Playing Hard to Get – Scarcity & Persuasion

The last principle of Cialdini’s 6 principles of Persuasion is the idea of scarcity. If you’ve ever seen a limited time offer, expiry date, or been on Groupon for more than 10 seconds you will see scarcity in action.

Where do we see it IRL?

coupons - scarcity

Have you ever bought something you’d never buy only because you had a coupon for it?

Oh yeah.. you know what scarcity feels like.

Where do you find it on the web?

Companies like Groupon, Gilt, Beyond the Rack, and Ebay have thrived on the Scarcity Principle.


I don’t even WANT to buy a boat and the moving countdown still made me panic.

At Shopify, one of our most popular campaigns is the Build a Business Competition. We host this competition alongside Huffington Post.We ask people to build a business in 8 months. The top nine contestants with the highest sales receive $50,000; a trip to New York City to meet with mentors like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, and Mark Cuban and a Shopify POS package (complete with an iPad), enabling them to sell to their customers face-to-face.

The catch? You only have 8 months!

Not only does this bring many people through the door but seeing as its a limited time offer pushes our customers to their entrepreneurial limits.

Think it’s impossible?

It’s not… we have the social proof to prove it.

A lil’ Exercise

Grab a paper & pen, evernote or Google doc and jot down some ideas to the following questions:

  1. What are the most common ways you’re compelled to act FAST?
  2. What promotions, campaigns, and pages can you use it with your business?

Want to Learn More?





Questions? Comments?