What is Scarcity Marketing?

The psychology behind scarcity marketing relies on the principle that people want what other people want, especially when it is difficult to obtain. By imposing uncertainty for the consumer, scarcity marketing invokes a sense of urgency and can increase the perception of value for the product or service you are offering. By displaying information that there is only a limited supply remaining, you may increase urgency and demand for customers sitting on the fence.

Scarcity marketing is a driving force behind big e-commerce websites such as Amazon.

Examples:

Lock in this great price while you still can

User action

Still time for free shipping before Christmas

For a limited time only, 25% off items online when you buy our select product today

Qualifying Demand

Only 7 items left!

This just in: we only have 50 tickets left before we are sold out!

The Ethics of Marketing using Scarcity

Scarcity marketing is a powerful tool when used in the right environment. When customers are actively seeking branded products that are in high demand and low supply, it can amplify sales. However, the practice of scarcity marketing can seriously backfire if is used unethically to promote fake information, ie. increase perceived value to accommodate for low performing sales without demand to back up sales.