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How To Boost Your Sales With Scarcity Marketing


You have probably seen product adverts with lines like these:

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Offer valid while stocks last.

This limited discount remains available until XXX (date).

Only XXX (quantity) products left.

What would you do if you’re really interested in purchasing those products?

You’ll probably be more eager to take advantage of the limited time or price offers we’ve just referred to. A lot of people like you would too.

Now, imagine that you’re the one who’s presenting the products in question. Those ads will draw in more people to buy them, and you’ll record a spike in sales.

That’s exactly why you put out the advert in the first place.

There’s a name for this tactic. It’s called scarcity marketing. And if you use it right, it could help you boost your sales significantly.

Here, we’ll explain what scarcity marketing is, and show you a few ways you can make it work for your business.

What Is Scarcity Marketing?  

Scarcity marketing involves presenting a product as running out so that people who want to buy it will do so more quickly.

It derives from an economic principle: the scarcer a product appears to be, the more valuable people will think it is. The knowledge that a product is scarce creates a sense of urgency, which will drive buyers to make a purchase.

Scarcity marketing often goes along with deals and discounts, just to make the urgency worth it. For example, an online store may offer a 30% discount on the price of TV sets, and make the offer valid until a particular date.

Notice that people will buy the TV sets not just because of the discount, but because it’s only available for a limited period.

Scarcity Marketing Tactics To Boost Sales

Here are some scarcity marketing moves you can make to improve your sales.

Use Price Scarcity

This is basically about providing limited-time discounts. We’ve just given you an example of this above. It’s probably also the most common of all scarcity marketing tactics.

Price scarcity could bring in the results you want if you explain why it’s happening. For instance, you may present a discount for a master class you’re holding for the first ten or twenty people who sign up. You will be doing this to encourage early registrations.

Depending on the type of product or service you sell, you should be careful not to use it too much. Providing discounts too often may have the opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve—it could cheapen the value of the product as perceived by your potential customers.

Learn more about pricing in our article, Sell More With Psychological Pricing.

Sell Unique, Limited Edition Goods

Limited edition goods thrive on their novelty. People who buy them want the benefit of a unique, one-off experience. They may also be inspired by the bragging right that comes with owning (or using) something rare or seasonal.

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You could produce or stock up on a rare version of a product just for Christmas. Marketing for it will be based on the season, as well as on its rarity. These two factors can combine to make a powerful case for making a purchase.

Ultimately, such products will sell quite well because they won’t be available for long. The fact that they’re scarcer over time will trigger a buyer-rush from people who want to get them.

Show Real-Time Visitor Data

If you run an online store, you can adopt this tactic to create a sense of urgency around the products you sell there. It involves showing the number of people presently viewing the same product or who have recently made a purchase.

For example, you can have rolling text or pop-up that indicates the number of people looking at the same product at a given moment, or the names and location of recent buyers and what they’ve bought.

This sort of information makes visitors to the site know that other people are viewing and buying a product they are interested in. And if you’ve also indicated that there is a limited number of that product available, they will be more compelled to make a purchase.

Display Number Of Items Left

This is another approach that works for e-commerce. Here, you show the number of units left of the products you display on your site. If it’s a small number, it could convince a prospective buyer to not postpone buying those products to a later time.

You can also use the limited-items-left approach in promotional emails you send to potential buyers (typically people subscribed to your newsletter). Let the receiver know that there are only a few items of a product left, and share a link to it.

Final Words

Scarcity Marketing works because it appeals to something fundamental to customer psychology and habits. Evidence of its effectiveness abounds in case studies from countless businesses across the world. You can succeed with it too, by using the strategies we’ve discussed here.

Featured Image Source: Twenty20

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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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