What is scarcity marketing? Basically, it’s the tactic of increasing demand for a particular product or service based on the idea that the item is rare or difficult to obtain.
Why does this work? Customers tend to place a higher value on items that feel more exclusive or unique. A customer will probably pay more for an item that is one-of-a-kind than they will for something that everyone else already owns.
Scarcity Marketing Ideas
So how do you make the most of this concept? Here are some of the most powerful scarcity marketing techniques you can use to increase demand and make more sales for your small business.
Display Product Availability
Once your stock levels start getting a bit low, let your customers know by telling them exactly how many items are still available. If they see that there are only three left in stock, it will likely create a sense of urgency that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Offer a Time Limit
You can also put an actual timer on sales online. Tell customers that they’ll get free shipping, an exclusive discount or another special offer if they complete their purchase within the next ten minutes.
Make a Sale Countdown
Alternatively, you can create a more general countdown for a sale. This tactic can work for both online and in-person sales. Simply display a countdown until the end of your sale on your website or in your store. This creates a visual representation that reminds customers they need to purchase their desired products right away if they want to take advantage of discounts.
Create Limited Edition Products
The actual products you offer can also create that sense of urgency and exclusivity. Is there something your business could produce outside of your normal product line that you could offer just for a limited time? For instance, if you run a small t-shirt shop, maybe you could make a line of hats with your exclusive designs printed on them.
This tactic can even be useful for businesses that are thinking about expanding their product lines and want to see how well different types of products might sell. With any of these products, just make sure customers know that there’s a limited number being produced. It will create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
Offer Seasonal Items
Similarly, you can offer different types of products during each season. For example, a diner might offer pumpkin pancakes in the fall and gingerbread pancakes in the winter. In these cases, customers will instinctively know that products are only available for a limited time. So they’ll be sure to take advantage of the offer during each season.
Set Limited Introductory Prices
If you decide to introduce a new product that will be a permanent part of your line, create some exclusivity and a sense of urgency by setting a lower introductory price. You’ll get more people to buy right away if they know they’re getting a better deal than everyone else.
Offer Products for Pre-Sale
Pre-sales can help businesses gauge demand for new products and make sales even before production is complete. But it also makes products seem especially exclusive and in-demand among customers.
Let Customers Lock in a Price
For companies that sell memberships or products and services that customers buy on a recurring basis, you might allow people to lock in an introductory price so they’ll always pay that rate. This encourages people to sign up right away, because they never know when you’ll raise prices.
For collectible items, manufacturers can number each product in a particular line. This is just a tactic for underlining the fact that only a select number of products are available. And it can increase value or demand for items that are already very popular.
Show Off High Demand
If you have a particularly popular product in your shop, show customers how popular it is by displaying reviews, customer photos and social posts about that item. This doesn’t necessarily make the product seem rare. But it can create some extra demand.
Send Low Stock Notices
If a customer has viewed a particular product on your site or even put it in their cart, let them know when the item is running out of stock. They may be more inclined to actually complete the sale when they know they might not get the chance again.
Let Customers Set Alerts for Out-of-Stock Items
You might also have some items that have run out of stock, but that you might get back again. Let customers favorite those items and set up alerts so they’ll know if and when you restock.
Include Real-Time Data
Letting customers see what’s going on behind the scenes can help them understand what type of demand there is for your products. For example, you might show them how many people are viewing a particular product or how many have the item in their carts.
Host a Flash Sale
Flash sales are usually only held for a very short time and with very limited notice. So it’s automatically a pretty exclusive event. You can host an online flash sale and just invite people who follow your company on social media or subscribe to your email list. Or if you run a physical store location, send out invites and let your best customers take advantage of the sale.
Offer Exclusive Discounts
You might also offer exclusive discounts that aren’t tied to a specifically timed sale. Send out coupon codes to your email list, social media followers or people who download your app. This rewards them for being a loyal customer and can lead to a higher value perception of your products.