A phased product launch is a progressive roll-out of the new product or feature to the market. Usually, this period is used to iterate on the product and fine-tune it. It is also a good way to work on the scalability of the product with real use cases. Most software companies are launching their product in a phased way.
For example, Facebook features are always piloted to a limited audience before the extended push. Here an example of Facebook piloting page searches and Apple’s ‘Live Photos’.
Let’s look at some key benefits of going for a phased product launch.
Test & improve
You have been testing your product with the engineering team in house. You have identify and solve key bugs. But nothing is like “real-world customers”. There are always use cases you have not thought about. Customers probably make a different use of the product than the one you have imagined. For all these reasons, having first customers helping you identify the improvements of your product is key. Phased launch allows you to limit the number of users and focus on them to improve the product for the wider mass.
Scale as you go
Launching a product is not only about having the product ready. You need all teams to be able to support it. Customer service, IT, Sales, etc. The more complex your product, the structure of your operations, the longer it takes to get the organization aligned. If you have a wide community of users, a Big-Bang approach might result in an unsatisfactory customer experience. That is why phased launch allows us to progressively ramp up knowledge of the product, the teams, and fine-tune the flows and processes for maximized customer experience.
Build a community of evangelists
By allowing some users/customers to be among the first users, you create a sort of privilege. The product is not available to everyone but it is to them. If you have built sufficient connection, they’ll value this and provide additional qualitative feedback, but also be your first endorsers and evangelists in the community.
Start marketing early
Waiting for the product to be fully ready to make a Big-Bang launch also means waiting for this moment to start marketing & communications. Phased product launch allows you to start making the buzz earlier and give the perception of being the first mover in some cases. That can make a strong difference in a fast-moving market.
Your product is supposed to deliver value and benefits to its users. You can identify them, claim them but still, the best proof, comes from real users and facts. Going for a phased product launch allow you to have real customer and real data. For example, if your product allow to simplify the time spent on a certain task, you can now use a real customer case to compare before and after. The same goes for technical proof points. The first customer testimonials will help you increase the chances of success when going for a wider audience.
As you could figure out, there are many good reasons to phase a product launch. That is particularly true when your geographical scope is wide. Among the various ways to phase the roll-out, some might be more relevant than others for you. I cover that in another article.
I hope you found this article valuable and useful. Feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments area. Let’s stay in touch.