How long should your cart be open for a product launch? It’s an important question to ask when in the launch planning stage but, like most pieces of a launch, the answer will depend on your audience and your list.
The period of time when your cart is open during a launch is often called the open cart period. For most online launchers, the open cart period ranges from 5 days to 2 weeks. Once the cart is closed, people can no longer buy your course or enroll in your membership.
3 Things to Consider When Deciding How Long Should Your Cart Be Open For a Product Launch?
1. How experienced are you?
Having your cart open isn’t as easy as just allowing people to buy your product. Successful launchers know that the open cart period is the busiest part of the launch. It requires almost constant interaction with your list and that requires a lot of energy.
For one thing, you’ll be emailing your list daily during the open cart period. Those emails will generate questions. Those questions should have you working to get answers out to everyone because if one person has the question, so does someone else. It’s a busy period, usually the busiest part of the entire launch.
Typically, most of the sales come in during the very end of an open cart period, inexperienced launchers tend to be tired, and a bit discouraged, by this time, believing the launch didn’t work. Instead of doubling down and putting in more effort to pull out every sale, new launchers tend to fall into a pit of self-doubt and just want to end the launch early. Long cart open periods require stamina.
On the flip side, you don’t want your list to be open for such a short period of time that people don’t have time to think about it, ask their questions and decide they definitely need your product.
2. How warm is your list?
Do you have a know, like and trust factor with your list? Is the list warm and responsive when you send out emails or is it a cold list of people generated from ads?
A cold list will take longer to buy. They need to hear more from you, they need to develop trust, they need to get their questions answered. A cold list means a longer open cart period but you need to use that time wisely. Don’t just let them hang out. Engage with them, answer questions, go live, let them see what you’re all about.
3. When is your list most active?
When thinking about how long to leave your cart open, consider your audience. When do they most often interact with you? Do you have a list of hobbyists that are primarily online during their time off in the evening or on the weekends? You can determine this by when they are replying to your posts or engaging with your emails.
Once you’ve determined when your email list is most active online, you’ll have a good idea of the best time to launch. If weekends are when they connect with you, be sure your open cart period should include a weekend.
If your audience is primarily parents who consume your content while at their kids’ sports practices and games, then you’ll want to be sure that your cart is open a little longer so you cover the times they’re looking for your content.
The open cart period for a business to business launch may not need to cover a weekend at all. On the flip side, if the businesses you’re targeting are going to need to get expense approval, your cart will need to be open longer to accommodate that timeline.
What to know about your open cart period
The length of time you have your cart open during your launch is clearly going to vary depending on your audience and your experience level. The great thing is, there’s no right or wrong answer and the next time you launch you can always change and adapt to see how it affects your results.
What is important when thinking about your open cart, however, is to stick with the date you choose and to be upfront and honest with the people you’re launching to.
If you start a launch saying your cart will only be open for three days, then you owe it to the people who buy within that time frame to close the cart after three days. To do otherwise not only is a slap in the face to those who took you at face value, it also trains the others on your list that you don’t mean what you say.
If your cart doesn’t ever close, don’t pretend it does by closing it down for a week and then quietly re-opening it as an evergreen product that people can just buy at any time on your website. That seems smarmy and is a tactic that will backfire on you in the end.
Planning a successful launch is a big job. Starting with the decision on when you want to open cart and for how long is an important first step. Make sure you consider carefully.
If you’d like help with your launch, you’re in luck. I have a Launch Planner that will walk you through all of the steps (including open cart) in one place. You can get the Launch Planner here.