Launching your product: Soft launch & Hard launch (Part 1)




Prior to your new product’s release to the market, the startup founders must carefully consider the launch to market strategy, and whether it should be a soft launch or hard launch.

If you are launching a completed version in your whole target area / launch it globally with massive marketing, it would be a hard launch.

If you plan to launch a beta one (either a full version or an MVP with core features) in a limited scale with the aim to get the first users and continually release new features and updates after they are developed and tested, it would be a soft launch.



Hard Launch

Soft Launch

1. Publicity
High publicity that could attract a lot of attention.
1. Additional Testing
A soft launch could allow you to do additional testing to remove bugs and improve performance. As there is a limited number of users, the risk of affecting your company’s reputation is minimised/ scaled down.
2. Revenue
Quick revenue - a full version product with good promotion could get users quickly.
2. Early Feedback
Receiving early feedback from the general public allows you to revise and refine prototype functions of your product before it is released. It could also help you to know early on what features should be prioritised/ modified/ refined/ added/ removed.
3. Competitive advantage
A fast and grand launch will have advantage over the other competitors, especially if you are the first mover and your competitors have similar products that may launch to market soon.
3. User Acquisition
Able to test user acquisition and monetisation strategies before a grand launch.
4. Marketing
A hard launch means you can focus all your marketing plans and efforts in one go as you do not need to split them up into smaller stages.
4. User Retention
Releasing new features one by one could help to maintain the interests of users.
5. Cost
Much higher compared to a soft launch.
5. Cost
Lower, possibly more cost effective
(You could end the startup project to reduce the negative influence on the whole budget of the company if the result is too bad).
Bear in mind product testing is always important as a poor product could cause you to lose your potential customers and damage your reputation. Never cut your expenses on product testing.
With a soft launch, there are more rooms for you to adjust your product. The further testing, research and analysis and user feedback could help you to increase the opportunity of success. Soft launch is a good option, especially for new companies and startups. Take mobile game industry as an example, many new mobile games have soft launch and beta testing before global release to ensure their games fit the market well. Soft launch can be used for preparing your future hard launch.

​There are also some cases where it is better to go directly for a hard launch – usually when the products have a large chance of success, hard launch could take advantage of the users’ initial interests/ being the first mover. Some examples:
  • The product has been completed and tested thoroughly and you are confident the product could reach its target(s)
  • Although it’s not an entirely new product, it's a big update in the market
  • There is enough budget to execute a solid marketing strategy
  • The company is well known in the niche and trusted by the customers
  • There is a risk that your idea would be copied by your competitors if it takes too long for the full launch

After discussing the types of product launch, we will focus on how to soft launch an APP in the next article. Stay tuned and feel free to contact PI Centre if you would like to know more about soft launch/ hard launch.