Eight Tips for Shopping a Hot Product Drop
Due in part to production and storage limitations, some small business tend to offer their products in "drops", also known as "launches" or "openings". Meaning, on a certain date and time, their products become available all at once and then sold until gone.
The biggest issue for the consumer is that for those companies with product demand that is double or even quadruple their stock availability, products can sell out fast and if you drop the ball, you wind up missing out on the items you really want.
As a true addict of small boutique bath and body products, I have experienced the agony of just missing out on hard to get products from shops like Fortune Cookie Soap, which just had an awesome Christmas in July sale. Or Moona Lisa, which still seems to elude me. As I prepare myself for a couple of upcoming launches, I thought I'd share a few tips for handling a limited online product drop.
1. Do your research ~ I can't stress this enough! Understand the parameters of the release. Double check to see that you know the correct date and time. Is it in the same time zone as you? If not, you need to adjust so that you are ready to shop at the corresponding time in your time zone. Make sure you know how any discounts work. Do you have to purchase specific products? A certain quantity of products? Or a certain dollar amount? Are items excluded from the sale pricing? Make sure you join their e-mail list and follow them on social media. Hints, special deals and other nuggets of information may be offered via select media, but may not be repeated across all.
2. Make a list, and by list I mean a budget ~ So of course you want to, if possible, make as detailed a list of the items you want to purchase and the quantities, then do the math. Is this going to work with what you actually are willing and able to spend? Now, I am an addict, so this next tidbit may not be for you, but I set aside a little each pay period in a special fund, yes, I actually have a separate bank account with a separate debit card for my bath and body purchases, into which I direct deposit money from my paycheck. Extreme, but it has helped me #managethebeast. Yeah, I said it. But that's just me, all I'm saying is set your boundaries ahead of time so you don't waste time calculating at check out.
3. Find a shopping buddy ~ When you can split your shopping list with a friend shopping at the same time, you have less items you need to grab and run with and therefore increase your chances of getting the items you want.
4. Test/check your systems and arrive early ~ Make sure you have the best internet connection possible. Test web page loading times on different internet connections if necessary to find your best accessible connection. If you can, shop from a desktop or laptop. Sometimes websites are optimized for displaying properly on mobile devices.
Be ready to start shopping the minute the site opens, so be settled and set up the next tip well in advance of the launch time. Starting a minute or so before the launch, refresh your browser every couple of seconds until the store opens to get a jump start.
5. Use multiple tabs ~ If the online store will sell items that are already listed on the site, open a tab to each product's ordering page (see below). This way you can immediately dump your items into your shopping cart simply refreshing and adding the item(s) to your cart on each tab. Once you get them all in, just refresh your browser and all the items should be in your cart ready to check out. PLEASE NOTE: This may not work if you use different browser windows, you need to use TABS and this will not work if the store shuts down and them moves products to different locations to facilitate special pricing.
6. Take advantage of deals ~ Grab a few doorbuster items, (items for sale at amazing prices to get customers to shop) as well as buying multiples to see savings. Also, try to grab something that you know is popular. If you have a couple of things you don't like by sniffing, many of these companies have dedicated Facebook groups where you can sell or swap items. This is also a great place to find items that you may have missed. There are also sell/swap groups on Facebook and on other forums where you can unload items you might not like once receiving. (Selling in these groups is also a way to raise a little cash to use during a drop sale).
7. Copy/Paste or store info ~ Some browsers (I use Chrome) will save your credit card information as well as your billing name and address. This can save valuable time when checking out. If you prefer not to, or use an internet browser that doesn't have this function, type out your information in a word document or on a notepad document on your computer. Then you can just copy and paste in at checkout time. It's also good to store any discount code you need this way so you can copy and paste it as well.
8. Multiple check outs ~ Grab what you really want and check out quickly. However, if there are some things you missed, or may decide could fit your budget, go back for seconds. Some online stores allow people to hold items in their carts for several minutes without allowing it to be sold so that the customer has time to check out. If this is the case and someone decides not to purchase something in their cart, the inventory will be release to be sold once they check out or in a few minutes. Check back, some things may become available again. Many sellers will combine your orders and refund the extra shipping, BUT NOT ALL, this is where your research comes in handy.
These tips can help, though I can't guarantee that you'll get everything you want. There is just no way to know exactly what the stock levels are at the time of launch and how the online shopping cart works (sells items immediately, removing them from carts or allows carts to hold products for several minutes or until check out). But, if you use some of these tips to prepare, you could see a difference in your ability to grab hot merchandise.
Just a few upcoming product drops happening in the coming weeks:
- Handmade in Florida August 1st
- Petal Bath Boutique August 15th
- Tangles & Beyond August 15th
- Moona Lisa Early August (7th or 8th possibly)
Have you done any of the things and had good results? What other tips do you have for getting hard to get merchandise during a drop sale?
Until next time, Love Buds,
Peace, Love & Lots of Bubbles!