It’s a very human thing to want what someone else possesses, and to be anxious about the possibility that not doing something – whether it is watching a particular TV show, being involved in a given event, or buying a certain product – is the wrong choice.
The phenomenon has even been summed up in an acronym – FOMO, or the “fear of missing out”. What you might not be so familiar with as the owner of an e-tail store, however, is how you can tap into the FOMO that resides in your own target customers to drive sales.
Even something as simple as an add-to-cart button or a call to action like “Buy now while stocks last”, can help you to play on potential buyers’ FOMO across the landing pages and product pages of your online store. But what else can you do to trigger such a key fear in your site visitors?
Accept pre-orders for upcoming products
If you’ve ever read a press release for a newly announced product like a hotly anticipated smartphone, handbag, videogame or music album and placed a pre-order for it on your favourite online shopping site, you’ll already know the power of this functionality for driving FOMO – and sales.
After all, when we’re among the first to have a particular product, it often makes us feel that bit more special – as if we’re members of an exclusive club.
And when you present your customers with the option to pre-order that product, you won’t just trigger their FOMO – you’ll give them a way of alleviating it, too.
Indicate the product is ‘limited’ or ‘out of production’
Brands have long described products as ‘limited edition’ to spur prospective buyers to commit to a purchase of the item straight away.
Of course, another way of seeing it is that all products are ‘limited’ in the sense that none of them can continue in production forever. So, when a certain item in your store does approach the end of the line, another opportunity exists to trigger FOMO by actually displaying the quantity remaining of that product on the product page, before it becomes permanently out of stock.
Display a countdown timer
When the opportunity to buy a certain product at a particular price is time-limited rather than stock-limited, there are few things quite as effective at instilling that ‘FOMO’ urgency as incorporating a real-time countdown timer on the same page where the customer will be browsing the items.
After all, such a timer would be a highly visual reminder of the approaching deadline, complete with movement to catch the shopper’s eye as they compare your sale items.
Embed social media posts on your site
There are ways to drum up hype about a particular product that don’t involve you having to fork out a hefty amount of cash for the services of celebrity endorsers or social influencers. In fact, if people are making a fuss about your product on social media right now, why not draw shoppers’ attention to this, by embedding the relevant content into your site’s own pages?
Just make sure you actually do use the embed tools that the leading social networks make available – there’s this handy guide from Twitter, for instance – so that you are linking directly to the posts in question, rather than stealing content and infringing someone’s copyright as a result.
As you can see, triggering the “fear of missing out” in your e-tail store’s visitors can be handy for getting them to hit that ‘buy’ button for items on your site that they may have otherwise had a merely casual interest in.