Frenzy, the mobile flash sales app from Shopify, held its first streetwear-focused “dropzone” sale event in a Los Angeles park last weekend, drawing more than 350 people to the exclusive release of a new sweatshirt from Anti Social Social Club, a Shopify spokeswoman told Retail Dive.
The sweatshirt was available for $88.88 for attendees of the event at LA’s Elysian Park. Last weekend’s sale followed a similar event in Canada in March, which drew hundreds of people to a sale of Kanye West’s Yeezy Boost 350 Zebra sneakers.
The dropzone events are intended to be exclusive flash sales targeting consumers in specific locations. Consumers find out about the event details via social media, then arrive at the location and can purchase the exclusive item by using the Frenzy app and Apple Pay fingerprint authentication.
In recent years, flash sales have proven an effective way to drive consumers to make purchases via mobile, something that every retailer is trying to figure out. As big brands have been launching their own mobile commerce apps to do more direct-to-consumer selling, exclusive sales events of limited duration have become a popular to release new products to loyal customers. Nike, for example, last year offered up its new self-lacing shoe to loyalty program members in an exclusive promotion, and its fellow major sportswear brands have conducted similar product releases.
Shopify's Frenzy gets the attraction of exclusivity and has added geo-targeting to the mix, as it seeks to be the engine that other brands can leverage to power their exclusive mobile flash sales. An earlier event in Canada involving adidas Canada resulted in hundreds of pairs of Yeezy Boost sneakers being sold in the span of a few hours, the Shopify spokeswoman said.
The nature of Frenzy's business model means that it must be able to provide scalability and reliability to support events that encourage quick-building spikes in network usage and app access. That foundation support comes from Shopify, which already supports 400,000 e-commerce stores, according to Loren Padelford, vice president and general manager of Shopify Plus, who mentioned Frenzy briefly during an interview with Retail Dive last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
"Our platform already supports way more stores than any single retailer has." Padelford said. "We're not going to crash, which is why celebrities and brands wanting to do flash sales choose to work with our Frenzy app." Shopify also earlier this year rolled out other tools to help brands and merchants manage flash sales.
The under-pinning infrastructure is important, but Frenzy wouldn't get very far if it didn't court partners with their own marketing energy. So far, it has worked with some pretty appropriate partners with which to co-market geo-targeted mobile flash sales, namely the streetwear brands Raised By Wolves, Off The Hook and, in this latest case, Anti Social Social Club. These brands also probably have a pretty clear idea where their core audiences reside, and where and when a flash sale might make sense.
That begs the question: Would this kind of model work with other kinds of brands and different types of merchant partners that don't have the broad brand awareness and deep resources to do it alone, or the trendiness and street credibility of a brand like Anti Social Social Club? That remains to be seen, but the Shopify spokeswoman said more exclusive, geo-targeted Frenzy dropzone events are being planned, with New York City and Chicago among upcoming locations targeted, so we should start finding out just how far this model can go to deliver the mobile commerce activity the sector has been demanding.