Why customers line up to purchase your product

I had a lovely day walking around the streets of Brisbane, QLD Australia this afternoon.  Great weather, nice parks, lots of people on the street.

About halfway into my walk I came across a long line of people. Why were they lined up? Probably to see a new hit movie, I thought. A new store opening, perhaps. The crowd was younger (than me) but they were much more reserved than I expected. After all, if you are going to a movie, you are usually with your friends and talking – in anticipation or just socializing.

This line of people was different. Quiet, intent and patient.

Imagine my surprise when I saw what they were waiting in line to purchase …Krispy Kreme Donuts!

Yes, the “Hot Light” was on – signaling that they were “fresh” from the oven. But this was a beautiful sunny day – and the early afternoon. And, this was in a pedestrian mall in an urban setting. Not, to my mind, the expected result. I like donuts in the morning. I like them hot and fresh. I like to enjoy them along with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.

Not here. Not on this beautiful day in Brisbane. No place to sit and read and sip a beverage while you enjoy your Krispy Kreme. Lots of people lined up to purchase. Lots of desire and anticipation. Lots of donuts sold. Somthing special was definitely going on…

Buy why? Perhaps it is the “law of scarcity.” This was the only Donut shop that I observed on my walk. I saw lots of (mostly empty) Starbucks cafes. There are a lot of McDonald’s restaurants here. But only one Krispy Kreme!

Back home in the USA, Krispy Kreme was quite the “thing” when they first expanded beyond their home base. I live in Califormia but had experienced Krispy Kremes for years when I visited North Carolina. My wife is a native of Low Angeles and she went “wild” when she had her first Krispy Kreme – with the “Hot Light” on – when we made a trip to the Carolinas. She couldn’t wait for their first store to open in Los Angeles.

But then… they over-expanded. All at once – almost overnight – they went from being something special to being, well… everywhere. In every neighborhood. In grocery stores.

They were everywhere – and yet nowhere. They lost their special appeal – before they gave the market enough time to realize how special they were. They didn’t give their product enough time to become special. They were more interested in growing fast. And they quickly lost their appeal – to many people.

So, it was a shock for me to see this line. I wasn;t expecting it. In my mind, I had written off Krispy Kreme as “yesterday’s news.” As a failed company. As a company that became so fixated on growth that they abandoned the details that had set them apart.

I investigated the Krispy Kreme website and found my answer. They just opened their first store in Brisbane on April 29th – two weeks ago! People camped out overnight in order to be the first in line to “experience” a Krispy Kreme.

The “Law of Scarcity” at work! Let’s see how long this will last here in Brisbane. Will they resist the temptation to “grow big fast?” Time will tell/

Too often, we become obsessed with  growing our business – more customers, more sales, more locations, more money. But we forget about what made us get into business in the first place. What made us special.

Today – halfway around the world – I witnessed a “throwback” in time. I was tempted – for a few moments – to join that line. To rekindle the spark of remembrance of my first Krispy Kreme 30 years ago!

But I didn’t. That spark was extingusihed a few years ago. Krispy Kreme went from being an extraordinary experience to something quite ordinary – nothing special. They violated the “Law of Scarcity.”

I had too much on my mind today to wait in line. I was exploring a new city – to me – and I didn’t have that much time to wait in line. That “magic act” had disappeared for me. Krispy Kreme was no longer special for me. My time was in short supply. Time, for me today, was my own “Law of Scarcity.”



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