When we are faced with scarcity, our desire to obtain the scarce object heightens because we fear possible regret over not acquiring it.
This desire is further fuelled if we think that another has a better chance of acquiring said object and benefitting in terms of social position which could be ours.
The scarcity principle is one of the most popularly exploited psychological theories in business. If you are enticed by those banners claiming ‘While stocks last’ or ‘60% off on select styles’, you have been tagged by this ingenious principle.
This principle operates on the fact that the fewer the number of items, the greater the value we attach to them. A statement that claims that the item is available only in limited number it works like a psychological trigger that boosts sales. Short supply = high demand.
Methodology of the Scarcity Principle
In the field of marketing, this principle is commonly propagated using two methods:
- Limited number: The said object is in short supply and will cease to become available when it runs out.
- Limited time: The said object is only available for a particular period of time following which it will become unavailable.
Brick-and-mortar as well as online stores commonly make use of these strategies to increase sales.
Why you need to know it
While you have seen the scarcity principle in operation primarily in business, it is the same principle that we use in our romantic relationships. Playing hard to get makes it seem that you are of high value. Therefore, we can say that this principle is the defining point of many of our social and personal behavioral patterns.
Even when something is in scarce supply weigh its importance to you. This will help you curb any compulsive shopping behaviors and save you money.