How (Not) to Launch a Product: Just Build It

Today, we’re going to talk about the biggest single mistake people make when launching a product (or service, for that matter): living on the “field of dreams.”

Baseball Game

In the classic movie Field of Dreams, a disembodied voice in a cornfield promises Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner’s character), “If you build it, he will come.” In the movie, “it” is a baseball diamond where the cornfield used to be, and “he” is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a long-dead baseball player. Spoiler alert: Ray does build “it,” and Shoeless Joe does come, but the process nearly costs Ray his entire world: his home, his marriage, his daughter. Yes, things work out, but talk about cutting it close!

In our little fantasy world as entrepreneurs, we turn this into, “If you build it, they will come.” But in our fantasy world, “it” is whatever crazy product we have dreamed up, and “they” are our customers… lots of them.

It doesn’t work that way in real life, and it never has.

Here’s the number one thing you must do to have a successful product launch: validate your product. There must be somebody out there (who is not your mother) who is willing and eager to buy your product before it even exists. If not, you are barking up the wrong tree, and you need to rework, improve, or abandon your idea, right now.

How do you know somebody wants to buy your product? Pre-sell it! We’ll talk more about what this means in later posts, but the short version is that you need to find real customers and get paid real money before you even create the product. If enough people are willing to pay you for something that doesn’t even exist, then you’re onto something. On the other hand, if no one is willing to put their money where their mouth is, all those comments like, “Wow, that’s a really neat idea,” don’t mean a hill of beans.

So, before you even start building the product, make sure someone out there really wants it. Then, thank your mother for her interest, and find somebody else who really wants it. Once you’ve found a few of those people, then—and only then—you might be onto something.

Want more?

Click Here to Get Your Free Product Launch Checklist

New Feature: Database Auditing and Incremental Backup

Error!

We’re getting ready to roll out a new feature: database auditing. What does that mean? It means that every significant change – pricing, product descriptions, product options, etc. – will be logged and kept as a “version,” so you can always go back to a prior version, even if something has been deleted entirely. Even if you deleted your store’s best-selling product by mistake, you can get it back quickly. You will never have an “oops” moment again or, at least, not one that lasts very long!

What would you like to see next? Let us know!

Don’t forget that you can sign up now for our service by visiting cereblitz.com.

We Are Live!

Heavy Carrier Rocket Launch

WE’VE LAUNCHED!

We are live, and you can now sign up for the Cereblitz ecommerce platform and shopping cart. We’re incredibly excited about all the amazing features that are available right now:

  • Configure, price, and sell custom products, customizable products, “regular” products, services, and more!
  • Upload and reorder product images
  • Track your costs
  • Order tracking
  • Integration with UPS
  • Integration with Stripe (payment processing)
  • Custom themes (the sky is the limit on this)
  • Page editor
  • Built-in contact forms
  • SEO (search engine optimization) features
  • Sales tax tracking and reporting
  • and much, much more!

Go check it out now.

5 Myths About Custom Products

Facts and Myths On Balance Scale

5 Myths about Custom Products

Hint: #4 will surprise you…

The conventional wisdom about custom (and customizable) products is way behind the times. You’ve probably fallen for several of these myths and never even known it!

Myth #1: Custom Products Are Rare

FACT: Not even close. They’re everywhere! The t-shirt for your family reunion, wedding invitations, monogrammed towels, that ball-point pen at the bank with the company logo on it, that wristband for the 5k run/walk you did… we see, buy, and use customized products every single day. We just don’t tend to think about where they came from.

Tip: Look around your office for every product with text or a logo on it, other than the manufacturer’s name or logo. The sheer number will blow your mind!

Myth #2: Custom Products Are Just Like Other Products

FACT: Every custom product is, well, custom. No two are alike, even before they’re customized. Some, like t-shirts, let you print large, complex, multi-colored images. Others have very limited imprinting space. Some have structural concerns. Some custom products are radically unlike anything else. For example, 3-D printing has made it possible to sell custom models, decorations, and prototypes directly to customers, but no two orders are alike.

Myth #3: I Just Need a Little More Information

FACT: Yeah, maybe… but probably not. Most people think that custom products just involve an extra fact or two, just like “Size” or “Color.” They tell themselves, “I’ll just add a blank (or form field) or two for the customer to fill things in, and it’ll be fine.” But it’s almost never that simple. What about setup fees? Charges for additional ink colors? Extra raw materials for things like custom furniture or 3-D printing? What about your product codes? Do they ever change based on what the customer wants?

Tip: Try writing out every rule you use to price your products and record the sale internally. Odds are, you will fill a sheet of paper before you know it… for just one product!

Myth #4: I Just Need a Shopping Cart

FACT: Nope. Almost no shopping carts allow for truly custom products. A few allow you to add one or two text fields—like initials for monogramming—but that’s it. In fact, we only know of one cart (hint: it’s ours) that allows you to sell custom products “out of the box.”

