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Josh Clysdale
 
January 22, 2013 | Josh Clysdale

Using Scarcity Tactics Effectively

Any marketer will tell you that scarcity is one of the most effective and often used strategies.

Why?  Because the biggest barrier to a sale is procrastination.  This can either be for a tangible reason ("let me see if I can find it cheaper somewhere else before I buy") or an emotional reason ("I want to but I really should cut back").

Sales are a great procrastination buster, but used too often, these can both devalue your wine, and train your customers to wait for when the prices go low.  It is best to arm yourself with a variety of scarcity tactics in your arsenal and rotate them to keep your customers buying and your marketing fresh. 


Members Only Offers

While most often used for Wine Club Members, a savvy marketer can get creative with this idea.  Why not offer those attending an event a special bottling of the wine they tasted?  Or segment out a group in a certain geography and give them a set-shipping offer.  Many wineries create entire blends, formats or merchandise just for a customer segment.  This not only creates loyalty but drives sales as well.

Here, the winery has created a category in the store just for wine members' wines.  These wines are not shown in the general store page, and are only set up in the back-end to be sold to club members.

Showing the Quantities Left

If you are tied to an inventory system, this is a handy way to show the dwindling quantities during a set sales period.  The cautions here are to make sure it is accurate, because otherwise your customers will feel lied to.  Also, only use it in truly low numbers.  Remember 50 cases may seem low to a winery that produced 20,000, but for a customer that drinks a bottle a week, 50 cases may seem like a huge amount of wine and you may lose your urgency.

This discount retailer not only counts the bottles of wine left in inventory, but also employs a small animated .gif of a wine-hourglass dripping to create a sense of urgency.

Allocations

Allocations are great when you have an established customer base and you need to manage distribution of your wines.  You can ensure that everyone gets some, and it isn't being horded, or resold which could hurt your brand.  Set these up thoughtfully with knowledge of your customer, and add in incentives to buy more if possible, as in the example below.

Limited time Sales/Promotions

All sales have limits - either time or until supplies run out.  But if you're creative, you can try a variety of pre-releases, library releases, sales windows, re-purchase club wines or other offers to see what resonates with your customers.

Here the winery combines several scarcity tactics.  There is a time factor as the wine is a pre-release.  This wine is also a wine club exclusive, so only members can log in to buy.


Limit on Purchase Volume

Limiting the quantity can be combined with a sales timeframe, or just always in place.  Either way it is an effective nod to the scarcity of your wine.

In this example, a bundle has been created, and then a limit set on the number each customer can purchase.  It is coded in the back-end of the website, but also explained to the customer about the purchase.


If you use a combination of the above, not only will your customers keep engaged, but over time you'll start to see which customer responds to which type of offer, and be able to target more effectively.

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