5 FOMO Techniques to Increase Online Sales

A time-bound sale highlighting scarcity


Akram Tariq Khan

3 years ago | 3 min read

Large eCommerce organizations have been known to deploy Fear of missing out or FOMO tactics to increase revenue. It leverages human psychology as a push marketing strategy to turn window-shoppers into actual buyers.

The basic instinct that triggers such impulsive decisions is the fear that others might have exposure to experiences better than us.

According to a Strategy Online survey, 64% of users claim to have experienced FOMO, primarily in the age group of 18 to 30. 60% of respondents also made a purchase due to FOMO.

Ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Sephora, and Flipkart have leveraged this apprehension. On similar lines, small businesses, specifically eCommerce portals, can leverage these time-tested strategies.

A time-bound sale highlighting scarcity

Setting a time limit on the sale period or a countdown wherein discounts are feature creates a sense of urgency. Amazon does it every year, usually around festivities.

Think what makes the ‘Black Friday’ sale so successful – it is the time limit and scarcity which pushes people to make impulsive purchases under pressure.

Flash sales are an established industry-wide practice to help boost sales by offering products at huge discounts albeit for a short period. The amazing part is: customers are persuaded to buy stuff even when they don’t necessarily need it at the moment. To highlight scarcity, one could display the current stock levels.

Depleting stocks is an effective measure – the thought of someone else ordering that remaining last item proves unsettling for many.

Free shipping with limits

Shipping fees are an obsolete practice – every other eCommerce store offers free shipping. According to a MarketingLand report, 90% of users state that free shipping is what encourages them to buy while shopping online.

What one could do is leverage this tendency by offering free shipping only above a certain billing amount. Customers would add that extra product or simply buy what you try to upsell or cross-sell.

Personalized offers

Time and again, we have experienced how personalized offers and discounts are hard passes; customers appreciate opportunities exclusively available to them.

I would delay a purchase if an offer is available to all customers but I am unlikely to do so if it’s an exclusive offer nearing its expiry date.

It is icing on the cake if the offer is on products related to what they recently bought or on those that they added to their wishlist/browsed. Businesses could customize these coupon codes with the customer’s personal attributes like their first name to make it a point that it is an exclusive one.

Social proof does wonder

The bookish definition of social proof is a ‘psychological and social phenomenon’ which encourages people to imitate the actions of their peers or other people.

Major eCommerce platforms offer plugins to leverage social proof – they display recent sales activity or other actions like newsletter signups. Consumers have a need to seek validation for their actions – and positive reviews or testimonials work in the same area.

Develop avenues for user-generated content

Positive user-generated content – be it reviews, questions, blogs, or activity on social media posts is strong proof that a brand is credible. A Local Consumer Review survey report reveals that 82% of consumers read reviews online prior to purchase – and an average user reads at least 10. Showcasing user reviews is a must.

If you don’t have them for specific products, use widgets that display site-wide reviews.


Created by

Akram Tariq Khan

Akram Tariq Khan is the co-founder of YourLibaas, a UAE-based designer apparel eCommerce company. He is an MBA in Human Resource Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. As a hobby, Akram develops online games and recently created Bhag Corona.







Related Articles