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Episode 42: How Urgency and Scarcity Boost Sales (Transcript)

Apr 20, 2021



Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:26):
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of pixie dust and profits. So today we’re going to talk about something really interesting that happened to Nicole and obviously it’s Disney related and what you can learn from it as a small business. So as you know, if you are a Disney fan, or if you’re planning a Disney trip, you need to reserve a park pass to go to a park on a given day, even if you have tickets. So if you’re an annual passholder, you can’t just like stroll up to magic kingdom and expect to be let in in order to control capacity, Disney has implemented the park reservation system and you have to book which park you’re going to well in advance in order to have admission. And, you know, as Disney trip planners, that’s not really that much different from, you know, thinking, Hey, if I’m going to be magic kingdom on Monday, I’m going to book magic kingdom restaurants, right?

Yasmine (01:17):
Like you have to make your dining reservations 180 days out in the past. Now it’s 60 days because of the COVID changes, but you know, planning is a normal part of a Disney trip. What it sucks for is the people who like to plan last minute trips and, you know, go to the parks and have fun or locals. They can’t just, again, like do it at the very last minute, because due to the scarcity of availability, people are just like booking out their spots further and further in advance. And Disney’s like most current popular park and believe it or not, it’s not magic kingdom. Hollywood studios is actually booked out until June 19th. So if you want to go to Hollywood studios, you can’t go until like June right now, which is crazy. You have to plan your trip at minimum two and a half months in advance at present, which great for people who are used to planning well in advance, not so great for people who live to finalize details a little bit closer to their trip. And Nicole, you recently had to sort of pull the trigger on buying tickets because of this very reason. Why don’t you tell us a bit

Nicole (02:18):
About that? Yeah, so we have a trip planned for June. That is a rescheduled trip from last June. My son’s birthday is happening and we had planned to go to Disney for it last year, obviously didn’t happen rescheduled. He’s been excited for a full year about this trip. And, you know, we had no idea it when vaccinations were happening, when it would be safe to travel so up until even a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know if we would be taking this trip. And it definitely put a damper on how I felt about planning. You know, Yasmin mentioned that if you’ve gone to Disney at all, you’re, you have to plan ahead. And so every time I’ve gone to Disney, I have probably had the plan signed, sealed and delivered at least six months before, because you needed to book your dining reservations that early.

Nicole (03:08):
And I kind of felt like I was getting down to the wire. I mean, it was March and I had three months until the trip and I still really didn’t have anything booked and truth be told, even though we have this podcast, I haven’t kept up to date on what their COVID policies are at the parks, because I feel like it’s just an ever-changing target. And so this past weekend, I said, you know, we actually have an appointment for a vaccination. Now we’re getting to the other side of this. We’re going to be vaccinated. We’re going to be able to go. This is going to be amazing. So I started pulling out all of my old spreadsheets for tracking for Disney trips and realized I had to book a park which I didn’t think was going to be the holdup. And I sat my son down and I said, Hey, what do you want to do on your birthday while we were at Disney world?

Nicole (03:58):
But one thing, do you want to make sure that we do? And he just kind of looked at me like, well, I’m going to be at Disney. I don’t know what else. And so I had to explain, you know, in six-year-old terms, well, if there’s one ride that you want to make sure you get on, on your birthday, what ride is it? And he goes, oh, toy story. That’s my favorite ride. So he’s talking about twice. Do I mid midway mania, which is something that we always had to fast pass to make sure we did for him. Fastpasses don’t exist now. So you’re going to have to be standing in line. And so I said, okay, so that means on your birthday, I need to book Hollywood studios. That’s where toy story mania is. We’re going to make sure we get that part for you.

Nicole (04:36):
Went to the website, pulled open the park reservation system and saw, oh my goodness, Hollywood studios is completely maxed out until just two days before our trip. So I need to book this now, before it’s not available on his birthday. And I fail which I’m pretty sure my kid would still be happy that we’re at Disney world, but, you know, I wanted to make sure he got on his favorite ride on his actual birthday. And so I dropped the $800 to buy tickets for my husband and my son that morning, even though I hadn’t budgeted for it until a few weeks later. And so I, I bought the tickets and I booked the date just to make sure that we had it. So this scarcity urgency being able to see the calendar right there, red, yellow, green, it was definitely a driver and a decision-maker for us because if I hadn’t seen that, I would have said, oh, we still have a little bit of time.

Nicole (05:31):
I can do this next week. But as more and more people are getting those vaccination appointments, I think they’re getting excited to travel. There’s hope again. And with Hollywood studios being so popular with, especially the new star wars expansion, it was just going to be the top park. And I’m glad we got it. I’m glad I noticed this past weekend because I would have been really bummed if we didn’t get to go there throughout our entire trip and, you know, toy story for him about my husband loves the star wars area too. So he would have been disappointed as well. And I think after a year of all of this, if I can get the two of them to get their favorite pieces of the Disney experience and I will be happy.