Myth #5: I Can Just Tweak My Current Cart

FACT: Technically, this is true, but it will cost you a fortune. Shopping cart software is extremely complex; we’ve spent well over $200,000 in developer time developing Cereblitz Cart.

BONUS Myth #6: Selling Custom Products Online Is Difficult

FACT: Consider this one busted! Thanks to Cereblitz Cart, customers are making money online with unique and customizable products right now.

Can you think of other myths that you’ve fallen for or seen others fall for? Reply and let us know!

P.S. Don’t forget to bookmark our blog and follow us on your favorite social network:

Follow us on Twitter @Cereblitz
Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/cereblitz

How can we help you?

We are gearing up for our big launch this month, and we have a critical question. We really need your help with this! Ready? Here’s the question…

Man And Woman Help Silhouette In Mountains

How can we help you? We’re busy adding features, trimming clutter, and streamlining our ecommerce platform to give you the best experience possible in your business. But here’s the hitch: we’re not you. We want to hear from you.

What does your ideal shopping cart look like?

What’s missing in your current shopping cart?

What would it take for you to switch carts?

What is the single biggest pain you deal with in your online business?

What have you screamed at your computer this week, but no one seems to care about it?

Fill us in! Leave a note in the comments, or send us a note using our contact form.

Special offer: Ask us a question now, and we’ll give you a free 30-minute business consultation about your topic. Not a sales call; a legitimate consultation. That’s a $250 value, totally free. This offer is good for this month only, because we really want to hear from you now. Ready? Let’s do this!

Feature Request

What features do you, the community, want to see included in Cereblitz Cart? Please vote in the poll below, and sound off in the comments, too!

What feature do you most want to see in Cereblitz Cart?

Announcing Cereblitz Cart

We are very excited to announce the formation of Cereblitz LLC and, with it, the upcoming launch of Cereblitz Cart!

Cereblitz makes the first fully-customizable cart for customizable products

Cereblitz Cart is the First Cart Available to the Public that Supports Truly Customizable Products

Cereblitz Cart is a completely new take on the traditional ecommerce model: you can sell absolutely anything with it.

Traditional carts limit you to items with a few choices – maybe a few colors or sizes – and are basically one-size-fits-all. If that doesn’t actually fit your needs because your products are complex, tough luck.

Cereblitz Cart is different. It is a completely customizable shopping cart, and it supports completely customizable products. With it, you can sell anything, no matter how complex. Need to allow customization, like a custom image or imprint? No problem. Option A is incompatible with Option Q? No problem. Need to allow more than one way to customize the product, price customized products differently, give all the many possibilities their own product codes, and do it all instantly and online? No problem.

Cereblitz Cart is All-Purpose

Obviously, many stores sell customizable products. There are lots of imprintable t-shirt stores, print-your-own-card stores, and so on. Here’s the catch: those are all one-off solutions. They are typically developed in-house, often at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and completely out of reach for small business.

Cereblitz Cart is different. It can handle everything from mom-and-pops to selling a passenger aircraft, and from selling stock items off the shelf to custom web design packages. Really, the only limit to what you can sell on this platform is your own imagination.

And. It’s. Awesome.

We’ve worked hard on this. In fact, creating Cereblitz Cart cost at least $200,000 worth of developer time.

Before working on this software, I’d spent 15 years developing solutions for customers who have unique products: customizable products with countless variations, special limitations, multiple pricing schemes with discounts and add-on fees, and so on. I’ve even owned and run a business that specialized in selling such products. This cart reflects all of that knowledge from the trenches. And we’re committed to making it better all the time.

The result is, frankly, an awesome product that supports:

  • Unlimited products
  • Unlimited customization
  • Special fees and discounts by product, product group, customization, customer, and more
  • Gift cards
  • Easy-to-use themes – use a pre-packaged one or roll your own!
  • An easy-to-use plugin system
  • Internationalization – support as many languages as you like, and handle different date and currency formats automatically!
  • Flexible sales/use/VAT taxes – collect whatever you have to collect, however you need to do it!
  • Built-in split testing (a/k/a A/B or multivariate testing)
  • Lightning-fast load times (most requests load in 1/20 of a second on a very basic server)
  • Secure transactions – security has been a priority from day one
  • Unlimited flexibility
  • And, most importantly, it supports your business, whatever that may be.

You are going to be able to license all of that for pennies on the dollar.

Interested?

Now, it’s not quite ready. Some lucky customers are using it in a private beta, so we can make sure it’s 100% ready to knock your socks off in the next few weeks.

But, if you sign up for our mailing list now, you will be eligible for an exclusive discount when we go live. (We won’t spam you, I promise.)

So, go check out cereblitz.com and get ready for the revolution in flexible ecommerce software that meets your business’s needs!