Leveraging Scarcity For Sales

Its strange but very true, things when in limited supply, do seem much more appealing. Isn't it? Scarcity does make things appear more valuable and the effects are well documented. Commodity theory (Brock, 1968) deals with the psychological effects of scarcity and according to the theory, scarcity enhances the value (or desirability) of anything that can be possessed, is useful to its possessor, and is transferable from one person to another.

Businesses and brands have been using the concept of scarcity forever and the same is reflected in a number of e-commerce store sales strategy. Here are some of the ways online stores leverage scarcity for boosting sales.



Lets briefly touch upon these ways used for highlighting scarcity
  • Limited Availability Countdowns: These indicate the scarcity by highlighting the product is low in availability or stocks creating the urgency within users to buy it now or loose them forever (Loss Aversion Theory - http://www.behavioraleconomics.com/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/loss-aversion/).
  • Sale Price Countdowns: Limited time sale price countdown highlights the time buyer has to purchase the product for a reduced price or pay higher later for the same product he has developed an interest in. 
  • Next Day Shipping Countdowns: Similar to the limited sale price offer, limited shipping countdowns play on the need to get fastest shipping option for free rather than paying for them separately. It also gives the buyer a chance to get that desired product in the fastest possible way.  
  • Exclusive Availability: VIP / Exclusive availability of the product and posessing an exclusive product gives buyers a sense of uniqueness among peers and makes them feel special. 
  • Seasonal Product Offers: Seasonal product offers creates a natural urgency to buy a seasonal product before it is gone from the shelves. Promoting seasonal groceries is one good example where people would want to buy some fruits vegetables in the season perceiving they would not be available later. 
  • Real-time Popularity & Views Indicator: This involves leveraging real time buying activity to depict popularity or views of a product. A product being viewed by several people at the same time creates the urgency for each that it may get purchased by others if they don't buy it.
How many of these have you fallen for? Which one gets you every time? If you have more to add as well feel free to share in the comments below!