Yasmine (06:10):
So, Nicole, it’s really interesting that you mentioned all that because we’re seeing the exact same thing with reservations as well, but fast forward to October where Disney’s having their 50th anniversary celebration. In fact, we are going to Disney for pixie dust and profits alive from October 20th to 23rd. And we booked out the event. If you want to know more about the next one, hit us up@pixiedustandprofits.com slash live. You can get on the waitlist. And yeah, we had to like, sort of get everyone like, you know, signed up on board and book our reservations for hotel rooms. Cause literally day by day, we were seeing that they were like disappearing and we want to make sure everyone was like staying at the same resort, staying together. You know, to really have like the best experience overall

Nicole (06:55):
Minimize works that haven’t traditionally had problems with availability. You know, the resort you can always count on as being available disappearing right before our eyes. So Saratoga

Yasmine (07:06):
Springs, I have a family vacation that I’m going on. Like literally the week after I am seeing that availability is running out for the rooms that I wanted to book for that trip. So that’s like getting me kind of like anxious and being like, oh gosh, I have to actually finalize this trip so we can get like a bigger room that will accommodate my entire family that’s coming with me.

Nicole (07:26):
So this is like, you’ve got so many things that are like factoring into this scarcity, right? You’ve got the Disney planners who have had to cancel their trips for at least like a year now, more like a year and a half. You’ve got people who are getting vaccinated and, and getting excited and ready for vacations again. And then you have the 50th anniversary, which is supposed to be like this big blow up. Like hopefully they have fireworks again, there’s new parades. There’s a whole new show that’s supposed to happen at Epcot. You know, all of this excitement after so long of being home and you know, not taking vacations, it has led to extreme scarcity and the urgency gets thrown in because there’s only a limited number of spots because they’re still throttling how many people can come and Disney world because of the pandemic.

Nicole (08:15):
So it’s just created this bubble that at some point we it’s going to topple over, right. There’s going to be nothing available. Prices are probably going to go up because they can charge more with the demand so high. And there’s a lot of business lessons to be learned here. I know that you, this is kind of a pressure cooker situation. You can’t replicate some pieces of scarcity and urgency. Like you, can’t all of a sudden have a 50th year anniversary if it’s your first year in business, obviously, but there’s still lessons here that we can learn about. We can always think about the things that we’re doing in our business in terms of like, why is this offer right now? Like why do they this right now? What makes it urgent for them? What makes it scare us for them to get? So there’s just a lot of things you can think about when you’re talking about product launches or restocking on your website.

Nicole (09:09):
We just recently sent out an email saying, Hey, we stopped to the t-shirts on our website, go to pixie dust and profits.com/shop and you’ll find them. And you know, that was a scarcity tactic too, because we, we don’t order bulk quantities of shirts. I don’t have the space to high, have high inventory here, but we do love our shirts and you guys love them too. So just kind of letting you know they’re available again, but they won’t be for long because we don’t keep a ton of them on hand. And you know, it was really helpful for you, but also helpful for us. So that way we can plan ahead and it’s kind of like open cart, close cart situation.

Yasmine (09:47):
Yeah. So like Nicole mentioned for all the product shop owners out there, whether it’s even, I think this could work for a course too, depending on how you set things up. But letting people know that you have limited inventory tends to drive sales because they know that they can’t sort of sit on it. If they want to get the product, they gotta like whip out their credit card, letting someone know something is limited edition for products. Again, if you create something that’s sort of like a one-off and won’t be restocked again, that also creates some urgency because it’s a now or never situation. Another thing that you can do is if you’re launching a product for the first time, we see this a lot on the digital product and education side with courses, you have a launch price, you discount it off the regular price and let people in at a certain price point.

Yasmine (10:30):
And then the price goes up after a certain date. Like again, throwing a lot of things at you, but a final thing that you can do for all you product owners out there. And I do this quite a bit with my product based clients is we do pre-orders for items. So a, it helps us determine demand B. We offer a pre-order item at a discounted price to just drive that urgency. And we close pre-orders after a certain date. So we have literally a cart close period. And what we do is based off of those numbers, we always order a little bit extra, you know, just for the people who missed out, because we know that demand is going to be there, but we charge them like our regular retail price. We remove the discount and then it stopped in the shop and it’s a limited quantity and they go pretty quick.

Yasmine (11:10):
So key takeaways here are, if you want to push a product and move it fast. So people don’t just sit on it because the thing is, is if you don’t really have urgency to get something, a lot of the times they’ll just buy it later. It’s like, how many times Nicole, have you seen an ad for something and thought, oh, that’s cute. I’m going to buy it later because I don’t have my credit card near me. Or you know, there’s something that you want to get, but then you just like keep forgetting and you sort of like, sit on, sit on. And then it gets to a point it’s like, yeah, I guess I don’t need any way as a seller. Like, that’s the worst thing that you want people’s experience. You want to make it super easy for them to make that decision to purchase.

