10 Scarcity Marketing Strategies To Boost Your Shopify Restock Email Conversions

Most of us have experienced this – when we find out that products are scarce, difficult to get, or selling out fast, we want to buy them all the more. Because we don’t want to miss out on them.

Marketers call this scarcity marketing – a marketing strategy that plays on the consumers’ psychology of fear of missing out. 

Brands use scarcity marketing strategies all the time to boost sales. But in this article, we’ll focus on the use of scarcity marketing to improve conversions from back in stock emails for your Shopify store.

Let’s jump in!


10 scarcity marketing strategies to use for back in stock emails


1. Use the power of numbers to show scarcity

You can use the tactic of using numbers in your back in stock emails. When you send a restock notification, let the subscribers know that the product is back in stock but might not be available for too long. Do this by showing them numbers. 

For example, …it’s back in stock, but in a limited edition of 20. Or, only 5 left, 120 others browsing this product right now, 5 sold out in the last hour.

Why it works: When you add specific numbers to show scarcity, it has a greater effect on the shopper’s psychology. Because numbers help us understand situations better. They bring in specificity. 

In the examples shared above, the different messages are crafted to drive different emotions and feelings. When people read there are only 20 numbers available, they will feel a sense of exclusivity, and will want to buy the product. But, because there are only 20, they should buy it fast. Also, the human brain is wired to perceive scarce products as more valuable. 

When people read that 120 others are browsing the product they were waiting for, they are certain to feel FOMO (fear of missing out) and will want to purchase it faster.

2. Show products are selling out fast

Have you ever come across a long queue of people lined up outside an electronics store to buy a newly launched phone? Yes, it’s a common occurrence. Some people wait for products. And they don’t mind queuing up because they know the product might sell out.

Similarly, another way to apply the scarcity marketing strategy is by letting your restock notification subscribers know that the item is selling out fast and so, they must make the purchase soon. There are many ways to trigger this through your emails:

  • Show social proof by sharing the number of people buying the item in real-time
  • Tell subscribers how many people are on the waitlist for the product
  • Show the number of pieces available and the number of pieces sold

Why it works: When you show/tell your subscribers that the product they had been waiting for is selling out fast, it means it can go out of stock again. This shows there’s high demand for the product. Subscribers might feel FOMO and make the purchase faster.

3. Add limited-period incentives 

The fact that people subscribed to your restock notification email means they were interested in the product. But it’s possible that by the time the item gets restocked, they lose interest or aren’t so keen to buy it anymore.

To lure such subscribers who are on the edge, you can make use of incentives for a limited period of time. You could offer different types of incentives:

  • Offer a free gift
  • Offer a discount on the item or for the next purchase
  • Free shipping
  • Same-day shipping
  • Reward points
  • Personalize the incentive based on any information you have of the subscriber

Why it works: Incentives might help reignite shoppers’ interest in the product. They might see more value in making the purchase because they’re getting something more with the product. 

Here’s an example of a back in stock email with a discount incentive.

scarcity marketing strategy

4. Time related scarcity

Last day to buy, get a 10% discount only today, or product restocked only for one week. 

By making something timely, you can create a sense of urgency. For example, by offering a discount on the restocked item only for a limited period of time, you can do two things: create a fear and give shoppers something more for a lesser amount. 

Why this works: Offering a limited-period discount is a way to let subscribers know that if they don’t order soon, within the discount period, they might lose the opportunity. Behavioural economists call it loss aversion and define it as a condition where a person places greater emphasis on avoiding losses than receiving gains

Hence, the chances are, subscribers will order soon to avail the limited period discount.

Here’s an example:

scarcity marketing strategy

5. Show limited availability 

You must have come across things like ‘Last 2 left’ or ‘Only for the first 5 customers’. We are always drawn to things that are hard to come by. Aren’t we?

Limited availability of a product might not be the result of it selling out fast or it being in high demand. It could even mean that the product is exclusive and is produced in a small number. 

For example, brands that produce goods in small batches or items that are handmade are often produced in smaller quantities. 

In such cases, it’s important to mention in your restock emails that the items have limited availability. You could even explain to your subscribers why there’s a limited stock.

Why it works: People associate something that’s limited in number or scarce as exclusive and more valuable. Limited availability can trigger many strands of scarcity – it makes subscribers feel exclusive, makes them feel unique and special, and for many, owning a limited-edition item might even be a status symbol.

6. Show demand and popularity 

Another tactic to trigger scarcity is to show how popular and in-demand the particular product is. How do you do this? With the help of social proof. In your back-in-stock emails, show social proof in the form of customer reviews, user-generated content such as photographs, videos, etc. 

Why it works: When we see that other people have bought or are buying something, we trust the purchase decision more. It has an informational social influence on us and we end up copying their actions. 

7. Trigger scarcity via countdowns

Have you ever come across timers showing time ticking away while shopping online? Does it have a direct effect on your heart beat? Well, almost. It makes a lot of people anxious. Countdowns are a tried and tested way to trigger scarcity and urgency.

Here’s how you can use them as a scarcity marketing strategy in your restock notification emails:

  • Show a live timer. For example, …available for 7 hours, 20 minutes, 25 seconds.
  • Offer a discount to the first 20 buyers only. For example, 15 discounted pieces sold 
  • Offer the product only for a limited time. For example, only today
  • In this era of GIFs, it’s even easier to show a countdown timer in your restock alert emails

Why it works: Timers create a sense of urgency, which is related to psychological factors such as FOMO and scarcity. Moreover, timers help you create a sense of scarcity without making it look obvious. 

An example:

scarcity marketing strategy


8. Show availability based on product specifications

Let’s say a person subscribed to a restock notification for a white shirt. He needs a size M. In your restock email notification, you can mention the availability of the product based on the features like size, color, etc. If the email mentions 3 available in size M, the chances of the subscriber buying it faster are higher.

Why this works: When we’re looking for something specific – for example, a specific size, color, feature – we might want to buy it before it goes out of stock again. This scarcity marketing strategy works best for clothes, accessories, electronics items such as phones, etc.

9. Show real-time sales activity 

57 people are browsing this product right now. 5 people bought it in the last hour. 

If there’s a way you can show real-time activity to subscribers through your email, you can urge them to make purchases faster. 

While it may not be possible to show real-time activity within the email, you could take the shoppers to the page on your site that shows this real-time sales activity – the product page, show it as a pop-up notification on your site, etc.

Why it works: Seeing that something we waited for is getting sold out again, in real-time creates a higher level of anxiety and fear of missing out. Chances are, the subscriber will make an instant purchase. 60% of people make impulse purchases due to FOMO.

10. Use power words that convey scarcity

When crafting your scarcity marketing strategy communication and content, it’s important to use the right kind of language and words. This brings us to power words. Use power words or trigger words that induce a feeling of scarcity.

But wait…

This doesn’t mean you stuff your emails with trigger words. There are some limits to scarcity marketing. It doesn’t always work. Here are some dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t make it too obvious that you’re trying to create scarcity to sell
  • It’s always good to test which power words work better – try A/B testing
  • Don’t use scarcity marketing strategy for every back-in-stock email. Use it in moderation

Why it works: We humans make all our decisions based on emotions. And words have the power to spur emotions. Using power words in back in stock emails to create a sense of scarcity can help boost conversions.

Final thoughts on scarcity marketing strategy for Shopify restock emails

Just like your other email marketing strategies, you will have to get your scarcity marketing emails right. Craft it smartly. Keep your email subscribers at the center of your strategy. Personalize your Shopify restock emails wherever possible. Use a good Shopify restock app to help you out. When done right, it can work as magic for your Shopify store.

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