Website Testing Wins: Scarcity Sells… for a Limited Time

By ​Peter Borden

December 19, 2011

If people think they have a limited window in which to take advantage of a particular offer, they are more likely to make an impulsive purchase immediately. That's the theory behind the marketing strategy known as "scarcity."

So, let's see this theory in action. An online retailer conducted an A/B test, changing the pricing information to the right of the product image on select product pages.

In version A, the visitor saw "Today’s Price" with no scarcity indicator. In version B, scarcity was introduced by adding one line that read "Offer Ends in..." followed by a timer that began counting down as soon as the visitor landed on the page.

The result? Scarcity, as supplied by the counter in version B, proved to be a winner—although not by an overwhelming decision. Version B increased average order value (AOV) only slightly (by 0.07 percent, to be exact). However, for this large online retailer, even such a small margin of improvement in AOV proved to be a “million-dollar campaign.”

It's more support for the theory that good things can come in small packages.


For more website testing wins, download Monetate's 13 Website Testing Wins eBook.

Peter Borden is a former marketing strategist at Monetate and was responsible for PPC and email marketing strategy. Peter's also an expert on the psychology of persuasion, influence, and conversion as well as an active iOS developer.

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