And it turns out that they’ll see best how little is left when you show this on their left. The orientation of information in the shopping environment makes a difference in the shopper’s mental orientation.
Consumers in a set of studies at City University of New York, IULM University, and University of Sassari viewed pairs of shelves in which one side was sparsely stocked with products and the other side was not. The participants were quicker to notice there were slim pickings when it occurred on the left. This was true whether the shelves were arranged side-by-side immediately adjacent to each other or arranged facing each other with a blank wall between. (A methodological note: All the participants in the study had said beforehand that they were right-handed.)
Once the shopper detects genuine scarcity, you will want to decide whether to limit the number of items each customer can purchase. From a strictly business perspective, it would seem that if you allow shoppers to buy as many units as they want, you’re more assured of making quicker profit on the entire inventory.
From a shopper psychology perspective, there are additional considerations to whip you back and forth, left and right, in your thinking:
- Customers who come to your store looking forward to getting a high-demand item will feel betrayed if they encounter an out-of-stock.
- On the other hand, customers who otherwise have an allegiance to your store and encounter an out-of-stock become more likely to come to your store promptly when sales on high-demand items are announced.
- On the other hand, if the purchasers of large quantities then turn around and resell the items online—as happened a while back with the Missoni line featured by Target—your regular customers might conclude that they don’t need to wait in line at your store.
- On the other hand, if the prices charged online are twice as much as your store’s purchase price—as happened with Target’s Missoni line—this adds value to purchasing from you.
Click below for more:
Turn Comparisons Right Side Up
Decide Whether to Limit Purchase Quantities
Offer Scam-Free Scarcity
Hook Experts on Scarcity