Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for dietary supplements has skyrocketed mainly due to increased concerns regarding health and wellbeing. This has created a great opportunity for new and current supplement brands to launch new and innovative dietary supplements. However, businesses should keep in mind that launching a new product on the market can be a nerve-wracking and complex process if not handled properly.
To help you navigate through your supplement launch, we have put together a guide on things you need to know to successfully launch your new product.
1. Pre-launch Plan
One of the most important aspects of a successful product launch comes down to making the right calls and choices ahead of time. A pre-launch plan provides you with an easy and detailed way to evaluate and assess every step of the launch before it even begins. This is especially important because once you start the launch process, it can quickly become overwhelming, especially without the right processes in place. Your pre-launch plan should cover the following:
- Research and Branding: Do thorough research on the supplement you intend to produce, the current status of the market, and your competition. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of the product landscape.
- Ingredients, Manufacturing, and Packaging: Decide on the ingredients and packaging material you are going to make use of and whether or not you will out-source a contract manufacturer. Ask yourself: Do I have the necessary infrastructure and technology to manufacture this product? Do I have the certifications I need to bring this product to life? If not, you may need to do some research on a supplement manufacturer who has the capabilities to make your product a reality. To find the right contract manufacturer, we recommend checking out our article on 7 Questions You Should Ask a Contract Manufacturer.
- E-commerce/Website: Evaluate which platform you plan to sell your products on. Make sure to check whether your website has all the right tools to promote your product and connect with customers.
- Fulfillment & Support: Decide which fulfillment options you will utilize for your products. Will you be making use of Amazon FBA? Dropshipping? There are pros and cons to any fulfillment channel you use so make sure to pick the best one for your company.
2. eCommerce Website & Fulfillment
Due to the pandemic, there has been an upsurge in the number of consumers who are buying supplements online. In fact, in the United States alone, the percentage of online sales rose by 14%. Because of this, many brands are turning to eCommerce websites and fulfillment centers to deliver their products. If you don’t already have an eCommerce website, consider this your digital storefront to market your brand and provide your customers with unique and convenient experiences. Take time to think about deep diving into the ingredients in each product being sold, some up-to-date brand initiatives, the background of your company, and more.
The fastest solution to building your eCommerce website is through Amazon or Shopify. Oftentimes, brands choose to sell through both platforms, as they can be conveniently interlinked. If you want to explore that in more detail, Shopify takes a deep dive into Amazon’s selling strategy. Both platforms offer a simple and easy way to sell your products and connect with your potential and current customers. Amazon is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the supplement industry. With a strong customer base, brands will be able to lower operational costs and reach millions of shoppers with just one click. Shopify, on the other hand, is a great platform that provides a complete eCommerce experience. It allows you to seamlessly manage your orders, shipments, payments, and customer insights all in one place.
3. Marketing Plan
Creating a detailed marketing plan is key to ensuring the success of your product launch. Your marketing plan must outline who your target market is, your business goals, which social media platforms you will utilize, and your plans for retargeting and lead generation. This is important because, without a proper marketing plan, you may be losing money without you even knowing. Many things can go wrong if you don’t know who you are targeting, what message will resonate, or which platforms to use. Having a proper marketing strategy will give you the opportunity to see which areas you should be spending your marketing/advertising dollars on. Not only that but it will also allow you to evaluate how you can effectively reach your target audience.
When you pinpoint your target audience, make sure to assess the different types of social media platforms and how effective they are to your target audience. Once you understand the variety of audiences each platform caters to, it will be easy to choose the most appropriate channel for you. Facebook, for example, tends to have an older active audience which makes it a good place to promote individuals aged 25-49. Tiktok and Instagram, on the other hand, have a younger audience ranging from ages 18-29. If you are looking at a more B2B angle, LinkedIn would be the best platform for you. Additionally, it is best to outline your retargeting campaigns and lead generation campaigns, which can help you retain and redirect current and potential customers to your brand.
