top of page

Why 'Limited Stock' & 'Last Chance' Boost Sales: Understanding Scarcity

Why 'Limited Stock' & 'Last Chance' Boost Sales: Understanding Scarcity

In the vast realm of consumer psychology, a mighty principle holds considerable sway - the Scarcity Principle. It's rooted in economic theory and suggests that when demand is high, and supply is limited, a rift forms between the desired balance of supply and demand.

As a result, if you possess something scarce or manage to create the impression of scarcity, you're likely to sell a significant amount of it.

Two major retailers, Costco and Net-a-Porter, have capitalised on this psychological insight. Their approach is simple: "Once it's gone, it's gone." Other retailers employ phrases like "Limited time," "Everything must go," "Last chance," and "One-off," very effectively instilling a sense of urgency and desire among consumers.

Now, what exactly happens in our brains during this process? Here's a glimpse into the inner workings of the scarcity-induced mindset: "Is there only one left at this price in the world? I have to have it before someone else snatches it!" "One car and ten people eyeing it? It must be a fantastic deal if ten people are interested right now, so I need to grab it!" "They have only one slot available for this excellent pre-winter service. I better book it so I don't miss out!"

These thoughts strike a chord with our instinctual fear of missing out, or FOMO. When we perceive something as scarce or exclusive, our desire to obtain it intensifies, driven primarily by the fear that we might miss a one-of-a-kind opportunity. But it's crucial to exercise caution and not abuse the power of the scarcity principle. Customers will eventually see through any façade if you attempt to present your entire stock as scarce.

Likewise, trying to pass off some old bangers as scarce won't fool your audience - they'll recognise the lack of inherent value.

The key to successfully harnessing the scarcity principle is thoughtful selection and strategy. Choose specific cars or services, craft a compelling deal around them, and then utilise every available means to promote them.

The quicker the scarce items sell, the faster people realise what great bargains they've missed. This realisation fuels their eagerness to seize the next 'limited' offer, creating a self-reinforcing demand cycle.

The scarcity principle is a mighty tool. Just make sure you use it wisely!


Got questions or thoughts you'd like to share? We love a good conversation! Let's discuss your insights.

bottom of page