#Asia Take advantage of FOMO and use shortage as a strategy if you want to get a crazy amount of users


When something is rare, it becomes more significant, and it creates thriving demand

People these days are fully into FOMO ( fear of missing out). Human tendency is astonishing with its powers and similarly baffling with their own set of limitations. The concept of shortage strategy in terms of conversion optimisation takes three things into consideration:

  • Heuristic approach for app conversion potential;
  • High obsession with data and testing;
  • Profound understanding of human behavior.

When something is rare, it’s of higher significance and it creates thriving demand. If the same thing is in abundance — the demand vanishes like vapor. The shortage is basically an economic problem, which is related to the human needs in an era of limited resources.

Also read: Leveraging the on-demand economy: Lessons learned from Uber

The same rule applies to the application sector.  With the flood of apps, the era of shortage has disappeared long ago, which made the user engagement quite difficult for startups and developers. Thus the concept of shortage is one strategy use for driving sales. When it comes to gaming, it is the secret to monetisation. The fundamentals of scarcity include timing, desires, access, driving actions and availability. Let’s check out how shortage works to drive the users to mobile apps.

1. In the context of shopping apps

Creating a sense of extinction in the users will attract them to transact on a spontaneous basis. This specifically happens with shopping apps. When something is scarce, usesr have to make an immediate decision of buying, thus leading to more sales. This means lower cart abandonment — users will not leave their carts pending if they see a rare opportunity. This is very clearly depicted in the case of flash sales. Visitors can convert into buyers on the spot.

2. Limited edition

Offer the market with limited quantity — this will create a wave of rush among users, who want to get their hands on the product first. It’s win-win situation for you. When you create an illusion in the market about rarity, this will help increase the perceived value in the mind of consumers.

3. In the context of gaming apps

You might remember Pokemon Go. In its heyday, the app drove people crazy all across the globe. The reason was that it let users have the opportunity to search for some really rare Pokemon, which have astounding supernatural powers and which were really tricky to capture. Users were eager to catch these Pokemon, but they appeared only in specific zones. Catching them is also not that easy. These evoke curiosity in the users, who are then forced to invest their time to use this app.

4. Time limitations or barriers

There are apps that limit access time to devices. Take for instance screen-time limiting apps that parents use to control device usage by their kids. This creates some excitement and anxiety for its users, who will often keep watch until they can use the device again. It is the same with offering content on your applications — you can provide content for a limited time, or give users a deadline for access or buying.

5. In the context of dating apps

Tinder, along with other dating apps, makes optimum utilisation of the shortage strategy to gain user engagement. The basic function of Tinder is that you will need to swipe either left or right if you want to make a match. Well, well, well … hold your excitement as you are available with only limited number of right swipes, and this makes each right swipe very significant. To make usage even more engaging, you have to wait for a time period of 12 hours before getting the swipes restored. This will make the user obsessed with waiting for his or her next turn.

Also read: Tinder rules in Asia, but data shows it is fuelling competition

6. Deal of the day

Developers have to come up with different mobile app development tactics to keep users interested. Running a “deal of the day” is one such tricks, wherein apps can be offered for free or at a discount. These tactics attract old users into becoming loyal followers, and also invites new ones. This can also include a countdown feature, wherein users will be required to make rapid decisions.


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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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