23 August 2023 |

SEASONAL drop strategy

By Ari Murray

SEASONAL PRODUCT DROP STRATEGYΒ 

I know we’re approaching Labor Day Weekend. However, it is with a heavy heavy-handed on the whipped cream, pumpkin-spiced heart that I inform you that SUMMER IS OVER. 

“But, ARI! THAT’S SO MEAN! GIVE US 2 LAST SUMMER WEEKENDS! It’s still August!!!”

Quit your whining (respectfully). THIS WEEK, our beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte hit STARBUCKS NATIONWIDE.

Turn on Gilmore Girls, and get ready to switch gears PRONTO. 

Au revoir August, enchantΓ© Autumn. 

Going-to-Market is part art, part science.

You have to time the market. But, time in market also matters.

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A seasonal SKU sure is under a LOT OF PRESSURE: 

If you go out too early, will there be demand? Are your customers ready?

If you go out too late, will you have enough time to DEPLETE your inventory?

The 2 questions of the day. ^ 

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You see, dear reader, that this is an important equation to get right. 

And, it’s not just about latte preferences. While there’s never usually a black and white, across the board board solution to commerce’s biggest questions, I have a very strong opinion here. 

I don’t care what you’re selling.

I don’t care if you think it’s lame to talk about Halloween in September. I don’t care if it’s 104 degrees where you are. If there’s a seasonality to a particular SKU, and if it is meant to live onsite for a temporary amount of time, YOU BETTER GO OUT EARLY.

Why? 

BECAUSE THE MARKET LEADERS WILL.

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And, if you’re not ready to drop when they drop, you’ll be chasing their tail through peppermint season. 

It’s Starbucks’ world and we’re just living in it. (And, speaking of market leaders – Fashion Week shows Spring/Summer ’24 in SEPTEMBER ’23). THAT’S CONSIDERED GOING OUT EARLY, FYI! 

And, there’sΒ only so muchΒ pumpkinΒ spice that we can each handle (there are alsoΒ only so manyΒ sweaters that your customer will buy each Fall,Β only so manyΒ pairs of clogs that they will purchase this year, etc. etc. and so on and so forth).Β 

So, it’s decided that we’ll launch EARLY. But, what’s the move?

What’s the drop strategy??

Thank you so much for asking. 

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HERE’S A MADE UP EXAMPLE

OF WHAT I’D DO:

Let’s make-believe that we’re working on a drop for a PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVOR FROM A PROTEIN BAR BRAND (let’s pretend we’re bringing back a SKU that we’ve dropped for the last couple of years). 

Let’s drop the flavor on site on September 1st. Set the mood. Give all of the Fall vibes. Fall inspired PDP. Pumpkin-centric homepage hero.

In our slide cart let’s add pumpkin as the default in-cart upsell (whenever pumpkin isn’t already present in-cart, when pumpkin is present, we’ll use logic to customize the products shown).

After your customer places their order, let’s offer them the chance to double the quantity for 20% off the whole order. 

Once their order arrives, let them enjoy it for a bit.

Let’s PUMP a fuck-ton of UGC, influencer content, paid ads, and TikTok reviews into the ecosystem for all of September. LET’S GET THE F’ING WORD OUT THAT OUR PUMPKIN PROTEIN BAR IS A SEASONAL DELICACY. 

Acquire as many pumpkin-loving customers as you can in September. 

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Convince them to buy. And, then. Let’s wait… πŸ§›πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

πŸ”₯ Then, once they’ve worked through a bit of their stash, let’s scare them! BOO!

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We’re running LOW!!!! THE HORROR! NO MORE PUMPKIN TIL 2024!! STOCK UP OR ELSE. (Let’s do this on like October 6th). SMS. Email. IG. TikTok PSA. πŸ§›πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Then, let’s stock out. Fully. For 8 days. Or, whatever amount of time is actually believable. 

So now, it’s October 15th-ish.

πŸ”₯ WE HAVE A SPOOKY SURPRISE! BASED ON YOUR INCREDIBLE DEMAND (we really appreciate your support and are blown away), WE WERE ABLE TO PRODUCE AN EXTRA BATCH OF OUR BELOVED PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVOR.

(Do this via email and by SMS).

On social, let’s do a story with a swipe-up that opts them into our SMS list so they can be notified when pumpkin hits the site for the FINAL TIME THIS YEAR.

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πŸ”₯ Onsite, let’s add a notify me to the PDP (where we collect both SMS and email address). 

Then, let’s set a drop-date. October 20th-ish. 

πŸ”₯ Count-down clock goes up on site. 

It’s October 20th. SHOWTIME BABY. 

Self portrait ^

πŸ”₯ Send the SMS and email that pumpkin is back onsite 2 hours before you announce it on social. Send the messages with a code. DIRECT YOUR CRM TRAFFIC TO A PUMPKIN BUNDLE LANDING PAGE…

πŸ”₯ USE CODE ILOVEPUMPKIN FOR 20% OFF ALL PUMPKIN BUNDLES.

If you usually sell your bars in boxes of 12, let’s sell them in bundles of 24, too. The code only works on bundles (AKA, in this fake example, 24-packs). ONLY DISCOUNTING ON OUR high value orders (only on the 24-packs). 

Then, once your most loyal customers have had time to shop their lil hearts out, post across social. 

Now, we let it ride.

If we haven’t sold out by October 31st, it’s okay (just don’t tell our customers that). Take the pumpkin SKU offsite on October 31st. It’s offsite permanently for the rest of the year. Or is it???? SHH… 

πŸ”₯ BFCM is right around the corner and we’ll be more than willing to bring Pumpkin back to site for BFCM ONLY. 

Hey, November is technically still Fall, right?

Right.

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