Step by Step Account from a seller selling from his seller account for a new product launch
Yes, recently we did achieve this feat for a Rs.1000 product on ecommerce market places. Selling 7500 units in 100 days and reaching 125 units per day mark. Having a digital marketing agency of our own also helps ;). But first let me take you 14 years back.
It all started with Longans
It was year 2007. I was taking care of imported fruits category with India’s now top retailer. That time though it had only limited stores. The buyer team was supposed to work closely with us to order products & quantities that we could sell. One of the buy team members was pretty affectionate towards a Thai fruit called Longan. If many of you still wonder what Longan is OR are able to recall when you first heard of Longan OR when you first had Longan – you can guess the popularity (or the lack of it) of it in 2007. It is fruit somewhat similar to Indian Litchi, though a tad smaller & faded brown unappealing color.
While Apple Fuji sold at Rs.60 a kg that time, Longan’s price range was around Rs.70-80 per kg. if it came by the ship. It was difficult to sell it even at that price.
So this gentleman, without consulting the category, FLEW in 10 tonnes of Longans just because he thought that ship wastes time & it affects the quality of Longans. He thought if people will eat it fresher, they will eat more of it.
Now we had to sell Longans in India at Rs.120/kg that we were not able to sell at Rs.70/kg in 2007.
Nonetheless, as the damage was done (don’t ask what his rating was that year) – we setup upon ourselves to sell Longans through the retail stores.
Longans Longans everywhere
We identified top 50 stores that could sell it – across 4 regions – Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai. The stores had to sell on an average 200kgs each in 2 weeks’ time.
Almost overnight, we created displays (read visibility) – we had to fight a lot with other categories for that space. We had to change the plannograms to make it more visible. We created offers on checkouts. Got the scripts ready for cashiers to speak it out at time of checkout. In few stores we even created tables to sample & sell. We created offers to entice the customers to buy it.
What we did manage to do was to clear off all the Longans in the stipulated time of 15 days (a day here or there) and managed to cut losses. That guys told us – didn’t I tell you Longans can sell in India.
We were just short of killing him – that story is for some other day.
What a find
I moved out of corporate world. Start on my own & now we are sellers on ecommerce platforms. Life is good.
There is little option with sellers on Amazon – they can check what keyword is being searched most – they don’t get the numbers – just which is getting searched more. So as is obvious, keywords like ‘laptops’, ‘mobile’, ‘jeans’ etc find themselves with top 20 most searched items, usually.
While exploring this option last year, we noticed a pretty random product appearing as the 7th most searched term. We were pleasantly surprised. The item was priced around Rs.1000 and definitely not something we would have thought on our own.
So, we decided we would consider its introduction in our product portfolio.
Pre introduction check
Now we had to do certain checks. Online, it is easy. We hit upon the competition products like crazy – ordered quite a few of them, read all the reviews, read all the Q&A, checked possible sore points for customers.
We had the products used by us & found the product to be very convenient for what it was meant for.
We also saw average rating of 4.2 or more across the variants & sellers, and cumulative ratings of over 22k-25k across all the products offered.
There was an opportunity. Then we checked the speed – the best way to measure is delta of number of ratings. It was awesome for us to now take a decision to launch it. In a nutshell, we researched on all digital & online marketing platforms about the product.
Wouldn’t touch more on it but just that we developed a product, kept our service team ready for what it was and how the queries needed to be handle.
Remember VISIBILITY & VELOCITY – I WILL USE IT QUITE OFTEN
Any product launch on ecommerce portals needs proper visibility & a good velocity to generate sales.
For visibility we need following:
- Good listing – including A+ content
- Products spread out across India & available consistently
- Marketing spends – to display our product in front of searching customers
For velocity we need following
- Marketing spends – to generate sales of the eye balls we generate
- Speed of reviews – It is very important that you create an environment for the customer to leave you a review – and that too positive ones. If reviews don’t come, the sales slows down & vice versa
STEPS WE FOLLOWED
We had samples ready with us. Then we got the listings ready.
1. Features Tell, Stories Sell – VISIBILITY
- In listings, whether we prepared images for listing, or A+ content images – we focused on the usage, how it will make life simple & how simple & easy it is to maintain. We were little different than the competition.
