6 of the Worst Product Launch Failures (And What You Need to Learn From Them)

Are you on the verge of launching a new product? Or are you still in the process of developing one? Whatever the case may be, you obviously want to do everything you can to ensure your product launch is successful.

That means you need to carefully plan every aspect of your launch — from product development, to your product launch promotion. To help you with your product launch planning, here are six of the worst product launch failures, and what you can learn from them.

Product Launch Failure #1: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

One of the biggest product failures in recent years was that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Reports of explosions, batteries overheating, and burns were common for the phone. It launched on August 19, 2016, and by early September, Samsung stopped selling it. The brand issued a voluntary recall of the devices, during which they recalled 2.5 million units, according to Time magazine.

Source: Ariel Gonzalez

Samsung then replaced the Notes with new devices, but the problem persisted. Various airlines around the globe started to ban the devices on flights, and Samsung ended up losing $14.3 billion in investments. Although Samsung has since stopped the production of the Note 7, the product had a lasting impact on the brand’s image.

What to Learn from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Failure

Improper product development was the biggest reason for the failure of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. According to Wired UK, the problems were due to battery manufacturing issues. One mistake was committed by Samsung themselves, in regards to size. The other was incorrect welding of batteries by a third-party manufacturer.

The blueprint for their device was great. They had everything else in place, but two tiny mistakes resulted in one of the worst product launch failures of all time. Some people even called it the worst tech failure of 2016.

What’s important to learn from this example is that you need to carefully inspect every aspect of your product development before you even set a launch date. Otherwise, you might feel compelled to meet the deadline, and rush through some crucial steps. And that could negatively impact your launch.

Keep testing every element involved in your product development, and set your launch date only after you’re sure things are going smoothly.

Even after you set a deadline for the launch and publicly announce it, you shouldn’t hesitate to push it back if there are unexpected delays. It might affect your reputation a bit, but not as much as it would if you launched a product that’s not ready.

Product Launch Failure #2: Fitbit Charge HR & Surge

After the Pulse, Fitbit continued to experience issues with their fitness monitors. The Fitbit Pulse was recalled because it caused allergic reactions for some users. After that, the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge fitness monitors were met with a class-action lawsuit in 2016 from users claiming the devices provided false reports.

The Daily News reported that some users claimed the devices measured their heart rates much lower than they actually were. For instance, one user claimed that the Fitbit recorded her heart rate as 114, when another hand-grip heart monitor reported it as 155. The same user also claimed that the Fitbit reported that she had burned 250 calories, when another neck monitor reported she burned 650 calories.

Source: Karlis Dambrans on Flickr

These claims suggested that users may be working out much harder than they should be. And the reports went against Fitbit’s ad campaigns, which used slogans like, “Every Beat Counts,” and, “Know Your Heart.” According to the lawsuit, the devices are, “effectively worthless,” for monitoring heart rate. Time also reported a study, which proved the inaccuracy of the devices’ heart rate monitoring.

What to Learn from the Fitbit Failure

Fitbit’s products may have been ready, and they may have been marketed effectively to succeed. In some aspects, they did succeed, but they failed to maintain that success in the long run. The technology used for monitoring was faulty, and gave inaccurate results. The previously-cited study showed that the inaccuracy was approximately 20 bpm (beats per minute) compared to an ECG machine.

This suggests that they were unable to develop the technology for which they had an excellent concept. While their products worked in theory, they were unable to live up to their claims. Another important lesson can be learned from the brand’s marketing message, which implied that the devices provide accurate heart rate reports. They chose a misleading UVP, (unique value proposition), and failed to deliver.

Product Launch Failure #3: Nike+ FuelBand

It seems that wearable fitness trackers just aren’t making the cut when it comes to “product innovations.” The idea may be revolutionary, but brands seem to be struggling to turn their ideas into reality. Like the Fitbit, Nike has had their fair share of troubles with their FuelBands.

Back in 2015, the sports brand had to settle a class action lawsuit filed by users who claimed the device wasn’t providing accurate reports.

Source: William Hook on Flickr

The International Business Times reported that the reason for the lawsuit was because plaintiffs believed the brand violated consumer protection laws. That was because the brand made statements that could be considered misleading regarding the device’s ability to provide accurate fitness reports. Nike settled the lawsuit by providing $25 gift cards or $15 checks.

The Nike+ FuelBand failed due to a number of other reasons, in addition to the inaccurate reports, according to Wareable. For instance, the brand only focused on iPhone users, and practically ignored the other half of smartphone users. It was only two and a half years after its original launch that they launched the FuelBand app for Android users. By then, it was already too late.

What to Learn from the Nike+ FuelBand Failure

Like the lesson from Fitbit’s failure, the Nike+ FuelBand failure teaches us not to make false or misleading claims about what our products can do. But another important lesson from this example is to cater to the needs of all the consumers who might be interested in the product. By ignoring the needs of Android users, Nike failed to tap into a valuable potential market, and that also contributed to the FuelBand failure.

It’s important to note that when you’re developing platform-specific tech devices, you may not have enough resources to cater to the needs of users across all platforms. That means that after your initial product launch, you should set a goal to further expand your reach. Don’t wait too long to target consumers using other platforms.

Read more at ShaneBarker.com.

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