Q: My company is close to launching our own skin care brand. Do you think we should focus on online sales? And would offline sales help support online sales?
Clara Song, founder of Catherine Jinn
A: Launching a new product is replete with excitement, enthusiasm and promise! Congratulations.
As to your question of the sales channels to use, you must also consider the distribution channels you will be using to get your product into the consumers’ hands.
What channels has Catherine Jinn used previously that have proved successful, and what would keep you from simply replicating what has been successful in the past?
When there is a learning curve for understanding a product and its application, you should consider the best platform for educating and explaining the application process for obtaining the best results from using the product.
A place where the consumer has an opportunity to quickly learn about the product and its results can direct you to a decision.
If the product — while excellent with the proper application process — isn’t “instantly intuitive” as to how it works and how it will benefit the user then the platform for you to consider is the one that offers you the quickest and fastest opportunity to explain these considerations to the ultimate buyer.
Online sales will give you the platform for explanation and demonstration.
Combining this with “offline” or in-store sales would provide potential buyers with the chance to try the application themselves in a brick-and-mortar store — particularly, with the informed assistance of a practitioner who understands and can demonstrate how the application process works.
If you choose to include use of online channels, we suggest that you create a strategy around the various social media sites with tactics and content messages that are consistent with the target audience you want to capture and, of course, an effective website that facilitates the ease of ordering by the buyer.
This all assumes that you have developed a marketing plan that includes the development and introduction of your newly developed products.
Mike Hoffman is an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.