A limited edition product campaign entails a brand creating what many would hold to be a ‘unique’ item that could be sold only over a given, fixed time frame, in specific markets. This marketing effort is backed by a strategy wherein even small or medium-sized business enterprises could attract new customers while effortlessly creating hype around the product.
The limited edition strategy isn’t just a technique used by big companies — it can be a great way for small and medium-sized businesses also to attract new customers and get them into the store.
Before coming up with the product itself, brands often ask themselves the question, ‘What do we want to achieve with this product?’ With such a strategy at play, a brand can seek to increase sales among first-time customers, create a boost in sales during a specific period during the year, or even simply generate greater viewership on social media. The target market then becomes a crucial factor, as determining the demography can help ease, as well as, scale up a product launch in a new market.
This particular concept is not only used to draw newer customers to the brand, but also, give previous products a bit of a boost, reintroduce the brand in a new way, or merely keep loyal customers thoroughly engaged. A perfect example of this is Ben & Jerry’s Ice-Cream. Their strategy of combining two things everyone loves; one being pop-culture, and other delicious desserts – is a clear win-win for everyone involved, and engaged with the brand. These limited edition ice creams always made a tribute to many loved television shows, musicians, actors and movies. Starting with a flavour inspired by the late Jerry Garcia from the movie, The Grateful Dead; ‘Cherry Garcia’, the first ripple in the wave of limited edition products that were to come, had been successfully launched, and gladly received.
Limited edition products can even appear in the form of ‘Specials’ announced in a cafe on particular days only, or even on online shopping websites that offer 50% off on shipping for the first 500 customers. The essence of the strategy is to create an urgency of desire, encouraging customers to tap into their fear of missing out, or subconsciously give in to the perceived hype made around the brand itself. Limited edition products can also be a success by making products available only at stores and not through online portals. Creating only a certain number of items in stock, especially from a popular brand also contributes greatly to the power of this marketing.
An example of such a marketing style under the roof of limited edition strategies can be seen with Supreme. Being an established American skateboarding shop and clothing brand, Supreme stands today, a huge representative of the youth culture as associated with skateboarding, hip-hop and rock.
The brand stands as an ambassador of cultural fanfare, with many using the products to impress those around them, creating a high demand and subsequently, an even higher amount of people willing to pay more for it. Supreme’s products therefore, underwent the process of ‘reselling’ wherein Supreme experienced, (and continues to) a type of inflation that exceeds even Kanye West’s line of ‘Yeezy’.
Supreme sells clothing products that suit the time and culture of their specific target market, and release it in limited quantities. With a high amount of demand and a limited amount of the desired product, each new release is met with such excitement that they could even sell a logo-branded brick and people would buy, and resell it; which they did.
Essentially; making something limited edition isn’t a guaranteed method to success. Customers can love and hate the brand at the same time; for offering what they want, while creating a dramatic or unnecessary urgency behind it, respectively. In many cases, it can also result in a market too over-inflated for the resale of the products itself. Therefore, keeping all the different faces of limited edition marketing in mind, one must implement a suitable strategy after accurately taking into account the product, its need in the market, the market itself and the personality of the brand.