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Experiment with scarcity and time-sensitive offers

Jun 22, 2021

A great play that many marketers run is to lean into the scarcity of a product or promotion. When there are only a few items left or a short time left to act, a buyer that is on the fence may be more inclined to make the purchase.

The fear of missing out and the desire to own something that is in short supply can be strong levers to pull for buyers.

Be truthful

It’s important to be honest about scarcity and not manufacturing something that can lead to distrust. An average consumer will often lose trust in a company if they feel like they’re being misled.

Sample topics you might leverage

What you highlight will vary based on what your site offers, but a few common examples include:

  • Stock – “Order now, only 5 left in stock!” or “5 available to preorder”
  • Time left – “Only 5 hours left for 15% off” (or free shipping, buy one get one free, etc.)
  • By date – “Preorder by June 5th for this offer” or “Buy in next X hours to receive by Thursday”
Example: Amazon, scarcity

When there are only a few items left in stock, Amazon showcases this fact with the number of remaining items directly above the Add to Cart CTA.

  • The large, bright red font stands out on the page.
  • Anyone glancing at Add to Cart instantly realizes the product is in short supply.
Amazon Product Scarcity
Example: Newegg, time-sensitive offer

Newegg uses the space above Add to Cart to highlight:

  • When a product is on sale
  • How much you’ll save
  • How many hours are left in this sale

Similarly, the bright contrasting color lets buyers instantly know that if they ultimately want to buy this item but wait more than 8 hours, they’ll have missed out on 41% savings.

Newegg Time-sensitive Offer

Remind the buyer on the cart page

The cart page can be a good place to remind customers of product scarcity or time-sensitive offers. If there is any hesitation in purchasing an item, the reminder might push a buyer over the edge to make the purchase.

Test different ways of presenting this reminder (e.g. designs, placement, and text), for instance:

  • Try different designs and textual iterations near the product name/description within the product listing.
  • Try repurposing the context as a card, banner, or visual element near the product listing or near the checkout CTA.
Example: Amazon

Amazon includes a note of the scarcity in red below the product name and description. They also include “order soon” language to encourage customers to click Checkout promptly.

Cart Page Product Scarcity

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