Why You Should Fall for Drop Culture
7 December 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
Have you ever walked down a London road and wondered why there’s a seemingly random queue spilling down the street? Chances are that they were keen consumers for the latest brand ‘drop’. Drop culture has become a prominent player both in and outside the fashion industry, relying heavily on social media to showcase their limited wares. It’s a strategy we’re seeing an increased use of, as consumers are generally less likely to show continued brand loyalty. What can drop culture achieve – and can it work for all?
What is drop culture?
In a nutshell, a ‘drop’ refers to a limited product release with little to no prior warning. Although the drop culture name was associated with sneakers early on, some argue that the likes of H&M and Zara are the true starting point, using their frequent product deliveries to their advantage. There’s now a real sense of achievement in acquiring something from a limited collection, even to the point of consumers getting others to queue for them. Many types of brand, such as streetwear, aren’t typically held to any kind of traditional season, so have free rein to drop a product bombshell whenever they please. The strategy feeds into the element of surprise – a tactic that could well be a winning formula in times of pandemic retail despair. As it becomes more difficult to cut through the digital noise, consumers are finding their attention overwhelmed and fleeting. There’s also an increased appetite for scarcity and a desire for what’s new.
Does it work for everyone?
There are a lot of plus points that come with adopting this strategy. In order to cope with the need for instant gratification, brands can leverage timing, language and visual style to win a new batch of pre-Christmas consumers. A fashion brands in particular can use this method to test new product in small doses, as well as drive greater traffic and create all-important excitement. Digital content can create itself, as eager consumers snap and upload their coveted products. Customers trust the opinions of those they know more than anyone, replicating the traditional word of mouth effect.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this flash-fashion strategy may not work for everyone. The idea of surprise and novelty mainly plays into the hands of Gen Z and Millennial consumers, who require the greatest need for continuous innovation. If a drop doesn’t feel authentic to a brand, it’s less likely to work. That being said, a drop provides a great platform for brands to create something together, or the chance to bring the perspective of an influencer on board. There doesn’t even need to be a real limited selection of a product – a brand only needs to play into the illusion of it, to generate needed hype and urgency. There’s no getting away from living in an ‘on demand’ society, and after the events of 2020, an unexpected product drop could create the best surprise consumers didn’t know they needed.
Photo source: https://news.sky.com/