Bottom Line Up Front: Use the fear of scarcity to your advantage. InkSoft’s new Live Inventory feature adds urgency to your consumers’ buying experiences, accelerating sales, and conversion dramatically.

Video Overview of InkSoft’s new Live Inventory Feature

We all want what we can’t have.

Sure, we also want the things that we need — the shelter, food, and basic necessities that keep us alive and well. But beyond those necessities, how do we choose the things that we buy? How do we decide which new pair of shoes, or purse, or t-shirt to add to our collection?

Whether consciously or unconsciously, we buy the things that help us tell a story about ourselves — without having to say a word. Every shoe, every accessory, and every piece of clothing we purchase is another building block to that story — to the story of our identity.

And that identity is built on differentiation.

If you snag the newest sneaker drop, you’re conveying to the people around you that you’re hipper — and more looped in — than they are.

If you buy the limited edition designer bag, you’re conveying to the people around you that you’re part of an exclusive body of people who have the access, the means, and the know-how to do so.

Or if you buy the t-shirt that’s only being sold at randomly announced pop-up stations around the country — marked by hours-long lines and one-day-only sales — you’re conveying to the people around you that you’re part of the exclusive trend. That you experienced an experience with limited availability, and you earned the t-shirt as a result.

Consumer psychologist Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos says, “We collect articles or resources to survive, but survival doesn’t only rest upon what we need physically. We need, psychologically, to distinguish ourselves.”

That’s where scarcity marketing comes in. It preys on our obsession with differentiation so that we feel the urge to buy in profoundly — especially when we sense that there are hurdles to obtaining the product. Because the harder the product is to obtain, the fewer the consumers who can — and the more exclusive the product, the more consumers there are who want to have it.

Brands have been using this marketing technique for decades, relying on the psychological instincts of consumers to drive sales and grow reach. And now, with InkSoft Stores’ newest feature, you can too.

Get ready to get acquainted with the Live Inventory feature — and get ready to add urgency into your consumers’ buying experiences.

Scarcity Marketing: The Basics

At its core, scarcity marketing preys on consumers’ fear of missing out.

It offers them an enticing product — a building block that’ll help them differentiate themselves from their peers — and then it puts a freedom-restricting caveat on it. A caveat that limits how much time they can spend weighing the buying decision, where they can make the buying decision, or how easy the buying process as a whole is.

That caveat could be “Today and tomorrow only!”

It could be a pop-up store with no online buying capabilities.

Or it could be an invite-only phenomenon, where buyers have to be personally invited by the brand before they have the opportunity to buy-in. 

All three of these tactics are effective in amping up consumer desire for a product, regardless of how badly they might’ve wanted the product before scarcity became an issue. And, if you use your imagination, there are countless more ways to utilize scarcity marketing — in every industry.

Scarcity Marketing in Your Online Stores

Before you get discouraged by the big brands’ huge scarcity marketing campaigns, understand that this strategy doesn’t have to be implemented in flashy ways.

Sure, we all loved hearing about the Snapchat Spectacles, which were sold in brand-themed vending machines around the country (that seemed to just appear, without any warning). The exclusivity of the buying experience fueled the mania that surrounded it, and that mania fueled the exclusivity (hours spent in line, product availability) even more.

It was a successful campaign, and it garnered massive sales — and brand exposure — results. But big campaigns aren’t the only path to achieving those. In fact, you can make a difference in your sales and marketing potential by simply adding a few more facts to your e-commerce pages.

What kind of facts? You’re probably wondering. Well, we’ll let our new Live Inventory feature do the explaining.

The Live Inventory feature is a tool that’s already embedded in your InkSoft Stores technology. It gives your stores the power to display the number of products — in a specific color, style, and size — that are left in your inventory.

Say a t-shirt caught your eye, and you clicked the scroll-down list to find your size. Next to your size, there was a red, “Only 3 Left!” warning. Wouldn’t you feel a greater sense of urgency to buy? Wouldn’t the fear of not deciding fast enough, knowing there were so many other interested people out there, incite a strong, should-buy-now response?

It might be a tiny fact — but it packs a big punch.

But the Live Inventory feature lets you do more than just add a few facts to your sites. It lets you decide how you’d like to use those facts to your advantage. In other words: it gives you options.

You can decide whether you want to pull inventory count from your inventory, from your supplier’s inventory, or, for a specific product, from no inventory at all.

You can decide which products, or which product sizes, read as “˜not in stock’ (by having a 0 inventory count).

And you can decide, perhaps most importantly, at what inventory count you’d like the warning to appear.

What do we mean? Well, if your inventory count is reading 65 — signifying to your consumer that there are 65 of the product they want, in the size they’re looking for, available — then the fear of scarcity isn’t being achieved. And when there’s no fear, there’s no urgency.

So maybe you want the starting point for your inventory countdown to be 12. Or 9. Or 6. Whatever option you choose, know that you have the power to assess its results — and tweak it as you see fit.

Like all of the technology tools at InkSoft, the Live Inventory feature is completely customizable. It was created to help you unlock more sales growth — and it can only do that if it’s giving you the power to make adjustments based on your specific business’s needs.

Beyond Sales, There’s Marketing

What else does the Live Inventory feature do for your business? It offers you a new way to market your — or your customers’ — products.

Here’s how: you get to use your inventory warnings in your digital marketing strategy.

Maybe, whenever a product hits the “Only 6 Left!” marker, you automatically craft a Tweet. “Only 6 left of this on-trend tee! Get yours before someone else does!”

Or maybe, you use the data to drive social posts for your restocks. “This “˜Tennessee Strong’ hat sold out in 12 days last month, but now it’s back! Get yours before it’s out of stock once again.”

Those social posts don’t just work to show your audience how in-demand the products are — but they also work to establish your brand as one that their peers believe in. And we may already know that scarcity marketing is an effective tool on its own, but we also know that social proof is a winner too.

So consider combining them. Consider really cementing the notion that your products, and your brand, are in-demand by including ratings and comments on the product pages.

If a consumer can see how many products are left in stock — and then they see all of the 5-star reviews that other consumers have posted — their buying urgency will go up that much more.

As you can see, scarcity marketing can be integrated into your business’s online presence in a variety of ways. But even when it’s done simply, it still has the power to affect massive sales results — and unlock a whole new digital marketing strategy.

So give our Live Inventory feature a try now. It’s easy to implement — all it requires is a little toggling in the Product Display settings — and we’re confident that you’ll start seeing a difference in no time.

Sell Smarter with InkSoft Stores

Apparel Decorators and Print Shops are using InkSoft’s e-commerce technology and online stores to grow sales and give customers what they really want: A simple buying experience. See what InkSoft can do for your business by taking a personal tour with one of our industry experts. Complete the form below to schedule your tour.