Jun 14

Using Scarcity Of Stock To Sell More Products Online

If your online store isn’t doing as well as it should, don’t give up. Scarcity marketing (SM) can make your products fly off of the digital shelves! Fortune 500 companies and small business owners alike swear by this strategy. You’re probably wondering what scarcity marketing is and how you implement this powerful marketing strategy, and you’ll find out by reading the rest of this article. If you like this strategy then do not forget our ecommerce SEO and search engine optimisation covers a lot of ground for your business for online marketing.

There are three basic approaches to scarcity marketing. One approach is simply telling your customers that supplies are running out, and the other kind of scarcity marketing involves lowering prices in addition to telling customers that supplies are limited.

In addition, you can plan to have limited supplies of an item. Here are a few ideas to make scarcity marketing work for your business:

Offer The Product As A Seasonal Item

While most people think of holiday decor and seasonal home maintenance tools when they think of seasonal items, you can make almost anything a seasonal product. Here are some examples of products that tend to sell especially well as a seasonal item:

  • Clothing items
  • Products for certain recreational activities
  • Specialty foods
  • Alcoholic beverages

If you choose to sell the product seasonally, it’s important to emphasize that limited supplies are the reason why the product is only available on a seasonal basis.

Only Sell The Product Once

If you only offer a product once, you’ll be able to call it “rare” and/or “limited edition”. These two terms are especially effective when you’re selling a product to collectors. Here are some examples of products that can be effectively sold as a limited edition item:

  • Items that commemorate a certain event
  • Cosmetics
  • Clothing
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Alcoholic beverages

Have An Auction

Not only do auctions attract customers, but they can increase the price of a product as well! Following these tips can help you have an effective auction:

  • The auction should last for less than a week.
  • Post several pictures of the item, and make sure the pictures are shot in the right lighting.
  • Set the starting bid low enough to attract customers.
  • Be aware of any fees that are associated with the auction.
  • Write a thorough description of the product.

Combine Scarcity Marketing With Loyalty Points

One of the most important goals of scarcity marketing is to make people loyal to your brand, and this is one of the best ways to improve brand loyalty. Here are some tips for introducing loyalty points to boost the effectiveness of a scarcity marketing campaign:

  • Give your customers a loyalty points card.
  • Make sure that the loyalty points allow your customers to receive an attractive discount on one or all of your products.
  • If possible, arrange a deal with other stores so your customers can use the loyalty points at other stores.

Give Them A Number

If your supplies of a product are exceptionally limited, consider telling customers the exact number of them that you have in stock. This strategy is typically most effective when you have less than ten in stock. As you can imagine, “Only three left!” is going to be a far more effective statement than “Only 30 left!”

Five Things To Avoid During A Scarcity Marketing Campaign

Don’t Use SM For Low-Priced Items

Doing this can cause significant harm to your business’ reputation. Not only should the item have a significant monetary value, but it also should be difficult for prospective customers to find at other stores. Here are some examples of items that scarcity marketing should not be used to sell:

  • Generic-looking toys
  • Specialty foods that customers aren’t likely to be familiar with
  • Generic-looking clothing

Never Tell People That Supplies Are Limited If They Aren’t

If you do this, there is a very good chance that your customers will figure out that you misled them. This is because they will notice that your store continues to say that “supplies are limited” for an extended period of time. Not only will this prevent you from effectively selling the product(s) that are in limited supply, but it will cause customers to mistrust your business.

Don’t Over-Emphasise A Sense Of Exclusiveness

Unless you are 100% sure that there is no other store that sells your scarce product(s), do not tell your customers that your store is the only place to get it. This also will cause customers to mistrust your business.

Never not Know Your Customer

While there are many things that you need to consider when you’re developing a profile of your typical customer in order to design an effective scarcity marketing campaign, these are some of the most important things to determine:

  • The average age of your customers
  • Whether they tend to be male or female
  • Where your customers tend to live
  • The amount of money that your customers tend to have

One of the most effective ways to develop a profile of your typical customer is to survey your customers.

Don’t Use Scarcity Marketing All The Time

If you’re constantly telling your customers about a product that’s in short supply, this type of marketing will eventually begin to lose its impact. While the ideal frequency of scarcity marketing varies from one business to another, many business owners feel that scarcity marketing is most effective when its only used a few times per year.

Scarcity Marketing Can Improve Your ecommerce SEO Strategy!

As a scarcity marketing campaign brings more customers to your website, your website is likely to rank higher. This will create a positive feedback loop. As your site ranks higher, more people will come to your website. This will make your search rankings rise even more.

The improved SEO strategy won’t necessarily end when the scarcity marketing campaign ends either. In fact, the boost in search rankings can allow your business to benefit more from other SEO services than it would otherwise.

In fact, it is not uncommon for an SEO agency to include a scarcity marketing on their SEO checklist when they’re working on improving an ecommerce SEO strategy. There even are SEO agencies that help you create a scarcity marketing campaign as part of SEO packages. Here are some ways that you can make a scarcity marketing campaign especially effective for SEO:

  • Create keywords that are specifically associated with the scarcity marketing campaign, and make sure that 1-3% of the content that’s associated with the scarcity marketing campaign is keywords.
  • Create backlinks that direct traffic to pages that are associated with the scarcity marketing campaign.
  • Promote your scarcity marketing campaign on social media.
  • Include links to other websites in the content that you use to promote your scarcity marketing campaign. Link your website to the companies that manufacture the products that you’re selling in the scarcity marketing campaign.
  • Regularly create fresh content for your scarcity marketing campaign, and make sure that all of the content for the scarcity marketing campaign is well-written.

Studies On The Effectiveness Of Scarcity Marketing:

While many studies have been done on scarcity marketing, these are some of the most well-known studies on it:

Qubit Studied Two Billion Internet Users

Qubit found that scarcity marketing was the most effective online marketing strategy that is used by major companies. In fact, scarcity marketing produced a mean uplift (RPV gain) of 2.9%! Qubit is one of the most well-known market analysis companies.

Qubit research

Qubit research

A Case Study Of Pliny The Elder

Russian River Brewing created a limited edition beer, called Pliny the Elder. This beer has gained a cult following as a result of an effective scarcity marketing campaign. Prior to creating Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing was a very small brewery. However, Pliny the Elder brought Russian River Brewing into the spotlight.

Pliny scarcity marketing

Pliny scarcity marketing

If An Item Is In Short Supply, Customers Are Likely To Perceive That It’s Better Quality

After people received a wine that they knew was in short supply, their brains were activated in a manner that indicated that it was an exceptionally high-quality product. Researchers said that the notion of scarcity effectively “short-circuits” the brain.

Examples Of Major Companies That Used Scarcity Marketing

  • Disney began selling “limited edition” edition films during the 1980s. The company urged customers to buy them before they went “back to the Disney vault”. This was one of Disney’s most effective marketing campaigns.
  • Another example of scarcity marketing in action was Cabbage Patch kids. While Cabbage Patch Kids was first released in the 1980s, the brand is still popular today.
  • Nordstrom has used scarcity marketing to sell certain items, and it has been one of the company’s most effective strategies.

About The Author

Ajay Chavda is the co-founder of Weboptimizers, an SEO agency in Melbourne and has been involved with SEO for over 15 years. Between the digital properties and security forums he has managed, his articles have been read by approximately 50 million unique visitors.

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