Capitalizing on Scarcity Marketing

September 15, 2020

Women’s bicycles, kayaks, napkins and coins…what do all these things all have in common? COVID-fueled scarcity.

There are so many items that have experienced significant growth during this pandemic. The concept of scarcity marketing is nothing new but in these times this already up-trending tactic can be deployed with dramatic results. Are you utilizing these powerful tools? If not, let’s discuss three ways to capitalize on the not-so-scarce concept of scarcity marketing.


From homegrown brand lines to giants like Nike and Supreme, the concept of announcing a product release with limited production, has become a notorious business strategy. I remember learning about this firsthand from a brand line startup. They were the one in a million rare success story, so I was seriously curious of how they beat the odds. They combined a passionate hobby of the owners, with a smart social and sales plan completely fueled by limited “drop” releases. Within two years they were doing close to $2 million in sales. I was instantly attracted to this developing concept and saw more and more of its use over the coming years. I learned from this study that it is often 20% about the product and 80% about how you sell it which defines who succeeds and who does not.


Another effective model for how to keep the interest “chum” in the water is via inventory transparency, or at least the appearance of it. This concept does take some confidence, so it is advised to only deploy once you have a steady stream of passionate followers. Utilizing a smart e-commerce system, there are ways to give some insight as to how much of a product is left in stock in order to snatch that finger-click buy-button impulse. deployed this years ago when it posted inventory numbers. Now eBay and many others include phrases such as “Almost out” and “Nearly gone” coupled with posted quantities. The potential regret of missing that amazing deal drives millions of buyers to make online transactions.


Even in these times of limited in-store shopping, pop-up shops continue to thrive. The venue might have changed from inside a brick-and-mortar store to a parking lot or outdoor event, but this is another way to generate strong and profitable sales, based on a limited supply angle. Again, this only works if you have already created a following and audience. Once that is established, pick a cool venue and share via social that you are appearing for “One day only” and that once your inventory has sold, it’s gone. The other key to this is to develop unique designs that will not be available later. This kicks the frenzy into high gear and can get that buzz buzzing.

As with all of these, you must have the core components in place. Killer branding, creative artwork and smart social must be part of the recipe. Utilizing various forms of scarcity marketing can be the ideal spice to really make your recipe take off.