4. Launch Strategies
After you’ve determined the first three steps, the next step will be putting your launch strategies into action. As you put your plan into action, it is important to set clear goals and define success based on your objectives: target sales, leads, conversions, brand awareness, signups, etc. When you’ve defined success based on your goals, it will be easy to monitor and judge the effectiveness of your campaign. Additionally, it is important to build engagement for your product ahead of time. This can be done by garnering consumer interest via social media platforms, newsletters, and press releases. During this phase, it is also a good idea for brands to leverage influencer marketing and paid ad campaigns, which can attract and engage a wider variety of consumers.
Once your plan is set into place, make sure to constantly conduct customer and market research via A/B testing. In doing so, you will be able to see which campaigns perform better at capturing the attention of consumers. Not only that but it is also crucial to continuously collect and analyze customer feedback to gain a better understanding of how your product is doing compared to those of your competition.
5. Product Liability Insurance
As much as we love thinking of all of the upsides to operating a consumable product’s business, it comes a relative level of risk and potential downside. To ensure that you protect your business and those dependent on it, it is important to consider acquiring product liability insurance. Product liability insurance is a special type of insurance that covers compensation claims in case an individual or property is injured or damaged as the result of a product you have sold. To acquire this type of insurance, you need to contact an insurance company or insurance broker and go over the fine details with an agent. In the world of supplements, product liability insurance is essential in ensuring the safety of both your brand and your customers.
Beyond that, acquiring the proper insurance will increase the protection of your business from lawsuits and negligence claims. Legal defense costs are a part of this insurance and are often overlooked; however, it is good to have and can even be a more important aspect of the insurance itself. Companies that do not acquire product liability insurance can be subject to large fees and expenses if anything were to happen to an individual consuming the product.
Even if you have properly planned your launch, one of the main obstacles smaller businesses encounter is the funding of the launch. As mentioned earlier, a product launch comprises many factors and as a result, is quite an expensive process. However, do not worry. If you don’t have the ability to cover all the costs associated with your product launch on your own, the National Institute of Health can provide grants and funds for dietary supplements based on certain guidelines. Each opportunity offered by the National Institute of Health has different application considerations, deadlines, requirements, budget limits, and application procedures. Brands should make sure to evaluate the types of funding and grants available to make the best decision for their company.
For example, the PA-20-227 “Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements” grant offers funds for the investigation and development of dietary supplements even in the context of private brands and companies. Interested parties should take a detailed look at the document to see if their product is eligible and then contact the government through the form provided. Profit organizations and foreign organizations are also eligible to apply. As such, this is a great funding opportunity for most manufacturers.
7. Stability Testing
When it comes to supplements, brands must act by a strict quality control process to effectively deliver high-quality products that are safe for consumption. Stability testing, also called shelf-life stability testing, attests to the fact that the supplement in question meets the supplement facts requirements as well as confirms the integrity and effects of a supplement after a given period. In this process, the effects, composition, taste, smell, and active ingredients are tested in a given period to ensure that the supplement stays compliant and effective during the entirety of its claimed shelf-life. Stability testing is deeply tied with time, but it also takes into consideration the pH levels, oxidization, water activity, metallic ions, and other environmental factors that can affect a product and its composition.
8. Proposition 65
Proposition 65, also known as “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986,” is a law in California that mandates that all food, water, supplements, and other consumable products should exhibit warnings about potential cancer and birth defects if the product causes exposure to certain substances, even at very low levels. Although most of these consumer products may not present any actual risk to consumers, the OEHHA requires a warning to be in place if any ingredient in a product is present on this list. Some of the common items to test for when selling dietary supplements in California are heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. This will allow consumers to make better-informed decisions about the products they are looking to purchase and provide a sense of safety and transparency within the market.
Launching a product may seem daunting at first. However, if brands are able to properly plan and prepare their product launch, the actual launch can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Each of the steps outlined above is essential to the success of your product launch. Brands that can partner with a trusted dietary supplement contract manufacturer will be able to reap the benefits without having to worry about all the technical details.
Paragon Laboratories has the ability to bring your product launch to life, being triple GMP Certified, organic certified, and in business since 1971. We will be with you at every step of the journey so that you can focus on the growth and success of your business. Contact us for more information today.