A product launch means that the product is first available in the market.
This is different from a product roll-out that means that the product is already available in part of the market but is going to be made available to the entire market.
The launch and rollout can happen at the same time, but this is not always the case, especially for smaller/ digital-first companies. Many digital-first companies launch their product online, then get some partnerships with retailers to launch in a limited number of stores, then if everything goes well, they roll out their product across most or all stores of the said retailer (good examples: Bark Box, Quip)
Large brands tend to launch and roll-out their products across all stores at the same time since their launch is usually covered by the press and products need to be accessible everywhere to have the maximum impact on sales.
Who Is Involved?
Consumer goods companies are usually the ones responsible for the launch of their product. They can hire some 3rd party labor to execute on the launch (aka install the displays, product signage and put product on shelves, or audit the stores). Sometimes retailers can execute part or all of the launch tasks.
Why Does It Matter?
The main challenge is to make sure that each display will have the maximum impact on both sales and the brand. Launch & roll out cost are a significant investment for brands, so being able to optimize the execution and effectiveness is critical.
What Are the Challenges?
To optimize the efficiency of staff, guarantee compliant execution and collect critical data that can impact sales, most consumer good companies use a field execution software such as Natural Insight.