Few sales events grab the customer’s attention and tap into their innate desires as much as product drops. Whether it is the lure of a discount or the chance to grab a one-of-a-kind product, these limited sales can be hard for customers to resist.
Some product drops are more appealing, more successful, and leave customers feeling more satisfied than others, though. What sets these product drops apart from others, and how can brands deliver an exceptional product drop every time?
We co-authored a study to find out.
Customers Love Product Drops, Heavy Discounts and Hard-to-Find Items
The Product Drops and Private Sales report is a collaboration between PYMNTS and Scalefast. It is a Census-balanced survey of 2,298 U.S. consumers that analyzes, among other things, how customers participate in product drops, what they love about them and how merchants can improve customer experiences.
The vast majority of respondents said they enjoy participating in product drops. Our research shows more than three-quarters (75.8%) of people are very or extremely satisfied with them. The experience of product drops alone is enough to make almost half (46.6%) of people who have shopped a product drop very or extremely interested in participating in similar events over the next year.
That is good news for brands looking to use this particular strategy to win long-term customers. There are several things those brands can do further to make the product drop experience even better.
Satisfaction levels increase in line with discount amounts, for instance. More than 80% of people say they feel satisfied when discounts are between 15% to 35%. That satisfaction level rises to 90.7% when discounts exceed 35%.
People value product drops that release limited-edition or hard-to-get items. Our research shows 45% of people are interested in product drops specifically because they value access to products that are difficult to obtain.
The Real-Life Strategies Brands Use to Optimize Product Drops
Here are three proven strategies brands can use to capitalize on the opportunities our data reveal.
Hard-to-get items are one of the big draws in product drop events. Some brands do not stop at the products, though. Rather, they gamify the entire experience.
“By gamifying the drop experience, consumers feel a bigger sense of ownership and emotional response to the whole experience. In other words, by making them work for it, they value their purchases and the brand more,” writes fashion journalist Bia Bezamat at Current Daily.
Adidas’ product drop at ComplexCon in California is a great example of gamification in action, she says. The brand used the venue to its advantage by suspending giant cubes from the ceiling that acted as gateways to a series of limited-edition product drops. Adidas notified users through the ComplexCon app when drops were due to go live and told them to scan the cubes for a chance to gain access.
“As a result, before the clock struck every few hours, one could see small crowds gathering under the cubes, hoping to be able to ‘cop’ the shoe before anyone else,” Bezamat says.
Increasing the difficulty of access in product drops can also help brands beat sneaker bots — automated computer programs that buy up products in seconds before human customers have a chance.
Forcing customers to visit a specific location or access details via an app reduces the detrimental impact of bots, Jennifer Bosavage at SmarterCX.com writes. “The complexity also lends an aura of exclusivity to the most dedicated shoppers who are willing to invest the time as well as money to obtain the item.”
Part of the reason customers value access to hard-to-get products is the cool factor. Exclusivity is a massive part of the product drop strategy, Roland Eisenbrand and Scott Peterson at OMR write.
“Whoever wears an item by the label (typically featuring an oversized logo), immediately is among the ‘cool kids,’” they write. “Oftentimes there is an added push from pro athletes, teen and pop icons working as brand ambassadors to further boost the brand’s popularity and, by extension, the street cred of the owner.”
Brand collaborations have the added benefit of bringing together multiple fan communities, the team at PSFK writes. There is double the excitement along with the chance to introduce a brand to a new audience.
Companies can increase brand affinity by simply following through on their promises, and running a great product drop.
NTWRK sells limited-edition products through 15-minute broadcasts three times a week. Aaron Levant, NTWRK’s Founder, believes the consistency is vital to creating a bond with customers and streamlining the messy world of brand messaging.
It is the same with Supreme. Drops happen every Thursday morning at 11 a.m., writes Tricia McKinnon. “The effectiveness of Supreme’s approach should not be underestimated as habits are central to human nature,” she says.
“… Having the drops occur at a specific time reinforces this habit. Customers do not have to guess when new merchandise will be available; they know the exact times and are always ready to shop.”
Not every drop will be as good or better than the last, but a consistent schedule will ensure customers keep coming back.
Learn how to leverage the power of product drops, flash sales, and private sale events. Download the full Product Drops and Private Sales report here.