9 Ways to Soft Launch Your Online Business Right Now

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Soft launching a business is a time-honoured tradition in physical locations like Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, and Beijing. What many companies may not know is you can perform the same general function for your online business as well. With so many brands moving to ecommerce and digital operations, it makes sense to introduce your business in a way that captivates as much of your target audience as possible. The more you fine-tune your business model, the better you’ll find success. This logic applies to small business owners just as much as international brands. Let’s review how you can soft launch an online business to gain more market share and streamline operations.

What is a “Soft Launch” and Why Does it Matter?

The entire premise behind a soft launch is to begin normal operations while using critical feedback from early adopters and your internal team members to improve your online presence.

When you launch a new online business or launch an ecommerce brand, you tend to think about massive omnichannel marketing campaigns. In a soft launch, you are flying a little more under the digital radar.

Compare the idea to soft launching a new casino in Las Vegas. Potential customers are invited to explore your online presence, maybe offered a few promotions, and then encouraged to give feedback for your improvement.

By the end of your soft launch, you should have ironed out all the little bugs or defects of your website, online profiles, inventory management system, and CRM so that when you go into full production, you are as optimised as possible.

Top Ways to Soft Launch Your New Online Business

Like most aspects of running a business, there is no 100% surefire method to soft launch an online brand. Stay fluid and learn to blend any of the tips we’ve provided here, and you’re bound to find an engaging strategy for improving your storefront.

#1 – Host a Virtual Party 

Many physical companies rely on product launch parties where select potential customers, business partners, and stakeholders are wined and dined as they explore the aspects of the items.

You can do the exact same thing virtually. Using virtual meeting tools, you can provide early access to your ecommerce storefront, brand, and website.

As you share in the new success of your business, invite viewers to comment on what they see. Make it a safe space for people to suggest improvements.

#2 – Offer an Initial Purchase Gift

Want a guaranteed way to boost sales during your soft launch? Offer an exclusive gift only available during that designated period.

Not only will this kind gesture endure you to any early adopters, but it will give you a chance to improve your supply chain and shipping methods so when you need to scale later, they are ready to go.

As a small suggestion, the more you can personalise this gift, the better! This is an excellent way to improve brand loyalty from the beginning of your operations.

    #3 – Give Promotions to First-Time Shoppers

    You can attract more potential customers from a target audience with exclusive promotions aligned with your soft launch.

    Unlike a special gift, this should be wrapped into a feedback form. The goal here is to gain insight into what you need to improve while getting a minor discount in potential revenue.

    Think of it like paying for advice from the exact shoppers you want to attract down the road.

    #4 – Create Exclusive Access to Early Adopters

    FOMO is a powerful tool for successful online business owners. This is the “Fear of Missing Out.”

    If you have a new online brand offering exclusive access to new product designs hyped up on social media, people will climb over each other to be included.

    While this is a short-term strategy, it can be transformed into something repeatable any time you have a new product, feature, or promotion.

    Play your cards right, and you could create some form of members program or affiliate strategy around these early adopters. This is also perfect for testing your email marketing campaign and sales funnel.

    #5 – Do Timed Product Drops

    Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and “toys of the season” always use this strategy. Timed product drops allow you to build anticipation about your brand.

    You integrate this strategy into your soft launch by including only certain items during a virtual party or holding future products until your “official” opening day.

    #6 – Invite People Behind the Scenes

    While you’re soft launching your new online business, think about pulling back the virtual curtain a little. Let potential customers know how you operate so they feel more invested in your brand.

    There are many benefits to this strategy, the top of which is to give them more context. You want as much quality feedback as possible, and providing context or reasons behind choices allows your target audience to be more specific.

    #7 – Partner with a Local Charity

    You can launch an ecommerce brand or other form of online business by aligning with a local charity.

    Look for nonprofits and NFPs that reflect the values and philosophies of your brand.

    The point of this collaboration is to allow you to set the tone with your customers. You are immediately conjuring specific values by expressing how a portion of your earnings or shared marketing will improve the charity.

    Think about it like this: if two companies launch on the same date, but one of them is affiliated with a cause you care about, which would you choose?

    #8 – Get Support from Social Media Influencers

    Collaborating with influencers will help clarify the duration and point of your soft launch with your target audience.

    Much like the charity strategy, you get to align your new online business with the overall theme and presence of these influencers. When you do launch, you can send a quick reminder to their audience as they are already primed and ready to engage.

    #9 – Collaborate with Other Brands

    How many times have you seen a “coming soon” feature on certain product improvements for an online business?

    An excellent example is a pet brand with organic food suppliers coming online in a month or a toy brand that has a brand-new option for sale around the holidays – based on a complimentary toy (Lego Batman, Harry Potter video game, etc.).

    You can do the same thing by building interest in your online storefront so visitors start hitting your site and profiles by first collaborating with brands you may carry. If you are a full partner, there may be cross-promotion opportunities as well.

    Wrapping Up

    The key to running a successful online business is preparedness and automation. As you align all the digital stars for a soft launch, consider looking closely at your backend services. A fantastic way to improve is to automate shipping, accounting, marketing, and other crucial functions.

    For example, our WooCommerce MYOB AccountRight plugin allows for automatic invoicing, tax calculations, real-time synchronisation, and improved returns. Having such a tool ready to go on your soft launch ensures you can fine-tune any aspect of your online store long before the big day arrives. Other benefits include:

    • Advanced stock and inventory management.
    • Seamless handling of WooCommerce order data.
    • Comprehensive customer data recording in MYOB.
    • Streamlined returns and refund processing.
    • In-depth sales analytics and reporting tools.
    • Top-tier encryption for enhanced data security.
    • One-click product sync between platforms.
    • Cloud-based infrastructure for universal access.

    Download our plugin today and give your team a powerful tool for starting your online business journey.

    FAQs

    How can I promote my ecommerce business? 

    A soft launch allows you to test out a product, service, or online business before you “go live” with a broader audience.

    What are examples of soft launching?

    A Las Vegas casino is an excellent example. Customers are allowed to experience what the casino offers and then give feedback on what should be improved before opening their doors to a more extensive customer base.

    How to do a soft launch of a website?

    Once your online store’s website is ready, ask a small (handpicked) control group to explore it. Then, allow them to provide feedback on what they liked, didn’t like, and what they would want changed.

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