What Makes Us Want To Shop A Drop?

by MR Magazine Staff

So what makes us want to shop a drop so much? Why do these releases drive us to instantly reach for our credit card information, almost like a reflex? According to experts who study consumer behavior and marketing, it all comes down to the scarcity principle. “[A drop] doesn’t conform to traditional fashion release timing, so it’s unpredictable and, therefore, the products seem scarce,” NYU Stern School of Business Associate Professor of Marketing Adam Alter tells Fashionista. “Scarcity makes them desirable because they aren’t available to just anyone — they’re only available to people who happen to be tuned in to the product’s release.” Scarcity is a key form of persuasion, as heavily studied by Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” He uses a proven example from British Airways, which announced in 2003 the discontinuation of its twice-daily Concorde flights between London and New York. The following day, sales skyrocketed. “Notice that nothing had changed about the Concorde itself,” says Cialdini in his “Principles of Persuasion” video. “It certainly didn’t fly any faster, the service didn’t suddenly get better and the airfare didn’t drop. It had simply become a scarce resource. And as a result, people wanted it more.” We’ve seen scarcity utilized in many forms in the retail space aside from drops: flash sales, designer collaborations (with mass retailers like H&M, Target and Uniqlo), limited product releases for frequent or loyal shoppers and pop-up shops, which have been, er, popping up with increasing frequency around the world, especially for music merch. Outside of retail, flash mobs, raves and secret concerts are examples of scarcity inspiring impulsive interest. Read more at Fashionista.