10 excellent, tried-and-tested FOMO marketing strategies for ecommerce to boost your sales

Be it the club your peers are hanging out at or that one particular shade of pink that's been colouring your Instagram feed on the daily, the Fear of Missing Out is a compelling force! As social beings, more often than not, we're inclined to fit in, or to at least keep abreast of the trends that dictate our online and offline existences. Harping on this tendency of consumers to regularly be in the know-how, FOMO for ecommerce is a boon to your business which, if you haven't yet incorporated into your marketing strategy, you're certainly missing out!


Outline :

1. Why will it work?

2. The FOMO marketing mantra

3. FOMO marketing strategies in practice

4. Conclusion


1. Why will it work?

FOMO is more than Gen Z slang. It is a psychological phenomenon rooted in our social orientation. The Fear of Missing Out is often associated with anxiety and insufficiency one may feel upon not being part of a social experience. This could be an event, a tangible product, a skill or even a concept, a 'way of life' that has ascended the social ladder and has got a grip on the people surrounding us. FOMO motivates action and involvement, as we do not usually wish to be stuck in our outmoded ways and would indeed like to bask in the comfort and style that we believe befit our lifestyles. Research states that travelling is the leading generator of FOMO, followed closely by social gatherings and food.

TrustPulse statistics put the number of millennials experiencing FOMO as high as 70%, the bulk of it centered around Facebook usage, and more than half of social media users have admitted to experiencing FOMO. Additionally, over 40% of shoppers have acknowledged instances of purchasing for the sake of 'keeping up' and FOMO-induced instant buying has been reported among 60% of the people.

FOMO for ecommerce enhances the positive application of this compelling power to boost the consumers' appetites and to alert them to pace up buying lest they should feel excluded from the shared joys that describe the popularity of a product. On a finer level, FOMO marketing can be implemented to create a sense of exclusivity and generate wider interest in your business.

2. The FOMO marketing mantra:

In the present era of proliferation of images and the breakneck pace of life, it is both vital and trickier to get people to engage with your content, to pay it due attention and drive conversion rates. How does one stand out in a manner that isn't gimmicky and helps convert lookers into buyers? We have deduced what we'd like to call SUS- 'Scarcity-Urgency-Social Relevance' - the mantra that is at the core of Fear of Missing Out marketing for ecommerce, explicated as follows:

  1. Scarcity: Human instinct, conditioned for basic survival, has always held in primary regard the maintenance of an adequate supply of resources. Even when needs turn to wants, provided the right impulse, one is wont to ensure the safeguarding of their interests against an inevitable exhaustion of the object of said interest. Sustenance and hoarding, both on far ends of the spectrum, are linked by the utterly human fear of possible denial and missing out that drives us to restock before we run out, seek out alternatives in case of delayed renewal and ensure that we're making the most of the best and procuring the best among most. Alerting consumers of a product's limited availability is a prime trigger to clicking on 'Buy Now' against the inertia of window-shopping.

  2. Urgency: Time is of essence in decision-making, and can be skillfully wielded to guide your visitors towards making a purchase. When pressured by the ticking of the clock, we are inclined to take more, rather than nothing at all. In order to keep up with the heady rush of contemporary life, one dictated by constant change and an influx of options, a 'sense of the now' may be evoked to counter one's lingering tendencies.

  3. Social Relevance: Social media is a digital archive of our dreams and desires, a nexus where our present material conditions meet the lifestyle of our aspirations. In such close affinity, there is an endless cycle of influence, imitation and initiation into successive social circles of 'haves'. Thus, it is imperative that businesses weave into their marketing strategies the credibility offered to their products and brand by their social presence. This may be done at the helm- the trend-generating altars of celebrities and influencers, or at the level of one's immediate friends and acquaintances whose choices may be called upon by the target consumer's purchasing intentions.

  4. Now that you know what's at the heart of FOMO marketing, not utilizing it to increase conversions of ecommerce websites would be sus, no?

3. FOMO marketing strategies in practice:

Having cracked the code of leveraging FOMO for ecommerce, we have compiled down below the most effective techniques of FOMO marketing that have endured the test of time and constantly show scope for innovation and expansion to suit the particular needs of your business.

