March 3, 2021

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What is scarcity marketing? Use these marketing strategies to boost sale

Scarcity marketing

Marketers have been practicing Scarcity marketing strategies for business since a very long period of time. Scarcity marketing comes into action when you want to attract a large audience & direct them to buy your product/ services. Some famous brands like Apple, OnePlus, Louis Vuitton, etc have been leaders because of their well-executed scarcity marketing strategies.

The main principle of this marketing strategy is – We (Homo sapiens) always desire more of the things we can’t have or are difficult to get. Have you ever bought something you didn’t need, just because it was on sale? Have you ever bought a product with limited stock available? Anytime you see something that says “for premium members only”, “last chance,” “only 4 rooms left,” or “today only,” you are compelled to take action. And this is exactly, what Scarcity Marketing/FOMO marketing means.

Let’s understand with an example.

Apple brings out a new iPhone almost every year, & it seems to become more expensive with every model released but customers still rush to buy it. What makes iPhones more desirable is the sense of exclusivity and class, which makes Apple the best example for the marketing strategy based on scarcity/exclusivity.

So what is Scarcity marketing or FOMO Marketing Strategies?

Basically, when a product or service is limited in availability (or perceived as a limited edition), it becomes more attractive; here FOMO Marketing comes into action. The fear of missing out (FOMO) on limited supply makes your customers buy your product, quickly and possibly with lesser questioning.

The psychological principle of persuasion coined by Dr. Robert Cialdini says that: the rarer or more difficult to obtain a product, offer, or piece of content is, the more valuable it becomes.

In simple words, FOMO Marketing is a great technique that triggers your customer’s natural fear of missing out on your offer and makes them desire your product/services.

So, how can you use scarcity marketing strategies to increase the sale of your business?

Based on our research we are presenting to you four ways in which you can use scarcity marketing strategies to attract your customers.

  1. ‘Exclusive’ Strategy
  2. ‘Excess Demand’ Strategy
  3. ‘Rarity’ Strategy
  4. ‘Urgency’ Strategy

1. Use the ‘Exclusive’ Strategy

As humans, we love possessing exclusive things because not everyone can have them. Exclusivity is a big part of FOMO marketing. Creating offers and exclusive products which only certain people can have, always creates a huge impact.

For example

Amazon Prime: – Amazon makes their customer feel exclusive with their annual subscription that includes:

  • Free access to certain books and movies
  • Exclusive deals for the prime member before the upcoming sale
  • Fast& Free delivery options

Only subscribers get to enjoy the services offered by the brand.

Impact: – Amazon Prime in January 2020 reported that Prime had more than 150 million subscribers worldwide

2. Use ‘Excess Demand’ Strategy

Remember how some products show: Sold out due to high demand!! Scarcity is skillfully used in these cases to influence the action of customers. Psychologically we feel that if people are buying a product, it’s probably the right product to buy or a trending one and this influences the user to make the decision quickly. Excess demand implies popularity and, at the same time, shows there aren’t many stocks left of this popular product, so we better act quickly!!

Marketers are using this strategy to drive more purchase behaviors for example by showing customers “20 people added this item to their cart” or “Fares may be high due to excess demand”.

3. Use ‘Rarity’ Strategy

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between exclusivity marketing and rarity marketing, both go hand-in-hand. Buying a rare product has similar effects on individuals as exclusive products. Releasing the product with the “limited edition” into the market can generate curiosity among the people which makes the product rare.

Rarity marketing refers to the condition where the demand is high as compared to the supply of the product may be due to less production or availability of the product in the market.

4. Use ‘Urgency’ Strategy

Urgency is one of the most common scarcity tactics and can be highly effective. Urgency marketing implies adding a deadline to a deal of products or services to increase sales. It creates a feeling of anxiety within the customer that they might lose the deal with benefits if they don’t act immediately. Urgency strategy is mostly used in the e-commerce industry. If you can create a stronger sense of urgency on your landing page or website or a deal of your product, then you can successfully influence your customer to take action immediately.

Proven Examples of Scarcity Marketing Strategies

Now let’s learn some proven example that brands use to influence customers:-                       

1. Creating a Limited period Offer:-

“Amazon & Flipkart generated $3 billion (Rs 19,000 crore approx) of Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the six days of the festive sale between 29 September and 4 October”.

The ‘limited period’ immediately creates a sense of urgency in your customer. It makes the offer exclusive and hard to resist. Exclusive offers don’t let your customers think about making a purchase the next day. Words like ‘End of Season sale’, ‘Last Chance’ ‘Deal of the day’  etc are used to create a limited period offer campaign. It indicates the count-down timer showing when the discounted price ends, which influences the customer to grab the product deal before it expires.

2. Use Stock urgency:-

(i) – “Limited rooms left” marketing strategy
Image source- is good at triggering a sense of urgency amongst its visitors: it indicates how many rooms are left and how many times a given hotel was booked in a 12 or 24-hour.

(ii)Amazon – “Only 2 left in stock-order soon”

Amazon marketing strategy
Image source-Amazon

Amazon uses this scarcity method to display the remaining stock. Amazon highlights out of stock – or nearly out of stock items in red.

One of the most powerful ways to add real urgency to your landing pages is to advise visitors that if they don’t act soon, they might miss out. Hotels and E-commerce companies use that marketing strategy to increase conversion.

3. Make Your CTA-   ‘Active and Urgent’:-

CTA is the Call-To-Action that tells visitors/ customers to take action and click to take up your offer. That’s why it’s so important. One way to create urgency with your CTA is to pair active words.

For example, you can use phrases like:

  • Buy Now
  • Claim your Discount today
  • Book now
  • Limited edition
  • Today’s Deal

4. Make your customer feel exclusive & special

Exclusivity is proven to drive sales and can be a big and important part of your marketing strategy. It triggers FOMO. When you make your customers feel special, you get more sales and customer loyalty.


OnePlus Sold close to 1 million phones by using the invite-only system to build exclusivity and demand”

One Plus smartphone marketing strategies
Image source-AB tasty

When the company began its operations, it came with a unique inviteonly strategy, Sold close to “1 million phones” purely via invites, without selling through retail stores. By creating a sense of exclusivity, OnePlus triggered a massive fear-of-missing-out. Their marketing campaign was mostly based on the scarcity principle and led to massive 1M unit sales and 25 million visits on their website.


These were examples of businesses that have used scarcity marketing strategies and got overwhelming success. Before you plan your marketing strategy, you need to understand Scarcity comes in different shapes and forms. Depending on the context, you need to figure out what type of message you want to show to your customers. It helps your brand to attract more customers. But, if your brand is not exclusive in the solution it offers, then Scarcity marketing can not make help you much. You need to make real promises and not fake ones. Otherwise, This will only degrade the trust customers have on your brand. Wrong use of scarcity marketing strategies can also affect your brand’s reputation and positioning in the market.

Have you tried this scarcity marketing strategy before? What other ideas/strategies would you like to add to this list, that were missed by us? Leave your thoughts below.

These related articles should help you clear up a few more things-

P.S.: Looking for a creative agency, visit BrandLanes. BrandLanes is the only B2B web platform of India that connects brand owners & business owners with the right marketing partners- Agencies and Freelancers. One can select the best creative agency from multiple profiles based on their Creative work ( Projects of Ad designs/ Logo Designs/ Branding Campaigns/ PAckaging Design / Product Photoshoot) and Profile information(Services, Service Charges, Creative Portfolio, etc) which is showcased on our website.


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