Famous Brands That Have Succeeded With The Scarcity Principle

We have listed 8 Brands that Benefit from Scarcity Principle in Product Promotion and Sales for you. We will show how they use the principle of scarcity.

Famous Brands That Have Succeeded With The Scarcity Principle

If you have taken the "Introduction to Economics" course during your university years, you are likely to be aware of the following key fact in the scope of that course:

At the basis of the supply and demand relationship lies the fact that the presence of a high rate of demand versus a low quantity supply for any product will increase the price of the product.

Well, why did we tell you about this basic rule of the economy?

Because changes in the supply and demand of any product may cause the scarcity principle to come into play.

This principle of persuasion psychology, created by Robert Cialdini, argues that the harder a product, offer, or content is to obtain, the more valuable it becomes. It is its rarity that makes the product invaluable. Because in the near future, when we think we will no longer have access to the product in question, we have a much higher purchasing potential than when there is no impression of power availability or shortage for the product.

Brands use the scarcity principle to persuade their target audiences to fill out a product-related sales form, purchase the product, or take any other desired action. For example, KAYAK etc. Many sites that offer flight or travel booking services also include a warning notice stating that there are only a few seats left at a certain price on flights listed.

Why do you say?

Everyone knows that flight ticket prices are incredibly volatile - it will be because most of us prefer to wait on certain days of the week to purchase tickets. However, knowing that there is only one seat left for that price makes us think that we should buy our ticket as soon as possible. We prefer to make the purchase instead of waiting and then risking a much higher payment for the same ticket.

Nowadays, since many businesses are accelerating the application of the famine principle, let's talk about how the famine principle can increase the demand for your product significantly over 8 brands that have managed to make this principle an integral part of their marketing strategies.

8 Brands Benefiting from Scarcity in Product Promotion and Sales:

1) Snapchat

Snap Inc., the founding company of the social media application Snapchat, launched Snapchat Glasses in September 2016. These were sunglasses capable of recording 10-second videos using the user's perspective. However, the company did not sell these new devices online or through a retail outlet. It offered for sale through the smiling Snapchat themed vending machines installed randomly in different cities of the USA.

No announcement was made regarding where or when the Snapbots will be installed. Most of the awareness was generated through social media channels. Anyone who saw the Snapbot arriving was afraid that the vending machine would run out of its daily stock, and they risked waiting in line for hours, thinking that I could not buy the glasses.

Nowadays, Snapchat Glasses are sold online or through several portable stores, so you don't have to wait for hours at any vending machine if you don't want to. But it was certain that the Snapbots vending machines used during the launch of the product set a unique example of the scarcity principle. The goggles were only available for a limited time and in limited numbers - meaning you had to struggle with the many people trying to buy these spectacles that were limited in stocks during that day when the Snapbot was in your city and try to finish the race ahead.

Moreover, this shortage of products also meant that everyone would talk about these new glasses without stopping and resting. All the comments made on blog posts and social media content about the unique selling approach of the product have helped to increase the demand of people for these glasses. Although we do not have information about the performance of Snapchat glasses, research suggests that the company will earn $ 5 billion from the sale of these glasses alone by 2020.

2) Google

You may still remember those glorious times we thought of joining the Google Plus (Google+) service. You also know that the product launch in the summer of 2011 is based on the principle of invitation. To take advantage of this service, users had to get an offer from Google personally or be invited by their friends who called them to use the application in question. Thanks to this system that appeals to a private group, 10 million users joined this social network of Google in just two weeks. As of September 2011, Google Plus was opened to anyone who owns any account on Google, and in its first year, 400 million people were registered with the system. More than 100 million of them were the most active daily users of the system, and Google therefore began to compete with many popular social networks competing with each other for users' attention.

Although Google Plus ended its broadcasting life, this “invitation” system specific to a certain group, which was introduced during the low supply period, resulted in a very high product demand and a large number of new registrations.

3) Nintendo

When the Nintendo company launched the "Wii" game console in 2006, if you are not a budding game addict, you may have a hard time remembering the fact that the Wii was one of the most in demand products on the market. When the product was officially launched in November 2006, people did not hesitate to queue for a quick access to it. Moreover, the Wii craze was not limited to this. For almost three years, the Wii has dusted off the shelves, such that game stores have had a hard time keeping stock. Nintendo initially increased its product supply to $ 1.8 million, later to 2.4 million units per month.

