tried was Indiegogo (similar to kickstarter). I'd heard crowdfunding heralded as the ultimate platform for testing demand and launching products.

The concept made sense... on paper. But more on that later.

So with an unbounding sense of optimism, I prepared for the Indiegogo launch.

And that's where things took a turn.

See, the prevailing crowdfunding launch strategy is to build your audience ahead of time, then launch, hit your goal in a few minutes and then hopefully gain some traction on the platform (Indiegogo in my case).

So dutifully, I built my audience ahead of time by running Facebook ads. $15,000 worth to be exact. But I was optimistic, remember?

Launch day came, I nervously pressed send on all the emails I'd prepared the night before. And guess what happened?

That's right, we got sales!

Things went well for about 10 minutes until everyone who wanted to buy, bought. Then crickets.

At the end of the day, we'd only raised $8,000. Well short of our "easy goal" and well well short of my optimistic projections of a $100k launch.  

I did what I could to salvage the launch, but alas it was like trying to use a bucket to scoop water out of the titanic.

The project failed and all the customers were refunded their money.

Total Loss (Facebook ads, camera equipment, prototype development, etc...): $20k+

So much for a "de-risked" product launch.

The Turning Point

While losing $20k+ wasn't fun, it was also not a mortal blow. So within a few months,  I was back and looking to launch another product.

However, this time I wanted to follow a different strategy.

It's honestly such a crazy, never-before-seen strategy that only the most enlightened would have been able to come up with it *this is sarcasm*.

That strategy? Talk to our customers BEFORE launching a product.

But there was only 1 problem, like a good Gen-Z, I had no desire or dare I say physical ability to call someone.

But where there's a will, there's a way. And while my name's not Will, I did find a way.

Cue the humble Post Purchase Survey.

What I did was add a simple survey that showed up on my Shopify store thank you page. All it asked was: "What product would you like to see us make next?" with a list of product options and then an "other" free response category.

I also had a follow up question that asked: "What would make this a no-brainer purchase for you?"

After letting the survey run for a while, I was blown away by the insights. A clear winner emerged and customers were even telling me what specs, price, materials, etc... i'd need for them to buy it.

So I did just that.

First, I worked with a 3D designer to come up with some design directions.

Using the respondents from my Post Purchase Survey, I created a custom audience in Klaviyo and sent them to a free Google Form. The form had a poll with the renders I'd created.

And boom! A winner emerged.

As we developed the product, we'd continually email our survey response segment to keep them updated and ask for more feedback.

When we had prototypes ready, we sent them out to a few of our customers who were the most engaged and excited. They were thrilled and talked to everyone they could about it.

Then, it was time to launch.

How I Made $60k in a Day

I woke on launch day the same way I always do - by opening my eyes.

After heading into the office, firing up my Macbook *insert flex here* and loading up Klaviyo, my fingers were hovering over the the "Send email" button.

At 9:00 am, I pressed the send button and sat back to rest and watched the sun rise on a grateful universe... But not actually. I was terrified.

At first, nothing happened. I refreshed shopify but still nothing.

Then the first sale came in. And the second one almost immediately after it. Then the third and the fourth.

It was go time.

10 minutes in, and things were only picking up.

Every time I refreshed and whole new batch of orders had come in. Our shipping team couldn't print labels fast enough.

We'd bought 800 units thinking that would last us a few months. But we were wrong.

Within in 3 days, we'd sold out completely.

Sales that first day were over $60,000. A new all time sales record.

It was a far cry from the Indiegogo product launch a few months prior.

The difference was all in the strategy.

Key Takeaways

Who would have thought that talking to your customers, building what they wanted and then involving them in the development process would lead to a successful product launch?

Well actually, probably anybody with a properly functioning prefrontal cortex. But I digress...

The concept of "talking to customers" is always made to seem like you have to physically hop on a phone call or talk to them in person.

While this is a completely valid strategy which does work, there are other equally valid ways to conduct market research as well.

I'm a big fan of automating things.

So if I can setup a survey once and conduct customer research on autopilot.

I'm going to do that all day, every day.

If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on twitter or shoot me an email. Happy to discuss anything related to business :)

Also, if you want to use the survey solution we used to figure out what product our customers wanted us to make, check out my Shopify App Easy Post Purchase Surveys.