Do you think eCommerce websites can use FOMO to boost conversion rates? Let's talk about FOMO first.
Do you feel anxious after seeing the lifestyle of people more successful than you?
Or when you’re notified about a clothing sale from your favorite brand — even when you bought from them a month back? Yes.
Well, you’re not alone. It’s actually a physiological phenomenon known as FOMO or fear of missing out.
With the rise in smartphones and social media, FOMO is becoming increasingly common.
Be it seeing your friend’s vacation photos on Instagram, making a purchase thinking what if something better might come soo. Or, checking Twitter every few minutes to see if someone has engaged with your post or not.
What is FOMO?
Fear of missing out is a feeling or perception that people experience when they feel they are letting an amazing opportunity slip. It leaves people anxious, envious, or sometimes even motivated to take action.
The phenomenon was first identified by a marketing strategist, Dr. Dan Herman in 1996. Since the advent of the internet, the impact has only amplified.
Today, FOMO is increasingly used by companies to create marketing and advertising campaigns. In an era where getting a user’s attention is becoming harder, FOMO helps make the campaigns stand out.
Reports show that 60% of people make purchases because of FOMO, mostly within 24 hours.
If you run an eCommerce business and you’re not using FOMO on your website or emails then you’re missing out on a lot of potential sales.
To help you leverage FOMO effectively, we’ve brought you 14 different examples of companies using it on their website.
1. Giving out Freebies alongside a deal/product
When buying products, nothing gives a user more joy than getting complimentary products or freebies. Imagine getting a freebie when you upgrade to a certain plan or when purchasing products above a certain value.
Doesn’t it get you excited or persuaded to make the purchase decision faster? Whether the freebie is as small as a gift voucher or a product, it motivates buyers to make the purchase quickly.
BarkBox, a monthly subscription service providing dog products, uses the same strategy to drive more subscriptions.
In this example (refer to the screenshot above), they’re giving out free toys to users that subscribe for more than a month. This is a very smart way to convert new visitors and upsell existing customers.
Giving out freebies is a great way to build strong relationships with customers, alongside getting maximum revenue out of them. You can even take the strategy a step further, by not telling them what the freebie is. This increases the excitement levels.
And, for the record, we don’t mean giving free product samples or giveaways. While we don’t doubt the effectiveness of such strategies, it doesn’t help in increasing conversions or creating a FOMO directly.
2. Selling limited edition products
Limited editions as a marketing tactic is widely used. Brands like Adidas, Nestle, Coca-Cola have been leveraging it for decades. It is human psychology, the fact there are only just a few thousands of a particular product, makes it more desirable and exclusive for people.
This compels them to take action quickly. This is why limited-edition products sell out in a few minutes.
MeUndies, a Los Angeles–based underwear and loungewear company, uses this strategy to drive more sales. For example, in 2020, they launched a limited edition product line up inspired by the popular TV series, The Mandalorian.
They’ve even re-emphasize the fact that the supply is limited and the product might get out of stock soon by bringing it out on their website copy.
When executed right, selling limited edition products can not only skyrocket your sales but also attract a completely new user base. In this case — fans of a popular show. Just remember, as a best practice, try to use the strategy only a few times every year.
3. Incentivize first-time buyers with an offer
Converting new visitors into customers is the hardest. It becomes even harder when you’re a relatively new brand.
You might be selling the best product in the world but to get users the taste of it, you need to get them to place their first order.
So how can brands motivate users in doing that?
You can drive FOMO by creating an exclusive offer for first-time buyers. Such an offer that persuades users in making a purchase. This is especially useful in converting those who are still not ready to take a call or are new to the brand.
Example showcasing the execution of FOMO on Winc
Winc, a wine club membership, and gifting site use the same strategy to drive more sales. They do that by giving users a 20$ discount on their first purchase.
The strategy is perfect for subscription businesses. This is because the lifetime value (LTV) of the customer is more than just the first purchase. If they find the products valuable, they can end up sticking with the brand for a long period.
4. Bundled offers
Product bundling is an effective technique to increase the average order value, one of the most important e-commerce metrics. It’s also a way to drive FOMO as most of these bundles are discounted.
For someone looking to buy multiple products, getting them in a bundled offer makes a deal more compelling. It encourages them to make the decision faster to get a better deal.
Casper, a popular eCommerce site that sells sleep products online, uses personalized product bundles to increase sales. In this example, along with their mattress, they’re offering pillows and bedsheets along with a mattress as a bundled offer.
They’ve different offers for their product bundles including a 20% discount. This helps them convert users faster and increase the order value.
This strategy is very effective in converting users who’ve already shown a strong interest in your product. You can even promote bundles on emails to bring users back to the website.
5. Showing what users are buying in real-time
People are often attracted to shops where there’s already a lot of users. This the reason why we see long lines in front of popular food trucks. It’s because people are more confident when shopping from a brand that’s already trusted by a lot of customers.
eCommerce too can show their best products and who’s purchasing in real-time through third-party tools. They can show who’s buying, their location, and the product name.
All the settings can be further customized depending on the requirements eCommerce businesses might have. For customers, it helps in gaining more trust in the brand and making a purchase from them.
MaskClub, one of the largest eCommerce sites for masks, uses the same strategy to create a FOMO in customers and drive more sales. They show the users purchasing the products in real-time on the website.
6. Limited time sale
Users are bombarded with multiple offers daily. It has impacted so much that a lot of the users admit that their buying decision is largely impacted by discount offers. Businesses run different types of offers including for a specific time — daily, weekly, or seasonal.
Any limited offer forces the user to jump on the deal as they’re fearful that the offer might not come again ever or anytime soon. This creates a FOMO effect.
