7 Ways to Use FOMO to Increase eCommerce Sales

Guest post 12.9.2023. Reading Time: 6 minutes

Wondering what the fuss about FOMO is? You are in the right place. FOMO, which stands for “fear of missing out”, is a marketing tactic mainly used to make people make immediate purchases.

Think about when you bought that coat you didn’t need in the summer because the price would be almost double later—that’s FOMO in action.

That brand understood that people love a good deal and used that to make you buy a winter coat—in the summer. Now, a “good deal” is relative. But in the scenario the business created, you got a great price.

This article will explain what FOMO is and share tips on using this marketing tactic to boost sales in your eCommerce store.

What Is FOMO in eCommerce?

how to increase ecommerce sales
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a marketing strategy that shows shoppers that their inactions mean they will miss out on a great deal. It taps into people’s desires for exclusivity and the fear of being left out.

Brands that implement FOMO understand that buyers’ decisions are influenced by logic and emotions. By using this tactic, they satisfy customers’ increasing demands for an experience as well as social validation. For example, highlighting the scarcity of a product, or offering exclusivity, creates an experience, while getting access to a product or service that others can’t have establishes a sense of social validation.

Brands like Amazon do a great job of utilizing FOMO with scarcity. Visit any Amazon online store, and you will see prominent messages such as “Only 5 left in stock – order soon” or “Limited time offer”.

To implement FOMO successfully, brands must invest in tools that can help them create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Among these are social media tools, email marketing, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools compatible with business phone service solutions like Vonage.

How to Use FOMO to Increase eCommerce Sales

Successfully implementing FOMO in your eCommerce platform goes beyond closing a sale or moving inventory. It cultivates brand loyalty. Customer satisfaction from timely decisions is associated with the brand that delivered this experience. As a result, you get repeat purchases and word-of-mouth recommendations—an invaluable tool in today’s competitive market.

So, how do you use FOMO to reap this benefit and more for your eCommerce business? We discuss different strategies below.

Create Scarcity to Drive Impulse Purchases

People typically want what they can’t have. Think about it: the more a product or service is scarce, the more desirable it becomes. It is the scarcity principle: a product or service increases in value when it is rare or perceived as limited.

When you position a product as scarce, shoppers act quickly. Why? Because the fear of missing out on that product outweighs rational decision-making. This is also backed by years of psychology research.

Amazon is an excellent example of an eCommerce brand that uses scarcity to drive immediate purchases. The image below shows the product page for a countertop blender. Somewhere on the page, you’ll see a message that says, “Only 1 left in stock – order soon.”

ecommerce sales strategy
Screenshot from amazon.co.uk

You should, however, know that branding contributes to Amazon’s success with this tactic. They have built a brand customers can trust, so you must do the same if you want FOMO to work for you. 

A solid domain name is a great place to start. For instance, an io domain name can give your eCommerce business a modern and tech-savvy image. Technology affiliations appeal to younger audiences, especially millennials, who are highly sensitive to FOMO.

Use Limited-Time Offers

What is even more effective than creating scarcity? You guessed right—a limited-time offer. This strategy can be part of a larger strategy, like creating scarcity, or it can function as a standalone plan. However you choose to use it, it works.

Although you can implement the limited-time offer at any time of the year, you must be strategic about when and how you use it. For instance, keep to the ‘limited time’ you advertise, or you’ll risk losing your customers’ trust and credibility.

So, create your limited-time offer campaign by identifying the best time to start and end your offer. Seasonal and annual trends, holidays, or special events can influence this.

After deciding the time, set up landing pages with countdown timers like the one below. This way, visitors know exactly how much time they have left to take advantage of the offer.

increase ecommerce sales
Screenshot from shein.co.uk

You can also use VoIP small business phone systems, especially if your limited-time offer involves a customer service component. These systems can automate voice messages or SMS alerts about limited-time offers to keep your customers informed and engaged.

