How to Increase Sales by HIDING Your Products from Your Customers

Grab Bag Promotion

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.

The Promotion

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

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.

Tweet Relief

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?

31 Inspirational Quotes That You Should Print and Read Every Day

Inspirational Quotes

Done is better than perfect

- Mark Zuckerberg


Real artists ship.

- Steve Jobs


If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

-Reid Hoffman


Effort is grossly underrated.

- Gary Vaynerchuk


Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

- Bill Gates


The best way to ensure lucky things happen is to make sure a lot of things happen.

- Bo Peabody


This is my best piece of advice for any entrepreneur… the first 80% is easy, the next 15% is hard and last five percent is painful.

- Jason Calacanis


You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

- Richard Branson


If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.

-John D. Rockefeller


If you want to unleash more creativity in your company, you need to allow for a little contamination. It is the sand in the oyster that creates the pearl.

- Fred Wilson


Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

- Steve Jobs


If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

- Jim Rohn


The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

- Albert Einstein


If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.

- Woody Allen


A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.

- Charles M. Schwab


Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive

- Harold Thurman Whitman


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain


Constraint drives innovation.

- 37Signals


The difference between a vision and a hallucination is that other people can see the vision.

- Marc Andreessen


If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

- Timothy Ferriss


You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.

- Henry Ford


I played the game one way. I gave it everything I had. It doesn’t take any ability to hustle.

- Wade Boggs


What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110 percent all the time.

- Don Zimmer


I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.

- Warren Buffett


If you are going through hell, keep going.

- Winston Churchill


It’s pain that changes our lives.

- Steve Martin


The secret to success is to be willing to do the things that others aren’t and be prepared to do them for a really long time.

- John Jantsch


It’s empowering to be asked to look at what’s possible, not told how to do it.

- Jack Dorsey


Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.

- Seth Godin


Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Apple Inc.


Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

- Abraham Lincoln


Tweet Relief

31 Inspirational Quotes That You Should Print and Read Every Day <- Click to tweet

31 Quotes to Get You Off Your Butt <- Click to tweet