In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?-Roy H. Williams
I love Woot. Frankly I don’t buy much from them, but I attribute the friendly, funny copywriting technique that we see on Groupon to Woot.
If you are not familiar with their “Woot-Off” sale, they have a one day sale where you buy a mysterious product for $5 with free shipping. You could get a bag of rocks, a big screen TV or any other random product that they sell.
This hustle tactic is how I used a similar promotion to increase sales 300% for a startup that was trying to compete with eBay.
We ran a “Grab Bag” sale where for $10, customers could receive a Wii accessory, a random book or a Wii console. There were 50 bags for customers to choose from, but they had no idea what they were buying. To my surprise, our first “Grab Bag” sale sold out within the first hour of launch.
We ran the promotion a couple more times which led to 300% month over month growth in sales.
Here are the key elements of why this campaign was so successful. I would say as a caveat that you should NOT run this promotion too often. It becomes a commodity and can have diminishing effects on sales.
Give Consumers a Carrot
In Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational, he tells a story of how he let kids choose between a big snickers bar versus 6 snack bite ones during Halloween. I forget the exact split but let’s say more than 70% of the kids chose the big snack snickers bar. However, the 6 snack bite ones ended up having more chocolate than the big bar.
The lesion is that consumers are attracted to big shiny objects and tend to focus on the possibility of the “big prize” rather than the probability of it. The California lottery is a fantastic example.
On the day of the promotion I sent out an email to the effect of get a “Wii console for just $10”. I don’t remember my exact words but I definitely made it known that there was a Wii console hidden in one of the 50 bags.
This “carrot” is the key ingredient in the success of this campaign. There’s no way we would have sold out of the Grab Bag in the first hour without giving our customers a reason to buy.
A Sense of Control
During any particular “Woot-off” you just click buy and then they ship out their random product.
However, in the Grab Bag promotion I wanted to give consumers a sense of control so I allowed them to pick the bag they wanted before checking out. It ended up having a secondary effect on conversions by showing that demand was actually occurring.
Limited availability is an art perfected by Groupon and other daily deal sites. Deals only last a few days, so if you’re on the fence you better get off and buy.
We decided to limit our “Grab Bag” campaign to the first 50 customers. Could we have done more? We didn’t test it, but we knew 50 would be enough scarcity to drive demand.
Try this on your e-commerce store. It’s a fun little promotion that you can run during a holiday sale.
How to Increase Sales by NOT Showing Your Customers What They’re Buying <- Click to tweet
How a Bag of Rocks Can Increase Your Conversions <- Click to tweet
What clever promotions have you run? Do you think this is a sneaky technique? Would this work in a SAS business model?