what I learned from recent e-commerce launches

Recently, I’ve been testing a lot of launches for different e-commerce brands.

Today, I want to share the differences between banking 154k in three days vs less than 5k for a whole month.

First, have you heard of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory?

The theory claims that when a new idea enters the market, there are:

  • 2.5% of Innovators who love new ideas and embrace the risk.
  • 13.5% of Early Adopters who find ways to integrate new ideas/technology into existing systems.

The remaining 85%?

Most like to wait until ideas/technologies are fully developed before dipping their toes.

This is an interesting theory because I see a similar result for launches.

If you have a good product…

(^^this is a vital assumption)

There will always be 2.5% of Ready Prospects.

These people want to buy immediately – as long as you don’t give them a strong reason not to. (they don’t even need a discount code)

Then, there are the Fencers.

13.5% of prospects will be hesitating on the fence, looking for a reason to buy now… or procrastinate.

The remaining 85% of prospects will only become customers if you nurture and entertain them for 90+ days.

This means…

The 13.5% Fencer is your bread and butter for launches.

If you have a great offer (not just 10% off), you can nudge these prospects off the fence to act now.

This is also where persuasion elements – like urgency, scarcity, FOMO, and social proofs – can help.

In my experience, the best results happen when you:

  • Have a theme (e.g., Black Friday or Anniversary)
  • Make it an event (e.g., give the launch a unique name)
  • Give them a strong reason (e.g., “We’re raising the price”)
  • Presell 1-2 days before the event
  • Run the event for ~3 days
  • Send as many emails as possible during the event
  • (at least one email every day, plus a reminder before the cart closes)
  • Make an intriguing offer

Offer is the most crucial part.

A 5% or 10% discount code is not enough to carry the excitement.

(unless you’re selling a 1M house… then 10% is a killer)

Unfortunately, the offer is where most brands fail. Most “failed launches” are due to not having an exciting offer. I’ll talk more about this on Friday.

That being said…

Here’s the problem with launches:

It’s a lot of pressure to run.

Many things can go wrong.

To give you just one example: 

There is a case where Gmail dropped the deliverability on the first day of the launch, sending all hard work directly into the sPaM folder.

In addition, if you’re betting on a home run every time to pay the bills…

You will need a bigger, badder deal every time.

Steeper discounts, more bonuses, bolder guarantees, etc.

Eventually, your team will burn out…

…and churn.

(I’ve seen teams who gave up due to one failed launch) 

The worst part is – 

When you push the launch too far, you risk alienating the remaining 85% of potential long-tail customers.

So… how can you balance the short-term launches with the long-tail conversions?

I’ll share my method in detail next week.

Cheering for you,
Wuyen

P.S. – If you’re not interested in all the nitty gritty… and just want an email specialist to “do it for you”… then reach out at “wy<@>wuyenhsu.com”. I have something you’ll love.