One morning in November, while we were at the Cacio e Pepe creative agency, Thinking about the strategy to be adopted for his fundraiser, the founder of a fashion brand, whose name I will not mention, drops me: “Exciting investors ?! Don’t worry, I’m doing my business. Organize a few drops that will all end. , as if by magic, sold out, and that’s it! ” So, cop or do you abandon this strategy?
Where does the fall of sight come from?
While the word “drop” has integrated our lexical field, especially that of the younger ones, is it so obvious to specify where it comes from and what are the ingredients of this approach? Unlike DNVB, these vertical brands born online and whose genesis we have specified in a previous article, it is not easy to accurately date when the first steps of this approach date back even if, we give back to Caesar what belongs to Kanye. Kanye West was in fact one of the forerunners when he dropped the Nike Air Yeezy 1 in 2009 which was a real success, immediately sold out and whose price still flirts with $ 5,000 versus roughly $ 250 during release – according to StockX. .
It is therefore not easy to put a cross on a specific day, but the end of the 2000s seems to herald the advent of this model, with in particular the rise to power of brands such as Supreme, true standard-bearer of the drop culture whose origins they are designed by the world of skateboarding but above all the distribution method has defined a standard, as demonstrated by the queues on and off line every Thursday, drop days! James Jebbia, founder of the brand, has always specified that none of the Supreme products would have the name of “limited series” but that he would never produce large quantities because “we don’t want to get stuck with things nobody wants”.
What is a drop?
A drop is therefore a scenario for the sale of a product in small or large quantities … right Nike? – having wisely prepared and accustomed their community to run as soon as the sale opens. This is almost like an ephemeral sale even if we immediately understand that it is actually a matured distribution strategy, which naturally responds to the desires of consumers fed with algorithms and petrified by the idea of losing a successful product, whose value on the market. secondary can go up quickly. It is therefore a distribution model, even an organization quite distant from a so-called “wholesale” model which, on the contrary, has taken the time to present its new collections to a series of “business” players who have brought a filter before the final customer can – decide to – act. Read here that it is therefore not a pre-order but a model where the collections are imagined and structured by the brand that voluntarily decides to “release” the products in sequences, more or less close together and more or less numerous. There is talk of “drop”, “installment” and brands like Aime Leon Dore in which LVMH Ventures has just taken a financial stake have become the new masters of the discipline.
Controlling its distribution therefore seems to be one of the keys to taking this approach! Indeed, articulating a decline in a wholesale world remains complex unless this world is lucky enough to be able to count on two brilliant entrepreneurs, a mother and a daughter who, through the collaborations they offer, have added an element and a frame this equation thanks to their concept store rue Saint-Honoré. I am obviously referring to Colette.
For more than 20 years Colette has allowed brands to test their ability to federate a community around a sale, often in collaboration with an artist, another house … and therefore, even for those whose model does not builds on its own network distribution, to capture and create this breath in a schedule that customers now find too predictable. But… wait a second, I was told that Colette has been closed since December 20th 2017! Wouldn’t it therefore be smarter to delete the few lines we have just proposed? No… do not panic, Colette could think of a return and has just re-emerged with the drop of an NFT project involving the well-known artist of the nostalgic of rue Saint-Ho: Craig Redman.
Are NFTs the Missing Link in a Release Strategy?
We have just illustrated that a drop strategy is realized, in most cases, in a simpler and more natural way for brands that have a direct relationship with their customers. On the contrary, brands whose development is based on a network of retailers have established relationships with customers, but rather with more B2B customers: concept stores, department stores, etc. and therefore they do not necessarily have a commercial relationship with – their – customers from the “street”.
That said, with or without its own distribution, a brand seeks to develop a community and has certain tools to achieve this. However, in terms of distribution, it cannot perfectly and virtuously optimize this effort. Aren’t Web3 and NFT as an access key becoming the omnichannel answer gamers have been waiting for? In fact, one could imagine a world in which a brand offers to integrate its family by holding an NFT that it would have offered and that could itself allow all the players in the supply chain to install a creation of shared value. .
Let’s take an example. I buy a product of the X brand in a network that does not belong to it but rather on an e-retailer or on a resale platform … if these operate under web3, that is, they do not offer me the connection via login or password but to connect my wallet at the time of the transaction. Two potential options could arise: I already have an X brand NFT or the product benefits from a dual digital which takes the form of a product NFT, then of course X will be notified of this purchase and can get in touch with me, thank you but also and above all thanks to the e-retailer or the platform! And, it goes without saying, once this relationship is established or strengthened, access to the drop becomes obvious.
Even if this example, not so prospective or science fiction like that one, highlights the technological and space-time barriers necessary for its realization, I would like, in conclusion, to maintain the importance of optimizing the relationship with the final customer, in particular for as regards a so-called drop strategy, i.e. all the actors involved in the luxury and fashion sector: producers, brands, marketing agencies, etc. they must place faithfully and technologically at the center of their economic model.
Olivier Rivard-Cohen is the founder of the creative agency Cacio e Pepe and the founder and host of the Grass podcasts.