  1. Communicate urgency with time-bound perks:

    Ranging from limited-period discounts to time-sensitive trend indications, this tactic is fundamental to delivering that extra push that will increase conversions for ecommerce websites by streamlining casual visitors in the direction of making timely, profitable purchases. Free shipping is known to be the most popular of these, while scraping off COD charges or organizing discounts across products clubbed as per seasonal trends are also beneficial. Another skillful tweak you can make is that of showing the customers 'Offers Available Now' pop-ups underneath a product that hint at the possibility of them securing a good deal by not procrastinating.

  2. Administer social proof of a product's credibility from friends, family and influencers:

    Another effective way of positively leveraging FOMO is by indicating to your visitors if any of their friends and acquaintances have also come looking for the same products and services and even made purchases. You may step up on your game by partnering with influencers, whose shoutouts and personalized takes are an excellent way of communicating to varied audiences the usefulness of the product and its relevance. Influencers have at their disposal an emotionally-linked, loyal following of people who trust their recommendations and look up to them for cues about their own personal and social lives. This relationship is also conducive towards synthesizing brand-reliability if a person with a strong public presence regularly cites the efficacy of your products as such advertising involves personal stakes about the credibility of one's word-of-mouth.

  3. Highlight the discount availed upon instant buying:

    A simple visual reorientation, such as emphasizing to your customer the discount they're obtaining, especially during billing and checkout, may very well be the key point of difference between shelving the item into the cart to marinate among a dozen other choices or to collect dust and clicking on 'Buy Now' for immediate purchase. A related technique is to also highlight the date of delivery- follow an 'Order Now' message by an indication 'to get by…' as the certainty of the day of arrival might just be the extra boost needed to combat customers' indecision.

  4. Tik-tok, show them the clock to nudge customers towards checkout:

    Countdowns have been proven to exert on people a considerable amount of pressure which often implores one to quit overthinking and just get things done. A looming awareness of the ticking away of the seconds, as with a site-wide (or restricted) flash sale, the expiration of an offer or the validity of a discount code, nourishes a sense of urgency, especially in case of impulse buying.

  5. Utilize a product view counter to indicate popularity and demand:

    Numerical data is known for its reliability, unmediated by words and thus giving the viewers a feeling of being free from manipulation. By listing on your website the latest product views (or even number of sales) for the past few hours or even days, you effectively attach to that product a sense of relevance. The role that this plays is twofold- the number of views are a clear indication of what's hot and trending and also serve to generate competition among the buyers who, once made aware of a steep rise in demand, are much more likely to rush to secure the goods before they sell out.

  6. Follow the 'first come, first serve' formula and limit sales to dissuade viewers' procrastination:

    Limiting sales is a time-tested method of hastening viewers' decisions in your favour. You might be familiar with YouTube videos beginning with a special discount code for the sponsor's platform (think SkillShare); these advertisements, more often than not, explicitly state that the code is valid for the first hundred customers or so. A clear distinction of numbers this way is more effective than an ambiguous 'offer valid till stock lasts' as viewers usually have no means to decipher the size of the stock as suggested by the latter.

  7. Generate scarcity alerts by revealing low stock levels:

    Marking products which are selling fast, such as the little thunderbolt that Urbanic places next to its popular items, is another way of creating FOMO for ecommerce and nudging visitors and bag-stockers to buy asap. 'Selling Fast' notifications may especially be put to effect for items placed in the cart or a user's wishlist. Making evident in numbers the sheer demand is also super effective in tipping website cruisers to the other side. This technique is seen functioning mostly in travel bookings, such as those of hotels, where listing only a handful of vacant rooms remaining is a powerful driver of conversion rates.

  8. Tell them what they missed:

    This, in effect, is a means of recycling your marketing techniques and prolonging their lives! A discount coupon expired or a sale skipped your audience's notice? Let them know! Notifying people of the opportunities they might have missed generates FOMO retroactively, but serves to alert them to be on the lookout so as to not repeatedly let great deals slip from between their fingers. Remember, however, that the point is to appease the FOMO by ensuring that they will have another chance- envisage a pre-festive sale upon the culmination of which you can send emails highlighting the best of what just passed, and follow it up with a festive sale. Ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart are known to practice this during the Dussehra-Diwali and Christmas-New Year festive seasons.