Ultimately, the product supply managed to meet this intense demand, and as a result, 48 million Wii were sold. Nintendo started with a low monthly inventory, allowing customers to purchase the product in no time. Thanks to this scarcity principle implemented, people were left desperate to buy a Wii the first time they came across. Especially after a Nintendo manager suggested to those who were after the product to "follow the shipping process", consumers were able to closely monitor when the product in question arrived at the stores and thus managed to get their products.

4) Starbucks

Coffee lovers have recently hit the ground for Starbucks adding a beverage made of “unicorn frappuccino” ice cream, fruit flavors and sour sugar to their menu. Because most people have not been able to buy this drink, which is a new favorite in Instagram posts due to its bright color.

You ask why?

After the company stated on the official website that this special drink will be on sale for only a few days, a record amount of orders were received for the drink from day one. So much so that there is not even a designated sales number for this special drink, but there are approximately 160,000 posts with the hashtag #unicornfrappuccino on Instagram.

Starbucks has managed to generate more significant revenue from a limited production product like this one: Starbucks Red Cups. In order to attract customers to its stores during the Christmas holiday season in December and to enable customers to share their RedCups-labeled photos on social media, the company made its coffee services in red cups during this limited period. The combination of scarcity + food and drink, you understand, is the magic equation.

5) Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective company had an extremely simple proposal. The brand promised to ship you $ 100 worth of free tights, provided you cover the shipping cost for a limited time. Moreover, all you had to do was share a link via the website on Facebook.

She had just started Girlfriend Collective's website and asked her female consumers to spread this tights campaign. In this way, he thought that he could transfer the entire amount he would allocate to the advertising budget to the production of tights. A smart approach, right? Think about it, who would you prefer to trust? A Facebook ad claiming to get free tights, or a referral message from friends in your feed?

Taking advantage of the scarcity principle, Girlfriend Collective managed to sell 10,000 pairs of tights on the first day of the campaign alone. Moreover, it has succeeded in making its name known to the masses as well as thousands of customers. The words "limited stock" and "free" were what made this offer unbearable and increased the demand for products.

6) Groupon

Groupon is a company that shares some of its income by partnering with different businesses and offers discounted services in return for new customers. The site often warns of a limited time before the end of the opportunity to encourage visitors to make a quick purchase without the risk of missing a good deal.

For some opportunities, Groupon also uses a few psychological persuasion tactics to encourage you to buy. For example, the number of people purchasing the service is always indicated, thus proving the legitimacy and functionality of the opportunity. That is, the company encourages you to buy using the scarcity principle and the social proof method. Deals are only available for a limited time, and these services have already been purchased by many and have received a high rating. These strategies work very well. Groupon has generated revenue of over $ 3 billion last year.

7) Spotify

During the establishment of Spotify, a music streaming service, the only country that did not need an invitation from a friend or Spotify itself to benefit from this service was England. However, due to the high demand for the product, Spotify had to start requesting invitations to manage all its users in the UK. So why do you think Spotify stopped being an invitation-based service? Because now, anyone can sign up for a premium, paid Spotify account. Using the scarcity principle, Spotify managed to manage high consumer demand by offering a reasonable price to its customers. Today, half of Spotify's 100 million users are premium subscribers.


TOMS shoes offer great value far beyond comfort and style: For every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. TOMS has recently taken another striking step towards charitable work by forming partnerships with different types of advocacy groups to share sales revenue. Like the WildAid partnership, where they produce panda designed shoes to protect the pandas.

The fact that the customer base of the brand is already composed of philanthropists guarantees that they will want to buy shoes for many reasons that will benefit the society. That is why the company even created a small site that provides information on why TOMS and WildAid are partners, as well as some fun facts about unique panda-themed shoe designs and pandas.

After visitors have read this entire engaging site and started browsing the choice of vegan or panda-friendly shoes, TOMS informs themselves - with great skill - that the shoes have a short lifespan. In other words, even helping cute pandas is an opportunity that can be used for a limited time.

TOMS footwear company, as you will understand, uses the scarcity principle to encourage shopping and philanthropic work.

As a result
Using the scarcity principle to promote and sell a product is an effective persuasion strategy, but it is essential to do it properly. You should express the shortage of products as if there was a much larger supply of products in the past, and you should always emphasize that the product is decreasing due to the increasing demand and that there are only a few products left. In this way, consumers will be much more willing to buy. However, if you reflect the situation of product scarcity as if only a few products are available, the scarcity principle will not be as effective at generating new sales as you might expect.