Retailers are challenged with making their product selections more exciting, alluring and sexy than those of the competition.
Having that certain product or designer that is unique to a particular brand can make a retailer a shining star, at least for the season.
"Drop culture" is a trend that is propelling some retailers to the heights of fame and, sometimes, fortune.
Product drops are special releases that will only be available for a limited time.
Customers are excited to be a part of the "in" crowd, getting something exclusive early.
For retailers, the buzz that's created around these events promotes their brands even before the product is launched.
While it can be an opportunity to test new products quickly, product drops are really an event employed to encourage the competitive shopping mindset.
The product that’s dropped is special in some way: a limited edition, something new from a famous designer, a bleeding-edge fashion trend, etc. The value of a “drop” is therefore earned, not assigned.
Today, many luxury products are devalued due to over-exposure in the market, which means that the most desirable items require a level of effort or cleverness to obtain.
For example, U.S. streetwear brand Anti Social Social Club (ASSC) partnered with product release app Frenzy (created by Canadian small business shopping platform Shopify ) on an event where fans had to check-in to a physical location at a designated time to buy a limited-edition sweatshirt online.
But figuring out the exact location of the drop required significant detective and riddle-solving skills. Those who solved the puzzler were automatically logged in, triggering the product to appear on-screen to purchase — but within a certain amount of time.
Sell them a spot in the in-crowd
Product drops take advantage of the basic human desire to be included. No one wants to miss out on being part of something special.
The excitement tends to prompt customers to make decisions faster and more impulsively than if they have time to think about the purchase.
Often, quantities are limited and therefore sell out, adding to the "limited edition" mystique.
Although more products often become available in the months following the first drop—and shoppers are well aware of that—the excitement of purchasing these items ahead of the pack is too alluring to ignore for many.
Product drops are a good way to stir up excitement especially during a lull in the shopping sales cycle — such as post-holiday.
By creating a "buzz," a retailer raises the desirability of a product, and the "lucky" purchasers can enjoy basking in the afterglow.