Adopting a Promotional Product Drop Culture: The What & Why

Limited items carry a particular fascination for customers who wish to stand out. The explosive popularity of streetwear and athletic labels […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop


Limited items carry a particular fascination for customers who wish to stand out.

The explosive popularity of streetwear and athletic labels has brought the drop model to the attention of the retail and e-commerce sector.

Consequently, product drops have grown drastically as businesses compete to keep consumers engaged.

We have created this post for you to tackle everything regarding product drops, including:

  • What’s a product drop?
  • Why are product drops so popular?
  • Product drop culture in the promotional product world

Let’s get reading.

What Is a Product Drop?

Product drops are when a corporation introduces a limited-edition product line for a limited time.

As momentum develops around the exclusivity of a collection, it’s an excellent approach for tapping into the competitive mentality of buyers wanting unique things.

Moreover, drops have gained popularity during the e-commerce boom because they fulfill an always-on buyer’s needs.

Small-batch launches and anticipated releases make items seem more unique and attractive to the public.

Businesses all across the globe are now using the drop technique to achieve a variety of goals.

Also, businesses are revealing a new aspect of themselves through unexpected collaborations.

A great example is McDonald’s Taiwan, as they teamed up with high-end fashion designer Apujan earlier this year to produce a range of attractive box designs and jet-black burgers.

Collaborating with a fashion brand enhanced the worldwide fast-food firm and drew in a younger generation of customers.

Screenshot 2022-05-23 133555
Image Source: Instagram

Moreover, McDonald’s positioned their traditional burger as something never-before-seen by promoting a limited-release product on Instagram, gaining new consumers.

Why Are Product Drops So Popular?

To comprehend the bigger picture and find answers to the growth peak of limited drops, we must understand its significant influence on businesses.

Let’s start with brand strategy; drops are effective for businesses because:

  • They make inventory management and forecasting easier:

Drops allow brands to complete inventory management and produce small quantities that sell off fast, eliminating the need for guesswork in stocking and sales estimates, making inventory forecasting a breeze.

  • They establish a collectors’ community:

Brands that use limited drops usually have a lot of support from their consumers, so it’s a natural progression for those with an extensive fan base.

Avid enthusiasts often become collectors of these rare and valuable objects.

On the other hand, customers get really thrilled about product drops, as some are even ready to stand in line for hours, compete online against bots, and join multiple competitions simply to get things from a limited selection.  

This is due to the influence of social media, as it has had a significant impact on our purchasing habits.

According to Instagram, 70% of shoppers use social media networks to find new products.

As a result, limited editions ride the excitement wave that only social media can generate.

Another reason why drops have been gaining popularity is the generational shift; customers of various generations have distinct wants, habits, and expectations.

There’s not simply a difference in life stage or wealth; it’s also a difference in thinking, particularly when utilizing technology.

According to Census Bureau data, more than half of the US population are millennials or younger.

In other words, today’s customers are constantly “on”: they’re active on social media and browse across channels and platforms, providing marketers with additional touchpoints through which to communicate with them.

PYMNTS and Scalefast collaborated on the Product Drops and Private Sales report.

The study included 2,298 U.S. consumers and examined how customers engage in product drops, what they like about them, and how merchants might enhance customer experiences, among other things.

More than three-quarters (75.8%) of consumers are very happy with the concept of product drops overall.

Moreover, the idea of product drops alone is enough to pique the curiosity of almost half (46.6%) of people who have shopped for a product drop or participated in a similar activity.

Product Drop Culture in the Promotional Product World

Combining the product drop culture with the promotional product world can be exciting and powerful.

Let’s check the below examples to see more details.  

In 2018, IKEA collaborated with designer wunderkind Virgil Abloh to produce limited-edition home décor and furniture items that sold out in minutes.

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Image Source: IKEA

The collaborators developed the design after doing extensive research on their target demographic.

IKEA and Abloh interviewed millennials born in the final decade of the twentieth century throughout the product development cycle to learn how and why this generation uses products to create a personal statement in their living environment.

Moreover, researching what prospective purchasers were looking for when moving into their first homes—often with restricted space—inspired the design, which is about expression as well as function.

However, the most significant achievement of the collection is not in the actual design of each piece but in the introduction of disruption into the commercially appealing as young customers and influencers prefer the Eurocentric-design aesthetic.

Moving on to another collaboration, which is  Chiara Ferragni’s with Nespresso.

Last year, Nespresso and Chiara Ferragni collaborated to serve coffee with elegance.

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Image Source: Instagram

The internet entrepreneur perfectly represents summer with Nespresso, with her contagious humor and family values.

In addition, Chiara Ferragni’s well-known attention to detail, revolutionary ideas, and active support for female empowerment were vital components of the Nespresso brand and combined in this partnership.

The limited-edition collection included a mini coffee machine, a custom coffee mug, and Ferragni’s coffee recipe.

Furthermore, Chiara Ferragni created her own trademark iced coffee formula exclusively for Nespresso, mixing her favorite iced espresso with a creamy coconut flavor for a tropical summer twist.

Another great example is Travis Scott’s collaboration with McDonald’s, which was a brilliant move.

The fast-food chain’s sales in the United States had fallen during the coronavirus outbreak.

The meal was named Cactus Jack; the meal included a Quarter Pounder with cheese, lettuce, and bacon, a medium serving of Tangy BBQ Sauce fries, and a medium Sprite with extra ice.

Screenshot 2022-05-23 171305
Image Source: Instagram

McDonald’s Corp. said that comparable sales at its U.S. restaurants increased by 4.6 percent in the three months ending in September compared to the same time in 2019.

Last but not least, this May, Supreme has resumed its big cooperation series with its newest collaboration with Dr. Martens

Supreme created their interpretation of the traditional 3-Eye Shoe in partnership with British footwear.

Screenshot 2022-05-23 173753
Image Source: Dr. Martens

The famous oxford shoe shape has been reimagined in antique smooth leather uppers with a contrasting stitched spider web motif.

The contrasting motif is carried on with the laces, enhancing the simple design.

Also, the Supreme Box Logo is debossed at the heels, and co-branded leather insoles serve as branding features.

The Future of Promotional Product Drops

Promotional product drops are not going away anytime soon; in fact, they’re on the rise, helping enhance social media engagement and brand awareness.

Therefore, they are on the leading edge of cool and might be the future of e-commerce marketing, which means brands that perfect this strategy will triumph.

Feel free to contact us if you want to create limited-edition branded products; we look forward to seeing your messages.

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