- We shot & reshot the product – we shot with usage, we shot without usage, we shot in many conditions, we made videos. We kept on doing till we were reasonably satisfied – having an in-house photographer helped to go eccentric about it.
- It has been 3 months, we do a lot of research and have lots of ideas available to us – we keep on changing and checking what is working best.
2. SAMPLING –VISIBILITY & VELOCITY
- Our samples were ready to use – we made stock available only as much as we had the samples for. As the listing was newly made in January 2021, organically it showed far-far behind in searches. So we reached out to our very close near & dear ones, shared our product links with them and requested them to buy our product from the ecommerce portals – Amazon & Flipkart
- Once they received, our customer service team helped them out with using it. They answered even the smallest of the queries.
- After working with them for about a week (even though it is a very simple easy to use product) – our teams requested for a review.
- All this also helped us strengthen our responses to possible customer queries we would be getting
- Though we didn’t achieve any velocity here – but we did kind of started our car.
3. LAUNCH STRATEGY – VISIBILITY & VELOCITY
Now came the moment of truth – our first consignment of around 7500 pieces came to our warehouses on March 04, 2021 across 2 different SKUs
IT WAS LONGAN TIME AGAIN – we would have wished to start with smaller number but we couldn’t choose the minimum order quantity for many reasons.
Were we anxious – yes! Were we confident – yes, even more.
We launched on Amazon first as a platform as we did not want to spread out and thin out our efforts in the start.
Our Launch Strategy
- Pricing – we kept the pricing at sub 1000. We were not at a loss, but it meant that we would end up investing in marketing from our pockets. This pricing kept us at around 5-10% premium of the lowest selling product in the category
- Spread out our product to various states where Amazon had warehouses
- Spends on Amazon – we bet heavily on the platform itself under various categories of ads spend – sponsored brands, sponsored products, competition targeting & video ads (newly launched)
- Spends on Facebook/Insta – we ensured that we brought traffic from outside Amazon also.
- Spends on Google – yes – we did not even leave this as an option – we used all kind of keyword combination possible to divert traffic to our amazon product pages.
4. MARKETING WAR CHEST – VISIBILITY & VELOCITY
- We spent close to Rs.1 lac in the first month.
- In 3 months, the spending has been close to Rs.2lacs – across Amazon, Flipkart, Facebook/Insta & Google
- Mostly spends have happened on Amazon – around 80% as Flipkart launch coincided with lockdown so we had to go slow.
- Reaching page 1 of organic search results on Amazon in 8 days time for couple of critical keywords
- 300+ ratings of 4.2+ already on Amazon in 3 months – Screen shot for 1 SKU given below:
- 300+ ratings of 4.5+ already on Flipkart in 3 months – Screen shot for 1 SKU given below:
- 1cr + impressions of our products generated on both portals resulting in 6300 units sales.
- Nearly 6300 pieces sold in 3 months –
- this was despite lockdowns in most places from mid April onwards & there were just too many restrictions on places from where we could send material & locations that were able to see our products due to lockdown in those pin codes.
- We were able to raise prices by 5% before the 1st month as soon as we hit 100 units sales in 1 day for the first time.
- Price increase meant that sales slowed down for some time but this was a pre-thought strategy.
- We were able to raise prices by another 5% in another month.
- We are at 125-130 units per day sales run rate daily – both platforms put together.
- Despite lockdown, we will be able to sell 7500 units before June 15 which is within 100 days of product launch.
- Our next target for next 7500 units is 50 days – we ultimately wish to bring it down to 30 days i.e. 250 units per day.
AMAZON BUSINESS REPORT
4810 units sold in less than 3 months
AMAZON CAMPAIGNS REPORT
6.2 million impressions – Rs.1.7 lacs spends – Rs.26.5 lacs sales. Apart from this we had spends on Flipkart, Google & Facebook/Insta
FLIPKART BUSINESS REPORT
1.2 mn impressions – 1450+ units sold in 1.5 months (we started later on Flipkart as per plan) – at an average selling price of around Rs.1070.
FUTURE COURSE OF DIRECTION
- To move from an average of 75 units per day to 150 units and then to 250 units per day average will be another story that I will share
- We will use newer strategies – will share gradually as and when we do
Hope you enjoyed reading this piece.
If you were not able to guess the product – I will give you 2 hints
- It was not longans
- Connect with me to know