Scarcity marketing is a good way to prompt people into action and get them to spend money with you.
When used well, it's a powerful tactic.
So what is it?
If there's something you've been thinking about buying and you only see one left on the shop shelf, what do you do?
Walk away or grab it while you can?
When we think something is scarce, we're more likely to make a quick decision and to snap it up
Scarcity marketing uses our natural fear of missing out, or of something being sold out or fully booked, in order to spur us into action.
A simple example: 'We only have availability on x or y dates. Book now so you don't miss out'.
Scarcity marketing means telling potential customers that something is running out, and stocks are low. Or that time is running out to book or buy.
Most of us don't spend money quickly. We may put off making a decision, feeling that there's a better deal or something better 'out there'. We dither, trying to choose between different things, comparing prices, double-checking reviews. For every visitor who comes to you, there are probably at least another 10 who nearly came to your business, but were not convinced to do so. Offering the right kind of reassurance works for some people. A gentle nudge can work even better.
Using scarcity messages gives people a reason to make a decision. It feels more urgent.
If you make people feel they'll miss out, they may even be ready to pay higher prices. They'll definitely feel they've somehow triumphed by making the right decision, before others do.
There are good and bad ways to use scarcity. Sometimes it's a little manipulative. Amazon and Booking .com have been accused of pressure-selling when they show that 'six people looking at this - only one left' style messages (which may not be true).
Most businesses I know don't want to be 'pushy' or to fib but they could make better use of scarcity marketing. It's really about giving potential customers a gentle nudge, or reminder. They may even thank you for the prompt.
Can you use scarcity during Covid-19?
I'm writing this during another UK lockdown, with no set date for our 'release' back into the wider world. You may be wondering if you can still use scarcity even when you don't know when you can re-open. The answer is a definite 'yes'.
Scarcity messages may be even more powerful now. After the last lockdown, bookings were very strong. People wanted to make up for lost time and some found that UK places booked up surprisingly quickly. We already know that demand is likely to be high once lockdown ends.
Three ways you can use scarcity marketing during lockdown:
Some ways to use scarcity marketing
One final note: for most people the perceived risk that if they don't book now they'll miss out will be sufficient reason to take action. You don't need to offer early booking discounts as an incentive. But you could say 'before prices go up'...
Please note: all articles are copyright Susan Briggs 2021
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All articles on this site are copyright Susan Briggs, The Tourism Network Ltd 2021
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