Communicate Regularly to Build FOMO

Using FOMO doesn’t happen overnight. It involves consistency in branding, messaging, and communication. You must leverage different communication channels to engage your customers and build anticipation for FOMO. Some topics to consider communicating regularly include:

  • New product updates and releases
  • Exclusive offers and discounts
  • Customer success stories and testimonials
  • Event announcements
  • Urgency and scarcity messaging

You can send follow-up and retargeting campaigns through these channels to remind customers about different FOMO triggers and limited-time offers.

ecommerce sales strategy
Screenshot of email from scalenut.com 

The above email from Scalenut reminds the recipient of their limited-time offer and encourages them to take advantage of it before it expires.

To take your communication to the next level, integrate your inbound call center software solutions with a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Leveraging customer data from inbound calls, you can retarget customers with personalized via email or other channels. 

As a result, you can create a seamless and customized experience for your customers, further enhancing the FOMO effect.

Make Customers Feel Special with Exclusive Offers

Exclusivity is one FOMO tactic that works every time. Do you know why? Because people associate exclusivity with status and value. Luxury brands often use this strategy to create mystery around their products.

By making their products limited edition or available only to a select few, they develop a sense of urgency and desire among their target audience. No wonder there’s a waitlist at high-end boutiques and exclusive clubs.

Exclusivity can also help you access email subscribers and potential customers. People love exclusivity, so they are more likely to sign up. Then, you can leverage the benefit of AI in retail and eCommerce to send personalized and exclusive offers to these subscribers.

Pre-Launch Your Product with a Discount

Speaking of exclusivity, another area you can leverage is the pre-launch or redesign of an existing product. If you give people exclusive access at discounted prices, it can create excitement and urgency.

Ensure your system is set up to handle orders and increased traffic. That’s where design patterns for microservices can be valuable. These services scale your system and ensure smooth operations during high-demand periods.

Leverage Customer Testimonials and Reviews

The most important benefit of social proof for your eCommerce business is the bandwagon effect. This psychological concept says that people are more likely to adopt a behavior or make a decision if they see others doing the same.

When using this FOMO tactic, show how people benefit from your product. You can do this by displaying testimonials or showing how many orders have been placed for a specific item.

You can also add user-generated content, such as photos or videos of customers using your product and sharing positive experiences.

One thing to note with customer reviews is that customer service is crucial in ensuring positive comments. So, put some effort into providing excellent support. A remote desktop app for Android can help you get ahead of customer inquiries and complaints and provide real-time assistance to your customers.

Use Exit-Intent Pop-Up

Not all customers that land on your site will take action immediately. Short attention spans, buyer procrastination, and the abundance of options online can all contribute. Sometimes, these buyers just need a nudge. That’s where exit-intent pop-ups can help. This FOMO strategy involves using pop-up windows that appear when a user is about to leave your website.

FOMO in eCommerce
Screenshot from lush.com

This pop-up will offer a last-minute incentive or reminder to encourage the user to stay or take action. For instance, Lush uses an exit-intent pop-up that asks visitors to enter their email addresses to get the latest Lush news. Consequently, they can stay updated on new products and events and remain connected with the brand.

A good practice is to use the exit-intent pop-up at checkout. But make sure it contains a deal only for that time. Make it irresistible by combining it with a countdown timer. Not many people can resist a limited-time offer.

Use FOMO to increase Your eCommerce Sales

FOMO is a powerful tool that motivates shoppers to decide and take action. If implemented well, it can drive traffic to your store and increase sales. This eCommerce marketing tactic can also create brand loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.

However, you must know how to balance using FOMO in your marketing strategy to avoid being pushy or manipulative. The tips in the article are great starting points for incorporating FOMO.

Leverage FOMO in your marketing efforts by understanding your target audience and their preferences.

If you haven’t started using FOMO in your eCommerce sales strategy, now is the time to start. 

Ryan Yee


Ryan Yee
Ryan is an award-winning copywriter, with 20+ years of experience working alongside major US brands, emerging start-ups, and leading tech enterprises. His copy and creative have helped companies in the B2B marketing, education, and software sectors reach new customer bases and enjoy improved results. Here is his LinkedIn..