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This story appears in the May 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Better stay up late to buy from e-tailer Woot. The site posts only one item per day. When the limited supply is gone, you're out of luck until a new item is posted at midnight.

"If someone is looking at something, a 24-hour period is more than enough time to consider whether or not to buy it," says Matt Rutledge, 33, founder and CEO of the Carrollton, Texas, company, which features everything from electronics to toys to accessories. The limited availability and discounted prices make most of these items impulse buys, he says.

Limited-time offers are essential marketing strategies for retailers, says Bill Glazer, founder of, a Towson, Maryland-based marketing system for retailers.

Glazer says that setting a specific time frame for an offer or making it available only to a certain number of customers adds a sense of urgency. Limited-time price promotions and gift-with-purchase offers, which can be tied to a holiday or a special event, are usually most successful, he says.

"You can also limit your promotion to a [certain] number of hours," Glazer adds. "We've seen department stores do [early-morning] 'door-busters.' These very short promotions can get people lining up at the store before it opens. That momentum carries on through the rest of the day."

Gwen Moran is a writer and consultant specializing in marketing.

Edition: July 2017

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