Limited Edition Cravings
What is it with us (women) and limited edition? For some reason, the minute I see an item is limited edition, something gets a whole different appeal to it. That something is suddenly a must have that I can barely live without. The thrill that I will be able to own or use something limited edition is indescribable. Just the other week, there was this makeup item that I wanted and realized was sold out in the Netherlands everywhere. Having called 10 different stores and each make-up artist laughingly hanging up with “good luck;)”, I was even more sure that this was a must-have. Some favors later and some serious effort translating the site from French to Dutch, I got my hands on it. However, it got me wondering. What happens in our brain that makes us want to buy something that much more if it’s a limited edition? Is it just a marketing stunt and how does it even work? That will be discussed on this week’s blog!
Something You Can’t Have
The concept behind limited edition products is very simple, a basic to economics: scarcity creates demand. It is caused by people’s (make that my own) fear of missing out. It the potential loss of something without having had the opportunity to possess it.
Our primary instincts to maintain a share of limited commodity comes in to play. Driving us to action, buying whatever it is they are selling as limited. Not being able to buy something due to the limited amount for sale makes us feel restricted in our freedom to choose, think and or act. In reaction to this experience of restriction, we act irrationally and a craving is created. How does it make you feel if someone says you can’t have something? You (me in particular) want it even more.
During our Bachelors, we also learned about some called risk aversion. When we model choices for study purposes, one usually takes utility maximization as the objective. Utility maximization is the concept of optimizing your decision making. Getting the most out of your money for instance. However, our professor Chorus has proven that in the end choices are more dictated by risk aversion. We are more afraid of losing out on an opportunity than we appreciate a potential gain. We would end up buying something out of fear of missing out instead of optimizing our spending budget.
The critical elements in a marketing strategy for a limited edition product: deadlines, limited space/numbers/access, potential loss and restricting freedom. Include these in your own marketing strategy and you are guaranteed a golden ticket to success.
Knowing this, I feel so transparent in my buying behavior. I seem to be the ideal client in all aspects. I intend to use this information to try and stop myself next time I am falling for the limited edition trap. In the meantime, I just try to stay away from potentially risky stores. MAC, Kusmi, Sephora, the list is long… What is your plan? Let us know in the comment section below.