Bottom Line July/August 2022June 29th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs
Wading Through Hot New Products
By Colin Wright and Seth Dwyer
We’re known for our service and product selection at St. Louis Best. To maintain our reputation and grow our business, we take a proactive approach to new products, and it works. We’ve been first to market with multiple products, sometimes years before competitors. Here are ten ways to ensure a successful product launch.
1. Make sure you’re an expert on your current product and service offerings before branching out into new ones. This ensures you and your team can take on something new.
2. Pay attention to what’s up-and-coming in the window film industry, so you can try it early and get comfortable with it. The visibility and excitement of a new product rollout are great, but you don’t want to compromise work quality.
3. When looking for new products, start with manufacturers you know and trust. They’re more likely to bring other products that work for you to market, plus you already know what level of training and technical support you’ll receive.
4. Once you’ve identified something new that will elevate your portfolio, talk to the manufacturer. Then find a non-affiliated expert who has experience with how the product performs. You want both in-depth information and unbiased feedback.
5. When the product you’re considering checks out, it’s time for testing. We make this a team effort. We try new things out ourselves as owners, invite our installers to do so and compare notes.
6. Don’t rush the testing phase. Depending on your workflow, it could take months to get ready to bring something to market. We’ve tried some products and still don’t offer them because we’re not convinced they’re the best.
7. Don’t just take someone else’s word on testing. Many products fail because of installation errors. If you don’t know a new product well enough to install it, you can’t evaluate it.
8. Be aware that some brands with great marketing are not-so-great products. If you’re thorough, you won’t learn this the hard way. We’ve found that the best manufacturers put money into research and development instead of marketing.
9. When a new product comes in, we educate ourselves and train on the product extensively. You don’t want a solid product to get a bad rap because of incorrect installation, and you want to protect your name. It’s what customers remember.
10. Officially announce new roll-outs everywhere you can. Post on social media, send emails and pay for ads if you have the budget. Reach out to good customers by phone as well. This is well worth the time and how we work with car dealerships, too. Many in our area once had multiple suppliers, and we’ve become their one-stop-shop.
The Bottom Line
If you’re going to remember one thing about new products, make it this: do your homework. We’re continually educating ourselves, even after being in business for 30 years. For us, it’s not the popular opinion that matters—it’s what works. We stand behind everything we do, and our reputation is built on treating customers with respect and dignity. This uncompromising attitude is what drives our method for launching new products too.
Good luck out there!
Colin Wright and Seth Dwyer, co-owners of St. Louis Best Films and Coatings.
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