As a relative newcomer to the digital marketing world, I’ve decided to write a series of ‘beginner’s guides’ to uncover what is meant by certain terms, trends and technological advances in digital; being both a travel guide and a personal investigation.
Here I’ll be answering the following questions: What is scarcity? Why should you use it? Are there good and bad practices? In a tone of voice that has been described as both ‘helpful’ and ‘not too rambling’.
Scarcity in marketing means to use the fear of shortage to sell more.
It’s a fairly simple psychological premise. “We don’t have many Furbies left I’m afraid, you’ll have to buy it now if you don’t want to ruin your child’s Christmas” is the simplest and most extreme example.
However if we think of scarcity in terms of providing transparency about how much stock is left of a particular item, then it’s a very helpful, positive tool.
Scarcity can also increase the perceived value of the item or service you’re providing.
Your products can become that much more precious in the eyes of a customer. The fear that there is only a limited supply will make the customer purchase faster and possibly with less thought.
Which leads to the argument that scarcity can also be manipulative and in some circumstances, exploitative.
Before we get to the more frustrating end of scarcity, let’s take a look at some of the positive uses.