The sweet obsession of the new year

As much as we try to resist it, the new regularity of things is a heavy force on our consciences: a new Samsung phone. A new phone case. A new wallpaper. A new sportswear brand. A new signature scent (and yet another pair of socks). Now that 2019 is on the horizon, it’s become axiomatic that there’s another new product coming out — or on the verge of hitting the stores (also, some redesigned car seats, adorable kid IKEA products, the revival of Doc McStuffins).

Not surprisingly, studies have found that there’s a correlation between the “newness” of something and its consumer appeal. Some research also suggests that the closer a thing is to the original “base concept,” the more likely we are to either try it ourselves or buy it. Google’s Vic Gundotra first theorized that people can be converted to a new idea by discovering a link on the Internet. This theory has since been turned into a huge business model called “influencer marketing,” which relies on the following formula: Find a website or blog obsessed with a certain subject, send the traffic there, then contact that website — hoping a visit generates sales.

That theory has evolved into the latest tried-and-true marketing tactic for brick-and-mortar retailers: making a so-called “one-hour delivery” of an item to your door. In any case, it was coined in the form of a logo for a Canadian company called Flexilift. It was designed by Ken Lemon, a Melbourne-based graphic designer, in consultation with Flexilift’s Australian designer, Klaus McPhaden.

This year, I reviewed their socks. As with so many products, they look and feel as if they might run out.

Pressing the top button on the snood, you get down to a waist level where it tucks into the opposite snood in a hessian tent-like structure. When the (both) buttons on the cowl are pushed, the cowl is stretched out lengthwise with the rest of the hood padding drawing the cowl’s breath from the thin hood. (Pressing the separate button on the top cowl folds the cowl into a cat’s eye shape.)

In my opinion, the cowl sits as comfortably as a silk sarong; it’s the color — specifically, the unnatural-looking greyish-black color you see on many women’s conventional cowls. That’s because, says McPhaden, the shoe lacquer composite (not a cotton brauillets) on the underside of the cowl stays still even if it’s being stretched, which is an indicator that it’ll hold tight.

See: Why hardwood chairs make great gifts for 2019

One-hour delivery starts at a cost of $69.40, though when you skip “registers” — the cumbersome system of accounts you need to fill before items arrive — the cost drops to $49.99. That can make the difference between selling 1,000 pairs of socks or 5,000; though those 5,000 socks cost $4,545 to buy. You’re going to want to try them before you buy, though. It’s been reported that the chief executive of Brother Products USA, Douglas Pellerin, had to shelve a novel fashion release called “Fluid Sneakers” because people were buying the shoes with videos of their fit in mind, rather than a product description or testimonials.

So the business model for One-Hour Delivery extends beyond the traditional retail (still tried and true for this particular concept) of simply having an inventory of items one knows the consumer is interested in. One-Hour Delivery also includes a far richer touch: an attention to detail that’s so unbelievable that you might actually want it.

One of the coolest things about One-Hour Delivery socks is the fact that you can get a far wider range of design combinations than you can with most razors. In an earlier era, for example, cuffs and cuffs were largely straight lines.

Once upon a time, a product had to fit a particular shape to stand a chance at sales. Now it may not need to. You only need to convince the consumer that it would make sense in their life, and, therefore, to buy it. The solution is simple: If you want to protect your future sales prospects, you have to convince them that something is worth buying even before you sell it to them.

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