10 Product Discontinuation Best Practices

If you need to discontinue a product, there are certain best practices you should follow to make the process as smooth as possible.

Product discontinuation is an inevitable part of the product lifecycle. It’s a process that requires careful planning and execution to ensure that customers are not negatively impacted.

In this article, we’ll discuss 10 best practices for product discontinuation. We’ll cover topics such as how to communicate the discontinuation to customers, how to handle customer support, and how to ensure a smooth transition to a new product. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your product discontinuation process is successful.

1. Identify the product

When you identify the product, it allows you to better understand its impact on your business. You can then assess how much revenue and profit the product generates, as well as any potential risks associated with discontinuing it.

Identifying the product also helps you determine which customers are affected by the discontinuation. This is important because you need to be able to communicate the change to those customers in a timely manner. Additionally, understanding who will be impacted by the discontinuation can help you develop strategies for mitigating customer dissatisfaction or loss of loyalty.

2. Determine the end of life (EOL) date

The EOL date is the point at which a product or service will no longer be supported. This includes any technical support, software updates, and bug fixes. It’s important to set an EOL date for your products so that customers know when they need to upgrade or switch to another solution.

When setting an EOL date, it’s important to consider factors such as customer feedback, market trends, and technology advancements. You should also communicate the EOL date clearly with customers so that they can plan accordingly.

3. Notify customers and partners

When you discontinue a product, customers and partners may be left in the dark. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and even anger if they are not informed of the change. To avoid this, it is important to communicate the news as soon as possible.

Notifying customers and partners also gives them time to adjust their plans and find alternative solutions. It’s best to provide clear information about why the product is being discontinued, what will happen next, and how they can transition to other products or services. Additionally, offering discounts on new products or services can help ease the transition for customers and partners.

4. Provide support to existing customers

When a product is discontinued, customers may be left with questions or concerns about how to use the product. Providing support to existing customers helps ensure that they have a positive experience and can continue using the product without any issues. Additionally, providing support shows customers that you value their business and are willing to go the extra mile to help them out. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction, which can ultimately benefit your company in the long run.

5. Migrate customers to a new product

When a product is discontinued, customers may feel abandoned and frustrated. To avoid this, it’s important to provide them with an alternative solution that meets their needs. This could be another product from your company or even a competitor’s product.

Migrating customers to a new product helps ensure they don’t experience any disruption in service and keeps them loyal to your brand. It also gives you the opportunity to upsell them on additional features or services. Finally, it allows you to keep track of customer feedback and use it to improve future products.

6. Create an exit plan for employees

When a product is discontinued, it’s likely that some employees will be affected. It’s important to create an exit plan for those employees so they can transition out of the company in a way that is fair and respectful.

This could include offering severance packages, job placement assistance, or other forms of support. This helps ensure that employees are taken care of during this difficult time and also shows that the company values their contributions. Additionally, having an exit plan in place can help reduce any potential legal issues that may arise from the discontinuation process.

7. Recycle or dispose of any remaining products

When a product is discontinued, it’s important to make sure that any remaining products are recycled or disposed of properly. This helps protect the environment and prevents hazardous materials from entering the waste stream. It also ensures that customers don’t purchase outdated products that may not work as intended.

Additionally, recycling or disposing of products can help reduce costs associated with storage and disposal fees. Finally, it sends a positive message to customers about your company’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

8. Communicate internally

When discontinuing a product, it’s important to make sure that all stakeholders are aware of the decision. This includes sales teams, customer service representatives, and any other departments that may be affected by the change. By communicating internally, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there won’t be any surprises when the product is discontinued.

Additionally, internal communication allows for feedback from different departments. For example, if the marketing team has ideas about how to best communicate the discontinuation to customers, they should have an opportunity to share their thoughts before the announcement is made. Internal communication also helps to ensure that everyone is prepared for the transition and that no one is left in the dark.

9. Archive documentation

When a product is discontinued, it’s important to keep the documentation available for customers who may still be using the product. This ensures that they can continue to use the product safely and effectively.

Archiving documentation also helps with customer service inquiries. If a customer has an issue or question about a discontinued product, having archived documentation makes it easier for customer service reps to answer their questions quickly and accurately.

Finally, archiving documentation helps protect your brand reputation. Customers will appreciate being able to access information about a discontinued product if they need it, which can help maintain positive relationships with them.

10. Update your website

When customers visit your website, they expect to find the products and services you offer. If a product is no longer available, it’s important to update your website so that customers don’t waste their time looking for something that isn’t there. This also helps avoid any confusion or frustration from customers who may have been expecting to purchase the discontinued item.

Additionally, updating your website with information about why the product was discontinued can help provide clarity and transparency to customers. This can be especially helpful if the discontinuation was due to customer feedback or other external factors.


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