The rate of change in POS technology is a terrific assist for business growth. New payment technologies, innovative hardware and elegant software applications give merchant acquirers opportunities to strengthen relationships and increase retention. Launching a new product in merchant services requires some market-specific considerations. Consider these 7 steps:
1. Solve the Problem: When considering a new product to add to your merchant services portfolio, remember the distinction between features and benefits. Merchants don’t care about features; they care what these features will do for them. How will this product solve a problem your merchants have? How will it increase your merchants’ efficiency and profitability? In your marketing materials and customer contacts, make sure to translate features into practical benefits.
2. Define Your Audience: Before rolling out a new product, determine which merchants can benefit. Every product isn’t suitable for every merchant, and you don’t want to waste your merchants’ regard with junk promotions. Take time to clearly delineate your target audience and your purpose so that the launch stays on focus.
3. Craft Your Messaging: Effective merchant messaging is the key to success for POS product launches. In merchant services, messaging must be especially practical and simple. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the new technology may be; the decision maker is likely an overworked business owner trying to juggle multiple priorities and keep all the plates spinning. When dealing with busy merchants, your marketing message must be simple, direct and focused on the bottom line.
4. Define the Process: Preparation is your best tool to ensure a smooth launch. Take the time to establish a written product launch plan, clearly delineating marketing goals, team responsibilities, product development, sourcing, pricing, sales strategies, and implementation. What’s more, having a general roadmap is a great investment for the success of all future product launches.
5. Test Your Products: When you’re getting ready to roll out a new product or service to your merchants, don’t leave anything to chance. Even if it’s as simple as adding time clock functionality to a tablet system, you can’t assume a rollout will be problem-free. All new products and services, even the least complex, must be thoroughly tested in real-world conditions. The last thing you want is to promote a product that doesn’t work in the field. By taking the time to test and evaluate your products, you can protect your reputation and build retention rates.
6. Prepare Your Team: A successful product launch requires as much internal preparation as it does external planning. Major rollouts, no matter how exciting, involve change - and change causes upheaval and stress. It’s essential to foster a spirit of collaboration and excitement to gain the buy-in of your team. By clearly delineating responsibilities and defining expectations, you can help make the internal product launch process as smooth and positive as possible.
Despite your best efforts, you can expect that any product launch will experience some hiccups. Your customer support team must understand the product inside and out, and be ready to assist merchants with implementation and troubleshooting from day one.
7. Measure Your Progress: With a well-considered product launch plan, you should expect great results. But it’s important to establish goals and evaluate accordingly. Be sure to solicit feedback from merchants and from your team, and analyze the date you collect. That way, new product launches will build your merchants’ profitability and deepen your relationship as a valued payments partner.