Casper, a popular eCommerce site that sells sleep products online, uses the same strategy to drive sales. In this example, they’re giving a 10% discount on all their products until a particular date.
But to get your users to truly believe in the discount and to the fact that it’s not coming again is a huge challenge. Hence, eCommerce businesses need to be careful in promoting different offers and the gap between them.
7. Limited stock nudge
One of the most effective ways to create a fear of missing out is showing the exact number of products left in stock. Not only does it increase the value of the product — by showing that it is scarce — but also encourages users to purchase it sooner.
In the above example, Amazon uses the same technique to create FOMO among customers. It shows the exact number of products left in stock. They also drive urgency by saying that if you’re interested you should “order it soon”.
Just remember showing the exact stock number is more effective than simply mentioning “in high demand” or “while stocks last”. This is because it makes it look genuine and the messaging credible.
8. Showing out of stock/expired deals
Highlighting the deals or products users have missed buying is also an effective way to drive FOMO. This ensures that they take action sooner on the other remaining deals that are going to expire or the next time when the sale is live.
Amazon runs daily deals where certain products at a special discounted price. Because every deal has a limited quantity, when they sell out, the deal is highlighted in the missed deals section. This provokes the user to take faster action on the current and upcoming deals from Amazon.
9. Exit intent Limited time Discount Popup
Companies can leverage exit intent technology to show popups right when the user is about to leave the site. These pop-ups can contain a special discount code or offer aimed at luring the users into making a purchase.
Unlike time-based popups, which can often be annoying for visitors, exit-intent popups don’t annoy them. It’s the perfect way to recover abandoned visitors.
This is because it makes them feel valued and creates urgency as they can avail the discount only for a limited time.
To gain the most out of this strategy businesses should ensure that:
- The popup is shown strategically at important pages like the product, checkout, etc.
- The discount code is unique and not available anywhere else on the website or third-party sites.
10. Providing Free Shipping for a limited time
You don’t always need a huge discount to convert visitors. Offering something as small as free shipping for a limited time can be equally attractive.
It plays a decisive role in making a purchase online. In fact, 93% of consumers are likely to spend more if an online store offers free shipping.
In this example, Chubbies, an eCommerce website that sells shorts, uses this strategy to drive urgency among its visitors. Here they are offering free shipping on orders above $35. This forces users to complete the order before the sale ends.
This strategy is especially useful for brands that don’t want to decrease the value of their products by discounting them. Just ensure you’re showing this information at the right places, especially during checkout.
11. Drive email subscribers
Converting visitors into emails is very critical for any eCommerce business. This helps them to keep them engaged by sending promotions and notifying them about their products. The idea is to convert them at a later stage.
But simply asking users for their email is not enough. You need to make the offer more convincing by providing them something in return.
One way to go about this is by offering discount coupons/vouchers to newsletter subscribers.
In the above example, Revolve — a clothing brand — is using FOMO to drive newsletter subscribers. They are offering a 10% discount voucher as an incentive to subscribe. They’re emphasizing the offer again in their CTA “Get my coupon”.
Leveraging such a strategy can skyrocket your conversion rate on such popups. Just ensure that you’re triggering them such that they’re not annoying or disrupt the user flow.
To increase the urgency you can also set a countdown timer on your popup.
12. Showcasing real user experiences
A lot of our buying decisions are impacted by other people’s experiences. This is why we end up checking customer reviews and their experiences of using a certain product.
According to reports, 72% of customers don’t take any action until they have read reviews and testimonials from existing customers. This is why companies highlight user-generated content on product pages and home page.
Nanit, an American technology company that develops baby monitor devices, drives FOMO by promoting user experiences. To make it genuine, they’ve shared images captured by their device and also included customer’s review and their social media handle. They even call it out in their website copy by saying “Real parents. Real Moments”.
There’s no doubt that sharing real experiences is more appealing than discounts and promotions as it forges an emotional connection.
13. Using Subject lines for FOMO
Want to drive FOMO through emails? Start with the subject line.
Subject lines have the single most important element that decides the fate of any email (whether it gets opened or buried in the sea of other promotional emails). With everyone leveraging emails to bring back users and drive sales, it’s important for brands to stand out.
One way to do this is to get the attention of the subscribers by bringing out the scarcity through the subject lines. Few examples are subject lines starting with “Limited-time only”, “Last 12 hours”, “Deal ends tomorrow” etc.
Manchester City’s kit store uses the same strategy to promote an exclusive limited time deal with their subscribers. To increase the urgency they’ve mentioned the last date for availing the offer.
Just ensure to make it as specific as possible. You cannot send every email saying it’s a limited time offer and expect the same conversions. You’ll need to make it genuine and show that they’re missing out on grabbing a deal that might not come again soon.
14. A personalized offer
In a sea of promotional emails, a personalized email with an offer can do wonders. It’s very hard to resist opening such emails, especially if it has your name in the subject line. Sometimes all it takes a user to convert is a personalized engagement.
It can be as simple as offering a special discount to users on their birthday. Since the offer or discount is tailored to them and is for a limited time it creates an urgency to take action. Reports show that personalized email campaigns receive 29 percent higher email open rates and 41 percent higher click-through rates than ordinary emails.
But personalization is more than just using the user's first name. You need to make use of every data that helps make you create content that’s very relevant to them.
Personalization is more than just a strategy but a way to create stronger and deeper relationships with customers. This helps you create a loyal user base.
So, hope you've cracked the FOMO puzzle. Keep in mind that to achieve the most success in building FOMO, the copy and the call to action are also very key in all the above tricks.
Let us know in the comments below if you've been able to generate more conversions through these ideas.