?The only pair left"

A few days ago, I went out to buy some shoes. Something comfortable and at the same time formal (to go to work) but casual (one must dress to suit one?s personality). Believe me, it was not easy. After going into several shoe stores I found some which fitted the bill, even though they obviously weren?t the best shoes ever. At least the price was reasonable.

I asked for my size and, after waiting a few minutes, the person who was attending me said: ?It wasn?t easy, but I did manage to find them. Here they are in your size. It?s the only pair I have left”.

You can imagine the end of the story: I ended up buying them. Why? Because: I couldn?t carry on looking for shoes in other stores if this was the only pair he had left.

The concept of ?scarcity? is probably one of the most powerful elements in people’s decision to buy.

  • How many times have we seen people charging around like mad when they announce over the PA system in the supermarket that offer A, B or Z will only be available for another ten minutes?
  • How many times have we purchased a plane ticket in a hurry because they have said on the web page that there are only 4 seats left?
  • How many times have we registered for a conference or a course before a certain date because they price increased significantly after that?
  • How many times have we asked a friend if he had invitations to ASmallWorld (a private, online community where you cannot register (you can only be invited to join))?
  • How many times have we got up really early to queue at the box office of a stadium or a concert to beat the avalanche of people after the same thing as us?

But to generate this sense of urgency through scarcity ? of any kind whatsoever ? the fact that this product or offer will evaporate if we don’t hurry has to be credible.

There are several ways in which to work on making scarcity credible:

    1. The product itself can make it directly credible. As regards flights, who will doubt that there are only 4 seats left?
    2. If we explain why this product or service is on special offer only before that specific date. In some cases, we can transfer the responsibility for these special terms and conditions to third parties, by explaining that offering this special time-related bonus is beyond our control.
    3. Creating a greater desire by creating of a waiting list (it?s worth while taking a look at NicheologyTM.
    4. By explaining your offer with copy which transmits the sense of urgency.
    5. Clearly visualising the sense of urgency and scarcity. Here are two examples you can?t afford to miss:
    6. The countdown at Orange’s online store in the United Kingdom.
    7. When we offer a series of products on offer, include the time to generate the feeling that these offers might disappear in the next few minutes.

Fascinating. We will keep an eye on scarcity as a way of building greater and greater levels of desire.

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