  9. Nurture exclusivity by creating consumer groups with special privileges and a reward system:

    What separates your followers from the rest? What are the benefits accrued to those who pay you proper attention? Creating exclusive offers, or even making your followers privy to early-bird privileges and information (or catalogues) about lucrative deals well in advance foster loyalty, ensure regular visits to your website and foster FOMO among those who haven't yet been taken up by your brand. Erecting a smart rewarding system for regular customers and expressing your gratitude go a long way. Shein occasionally sends its frequent buyers free gifts on festivals and even drops in an appreciation card with a discount code, addressed to them. Similarly, opening memberships across different criteria is another interesting way of drawing in a stable consumer group and holding their attention by the perks offered. Many ecommerce platforms, such as Smytten, have reward categories for referrals, trials, etc. that have helped them charm their way into the hearts of consumers across a diverse spending capacity.

  10. Use social engagement to foster consumer relationships:

    Go a step further than generating temporary FOMO- establish enduring relationships to convert lookers into buyers and obtain quality feedback and testimonials by featuring buyers on your blog or social media accounts with an incentive of broad outreach. Visitors to your profile are much likely to stay and relate with people they see themselves in rather than high-glam celebs who are the stuff of dreams. Buyers whose efforts are recognized publicly are also better inclined to routinely recommending the business's products and services.

Apart from the aforementioned concrete techniques of utilizing Fear of Missing Out marketing for ecommerce, there are other ways, both traditional and innovative, that may contribute to FOMO or have it as an underlying principle. Think of the good old mailing lists which are not only a means of classifying customers based on engagement but also an analytical tool and even a test-run arena for the latest offers you have in store. FOMO for email marketing is proven for efficacy, provided you bypass its spammy appearances. Avoid standard 'Limited Time Offer' and other hackneyed subject lines. Instead, generate curiosity, pose a question. Take a look at emails sent by Dictionary.com and many language-learning websites which dedicate email marketing to piquing the curiosity of the receivers and initiating clicks instead of ho-hum calls to action that are often flagged as spam or get ignored in the deluge of inbox.

Multi-channel marketing is another highly collaborative, modern wonder that harnesses social media engagement and interest in live events to build a stream of subscribers and to convert visitors into customers. A website sale can be made to go live on Instagram, a Twitter space may be what the buzz is about if it promises some exclusive content. Take your cue from Shein's periodic sales that are hosted live by influencers wherein discounted prices meet the added bonus of style recommendations from the best in the field.

Giving visitors a sneak peek of your content is another proven marketing strategy that, for our digital generation, contributes to FOMO. New York Times and many online journals and magazines, while keeping the rest of their content duly gated, often slacken the paywall for an article circulating high among the trends and furthering relevant discourse, and once viral, they're back in the category of paid content. Communities of readers, socially conscious citizens, scholars and media savvy youth do not want to miss out on the conversation, and subscriptions trickle in from those dedicated to follow a conversation to its conclusion. People want to be parts of groups', have inside information and answers to pertinent questions of the time. FOMO created around such privileged groups or special-attribute cliques is of essence in order to increase conversions of ecommerce websites.

5. Conclusion

A word of caution- you do not want to overwhelm your customers. FOMO is often such a potent force and an endless cycle that an oversaturation may very well lead to people logging off altogether. It is imperative that you regulate the FOMO you nurture for your business by a steady mediation of supply and consumer satisfaction; don't overdo it with mind-numbing notifications and exaggerated subject lines. Demands must not be frustrated frequently by creating a thunderous rush of sales and stock depletion.

In this post-pandemic world of ours, many have taken to unplugging and a more proactive, first-hand involvement in managing their social media experiences. Thus, FOMO for ecommerce in 2022 also needs to adapt to this growing self-awareness with a more humane and socially conscious approach that doesn't desensitize your viewers to your message or dissolve its veracity in the digital web.

There is a thin line between discernment and desperation, and FOMO marketing sits poised in that space, ready to be moulded constructively to boost your sales and lay the ground for a loyal consumer base. As our routines revert to a readjusted normal, avenues to utilize FOMO in business shoot up anew each day, from fitting seamlessly in a refurbished workplace culture to new and safer ways of partying and enjoying life's little luxuries. Fear of Missing Out marketing for ecommerce must excavate these global shifts to locate buyer impulse and opportunities to build your business around enabling people to be in the know and facilitating their move in an era of change galore.


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