Consumer

Consumer launch check-list?

Anonymous

April 3rd, 2013

Hi all,  

I'm trying to compile a checklist for a (closed beta) launch of our e-commerce startup. Some are more obvious -- e.g., google analytics, accounting software, etc. but even "obvious" is subjective. Want to make sure I'm not missing something; any suggestions on what should be part of that list? I'm happy to compile responses and have it serve as a resource for future startups launching consumer products.  

Thanks so much, Christina

Nick Baum Founder of StoryWorth

April 3rd, 2013

Having just launched StoryWorth (www.storyworth.com) today, and having done many consumer launches at Google, here's a non-exhaustive list:
  • Functional testing: does everything work? Test everything end-to-end the night before launch.
  • Cross-browser testing: does it work on all the platforms you want to support? IE8? iOS?
  • Copy: have you polished all the text on your site? Are there any parts that still bug you? Now is the time to fix them.
  • Customer support: Do people have a way to contact you? Do you have an FAQ? Olark, Desk.com, etc
  • Analytics: How are you going to measure the launch? Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Intercom, etc
  • Monitoring: Are you collecting logs? Do you get notifications for exceptions? How do you know if something is going wrong?
  • Legal: do you have a TOS and Privacy Policy
For a public launch, add:
  • Load testing: how does my site handle a spike in traffic? Can you scale capacity?
  • Social: do you have a Twitter account and Facebook page? Do they have nice logos and header images? What are you going to post on launch day? Do you want tweet or like buttons?
  • Blog: do you want one? Are you committed to maintaining it? What will you post on launch day?
  • Messaging: what's your one line description? what are the worst questions someone could ask?
  • PR: contacts at press, ready-to-send launch email, assets (highres logo, screenshots)
  • Amplification: identify Twitter followers with a large audience, prepare to reach out to them
I'll add some more if I can think of them.

Hope that helps,

-Nick

Lilia Tovbin Co-founder at BigMailer.io

April 3rd, 2013

Hi Christina, not sure if you are you looking for launch marketing checklist or business side setup, seems both.

- setup a Google Alert for a product or company name, so you know when it's mentioned anywhere
- to monitor traffic in real-time and get notifications of spikes I would suggest to add ChartBeat
- for accounting I would highly recommend Outright - inexpensive and has all the basic features
- for marketing launch plan just google for blog posts - there are many on this topic
- I would test run your product through UserTesting.com before going after real clients - you could get some ideas and valuable feedback for last minute message/UI tweaks before launch
- have accounts setup on relevant (to your product) social networks and add links to your site, so anyone who falls in love with your product has a way to follow and/or promote you

The list above is a bit random, might help to narrow down goals and objectives.

John Rodley

April 3rd, 2013

Nick's list is great, as is Lilia's.  I sense that some of them are maybe further than you can go, but they're all good.  Here are my additions:
  • Site monitoring, not just for traffic but for errors.  I'd test a page on every major branch, especially any branch that runs on a different machine and monitor all your services (MySQL, Apache ...) independently.  Make sure that any page error or service monitoring error goes to you in realtime.  Fair warning: this will suck, but it's a closed beta.  If it were my baby, I'd have successful monitoring runs going to me in realtime too.  I've had monitoring systems fail, leaving me to think that a dead system was hunky dory.  Sigh.
  • Have an emergency sheet of who to contact when it all goes south.  The whole world will be conspiring against you at launch and only your chain of vendors (DNS, ISP, programming ...) is between you and disaster.  If your DNS name suddenly starts resolving to the web server for the Shih-Tzu Club of Albania who do you call?  If half the internet can't route to your IP block, who do you call? If your monitoring from above starts streaming errors at you, who's the first call?
  • All the people on the emergency sheet, know where they're going to be when the you know what hits the fan.  Make sure you note who does and doesn't step up during launch and ditch the losers.  Imho, not answering the phone, or failing to call back quickly is a failure to step up.
  • Backup. 
  • I always like having warm spares but that's kind of old-school. What can I say, I'm old.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

April 4th, 2013

My upvote for best FD thread of all-time.  This is awesome stuff.

Anonymous

April 3rd, 2013

ticketing - RSS-enabled, email subscription-enabled, alerts, attachments, templates, organization, the works

(automated) shipping integration - tiered and price quotes, location designated groups, automatic indicium creation with full product database 

inventory management - manual and scan uploading inventory status, alerts to re-order, fill PO, out-of-stock notice 

user grouping and authentication - hierarchy / permission design

server stability 


Anonymous

April 7th, 2013

These are all fantastic. Thanks so much, everyone! Keep 'em coming...

Paul Travis Multifaceted Online Executor: Product Marketing to Program Mgmt. to Business Development

April 4th, 2013

All good input -- should be a pretty comprehensive checklist when you get done :)

I'll add a couple "lenses" to look from, tying into analytics:
  • What does the brand-new visitor experience landing on the home page? Is his/her eye drawn to your intended outcome (demo, signup, etc)?
  • Can you acknowledge the returning visitor who didn't act and encourage that outcome?
  • What email does the visitor receive the first, second, third day to confirm their relationship and encourage the next action step?

John Rodley

April 7th, 2013

Oh - and before you go live:
  • give a big fat thank you to all your real-world helpers