Yasmine (11:46):
So to recap, you can call something limited edition. It’s a one-off and it won’t be back. You can let people know if limited inventory is available. And what I would say is be very honest with this. Like, don’t say like, oh, I only have like a limited item of everything. Cause after a while that song gets old and people will sort of like figure out that you’re probably lying. If, and like never lie to your customers again, you want to be super honest. The third thing that you can do is offer them a discounted launch price or a discount for a certain period ended after a while. So the price goes up and the fourth thing that sort of relates there is just do the pre-order for a certain products again, to anticipate demand, to give the people who jumped in early and who were waiting a little bit of a discount and order a few extra at regular retail price. So you can capture all the people who come across a product a couple of weeks later, they’re like, oh man, I missed out. Then you got, you have happy customers there too.

Nicole (12:39):
And I know we talked a lot about product sellers specifically, but if you’re a digital product seller where you sell templates or PDFs or anything like that, courses, that type of thing, some of the things that you can do are a bonus that’s only offered for that short period of time. You often see this with people who are selling their books or pre-ordering their books. You know, pre-order my book now and get access to this live training. So that’s something else you can do where you can say, okay, if you buy the course within this 48 hour period, I’m going to have a group coaching call, you know, 30 days from now. So that way after you go through the materials, you can ask me anything. And that’s something that’s not offered if you buy this and it’s evergreen format where it’s always available to you.

Nicole (13:24):
So there are things like that that you can do. And again, reiterating like, be honest with your customers, don’t create false urgency. You know, if the price is going up, the price is going up, but don’t, you know, lie about it. No one feels good about that. And if your customer finds out about it afterward, there, it’s just not a good customer experience. And you know, of everything that we talk about customer experience is always number one, because that’s what keeps people coming back, right? And if you’re a service provider, something that you can do for the urgency limited edition feeling is just being honest that, you know, I can start working with you now, but my schedule is very booked or I have a vacation coming up and I don’t want that to get in the way of the work that you need to do.

Nicole (14:09):
So the earlier we start, the better we can be. When that period comes, you know, just being really honest about your time, because you are a service provider is another way to, you know, create the urgency, but also, you know, get them to make a decision because sometimes it’s a really hard investment for them to make in a service provider. And you can say, you know, here’s the results I’d expect. Here’s what I think the first month would look like if you started now. And so if they can start envisioning themselves and what that future state looks like, it’s a real, it’s much easier for them to, to jump in. Then if you’re just saying like, yeah, I can start Monday. It’s different than saying, yeah. You know, if we start now, then by May 15th, I can imagine that this would be done and that would be done. And I take that off your plate. It’s a different conversation when you frame it that way with them to say, imagine what it will be like if you hire me right now versus, you know, kind of telling them what they get.

Yasmine (15:06):
Absolutely. In fact one of my sort of favorite tactics, so to speak and to all my clients who are listening, I apologize is on like sort of discovery calls if I really want to work with someone, but they’re not even if they’re not sure, but I always sort of close the call with, you know, if nothing changes in the next, like six months to a year, how would you feel? And you just get them to think about the future state, where everything is the same and they still have those same frustrations, that’s urgency, right? They don’t want to feel that way anymore. They want to experience change now. And that usually helps them make their decision a little bit faster. You know, whether they do want to work with me or not. Yeah. There’s lots and lots of takeaway from this. Again, urgency is often seen as sort of like us scummy like very marketing salesy tactic, but I don’t think it has to be that way.

Yasmine (15:57):
It’s all about how you present the information, how honest you are with how you’re selling your products. There’s nothing wrong with having deadlines for when people can get it on offers. You can’t support discount forever. There’s nothing wrong with creating limited edition one-off things, because you know, you’re doing something special and you can only stock a certain inventory or maybe that’s your business model. You just create sort of like one-off items and smaller quantities. Cause you’re a small batch creator and that’s okay too. But we hope between everything that Disney is sort of not like forcefully doing, but benefiting from definitely with Hollywood studios, the park pass reservation system and the 50th anniversary that’s coming up, which mind you is actually running for like a year and a half. So if you’re not there in October, you are not missing out. You got some fun takeaways about how you can implement their strategies in your own business.

Nicole (16:49):
So if you want to learn more about our next live event, you can go to pixiedustandprofits.com/live and sign up for the wait list. If you want to buy a t-shirt from our shop, you could go to pixiedustandprofits.com/shop. But if none of that applies for you, no urgency intended. You can just send us a message on Instagram because we love hearing from you. We’re @pixiedustandprofits. We will see you real soon at our next episode.



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