Three words have been the bane of every Nexus fan’s life these past few days: “Out Of Inventory.” When Google announced that the Nexus 6 would be going on sale in the Play Store, people, well, expected it to actually be on sale…
It is a time honored tradition, as old as commerce itself: Holding back a desired item to both increase interest as well as demand. In some cases, such as petroleum and diamonds, it is done to keep prices high. Other times, as Disney so skillfully does with it’s ‘Disney Vault’, it is used to keep public interest piqued because, let’s face it, fewer things can make you want something more than being told you can’t have it. It’s called “artificial scarcity.”
When Google opened up the Google Nexus 6 for pre-orders, interest was quite high as prospective buyers flocked to the Play Store to snag a spot…only to see the now all to familiar “Out of Inventory” banner. When the device finally went on sale, it ‘sold out’ in minutes. The massive phone showed up on Motorola’s own site… you blinked … ‘Out of Inventory.’
What gives? This isn’t OnePlus… this is Motorola. The vast majority of mobile phone buyers purchase their units direct from their carrier or through carrier-affiliated re-sellers. So surely Motorola’s production capacity would be sufficient for what should be a limited audience. Yet one of the world’s major mobile device OEMs and one of the world’s most powerful corporations ran out of collective gas within minutes? I find that hard to believe.
It’s not like they haven’t dipped into the artificial scarcity well before. Google has a long history of giving us a taste then waiting for us to come begging back for more. When the popular email service Gmail was introduced, users could only join via invitation. They brought the invite system back when they recently introduced us to Google Inbox. Three weeks later My Google+ is still filled with people begging for invites. I mean, it MUST be good, otherwise why would so many people want it?
So are Google and Motorola playing some marketing games with us? Considering that we are still waiting for the Nexus 6 to show up on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, this could all be a shrewd way to draw in customers. It might aggravate the Nexus die-hards who may have to wait a week or two longer, but Google doesn’t have to sell the device to them…they’ve been salivating since the first Nexus 6 rumors surfaced. The Nexus has never sold well through carriers or re-sellers, so this could all be a play to reverse that trend.
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