Launching a Product in a New Market: How to Prepare
When you’re tasked with launching an existing product into a new market, it can be easy to overlook some vital detail. There are a lot of aspects that you need to cover before you start thinking about a launch strategy.
Your product and how you market it may be performing perfectly well in your local market, but you’re going to have to make some adaptations for it to be a success in a new global market.
You need to carefully think through every aspect, from concept to delivery, and you need to plan meticulously every step of the way.
Do you know about buyer behaviour in the new market?
Do you know how users may interact with your product differently there?
Understanding the local culture and how people interact with products like yours, really matters.
Then you need to understand the competitive landscape. You need as much insight as possible.
Here we will explore each of these elements in more detail to help you prepare for a successful product launch in each new market that you’re targeting and show you how to spot new opportunities that you may not have previously uncovered.
The definition of ‘product’ has changed
In the digital marketplace a product could be anything from a single piece of software to a complex app. The definition of ‘product’ is constantly expanding.
With expansion comes opportunity. Opportunity to reach new customers in new ways in new markets. To make the most of this opportunity though, it’s vital to recognise that just making small changes, such as updating the language in your marketing material, won’t be enough. Nor will simply making your product accessible in different languages. Although that will be part of it.
We mentioned culture. People in every culture buy and behave differently online.
Product localisation starts with gaining a thorough understanding of the new market so that you can understand exactly what you need to do to make your product a success there.
What is product localisation?
Product localisation is the process of adapting your product for global markets.
A good product localisation strategy will make it much easier for you to transfer your product into new markets. When done right, you will increase customer satisfaction, attract and retain more users, and access new opportunities for business growth.
Adapting a product for a new market
The task is to make your product accessible and in-demand by adapting it to reflect the language, cultural, and UX needs of customers in the new market.
This could involve a range of extensive amendments to the product and how you promote and deliver it, or you may just need to make some simple tweaks.
Generally, this will depend on how vast the cultural differences are between your primary market and the new market. For example, a Silicon Valley tech firm will likely have to make less changes for the UK market than for a market in the Far East.
Changes you may need to make could include:
- Changing the language options on your website and getting a local URL
- A whole new website and online customer journey
- Product modifications: changing features, withdrawing features, or adding new features
- Changing the content within your documentation
- Changing design, from using new colours to creating a whole new brand
- Creating new marketing channels
- Creating new social media accounts dedicated to the new market
The list could go on. Take the time to review each aspect of your product and your communication strategy.
The ultimate goal is to help your new customers interact with your product easily whilst giving them the experience that they want. Make it feel familiar to them whilst giving them something new.
Researching a new market
Any good product localisation strategy starts with solid research.
As a product owner, you will likely know your home market inside out, but international markets can be very different. We’re immersed in our own cultures daily which doesn’t make it easy to imagine what user interaction and buyer behaviour can be like across the world.
You need to get real insight into each new market. To understand users, each type of customer you want to attract, their behaviours across the board, your competitors, and their products.
The importance of UX research
Without comprehensive research you run the risk of an unsuccessful product launch, which could be difficult to recover from. You could also miss out on a lot of new opportunity that you’ve failed to uncover – an additional benefit of good research.
Related article: A Beginners Guide To UX Research
Top tip: create a user persona
All users are different and it’s impossible to create a product that’s perfect for everyone in every way. That’s why it’s a great idea to build up a picture of what your typical user in the new market will be like. Then you can start planning how you’re going to meet their needs when it comes to your product localisation.
You should focus part of your research on identifying these needs. Find out what motivates people in the new market, how they operate, and what they want.
Learn more: The importance of creating UX user personas
Finding opportunities in new markets
Research leads to new opportunities to innovate and differentiate your product in your target markets. Going through the research process, as we’re outlining here, will present you with these opportunities. It will help you get ahead of the competition and wow your new customers in each new market.
At UX247, a customer recently asked us to provide discovery research in India about e-commerce behaviours. The customer has an e-commerce platform with a payment gateway and they wanted to know how payments work in India. This would allow them to develop their system appropriately.
As a result of this research, we were able to uncover a range of behaviours that the client would have been unaware of without the research. This led to them making all the required product changes whilst giving them access to new ideas and opportunities to improve their offering.
Product localisation à go-to-market strategy
To transition from a well-executed product localisation process to a successful go-to-market strategy you need:
- Clearly defined customers
- Reliable competitor insight
- To identify market innovation opportunities
You need to understand each of these aspects by obtaining expert insight about each market, your customers, and your competitors.
Here’s an insight into a framework that we use at UX247 to do this for our clients.
Clearly defined customers
- Who are we targeting for our product?
- What are their attributes and how do they differ to our home market?
- What are their behaviours?
Reliable competitor insight
- What have your competitors done for this market?
- What can we learn from them?
- Are there local competitors we are not aware of?
Market innovation opportunities
- Do we understand local market behaviour and what that means for our product?
- What are the innovation opportunities for our product to help it compete here?
- Can opportunities in this market help our product compete elsewhere?
The overarching purpose of going through this process is to help you understand the overall opportunity in the new market, and how you need to change your product and your approach accordingly.
How well you carry out this initial phase will directly impact the performance of your product in each market, and how quickly and successfully you can accelerate your growth worldwide.
Why all of this is so important
Why this is so important is simple – it leads to success.
Basing product changes and your go-to-market strategy on knowledge and real-world facts is far more effective than basing it on simple presumptions, or what’s currently working in your primary market. Yet so many businesses fail to take all, if any, of these steps to success.
Simple language translation won’t cut it in the majority of circumstances, you need to look deeper to make your product relevant for the new market and to communicate to your new audience effectively. Of course, doing the right things well will also give you an edge on both local and international competitors.
Avoid unnecessary errors and access new opportunity at the same time by going through the correct preparation processes.
Innovative. Differentiate. Repeat for every market that you want to enter.
It all starts with research
At UX247 we provide UX research services so that we can take a lot of this work off your hands. Get expert insight on new markets, customers, and competitors from us, whilst you stay focused on the wider global expansion strategy.
If you are considering launching your product in a new market and need help understanding the local needs and behaviours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.