She said customers were especially susceptible to this type of entertainment during the pandemic, when they were bored at home. “An interesting question would be in a year or two, is this a permanent change to the business model or are we going to go back to a more seasonal sales model?” she said.
It also changes consumer behavior, said Abigail Sussman, a behavioral scientist and marketing professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “It turns a decision that you could postpone — maybe you will buy something later or not at all — into something you have to buy right now,” she said.
For smaller businesses, selling a set amount of inventory at specific times means less overhead.
Before the pandemic, Miriam Weiskind, who lives in Brooklyn, quit her job as an art director to pursue her passion of making pizza. Her dream, like many chefs, is to open a restaurant, but the economics of that are daunting. So in the meantime, she started The Za Report. Using a drop model, she sells her pies twice a week at breweries and street fairs.
She announces where she will be on Instagram a few days in advance, and lines are usually waiting for her when she opens. She sells 70 to 120 pies at a time, and some days they sell out within an hour.
She likes that her overhead is low and believes this sales model allows her to sell her pies at higher prices (they range from $18 to $24). “It keeps the demand high and the supply low,” she said. “Each pie is special because I don’t make that many of them, so I can charge a lot more.”
Bear Walker, in Daphne, Ala., makes skateboards that have pop-culture themes like Pokemon or Marvel Comics. He releases one collection, each with only 250 boards, every six weeks.