Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in E-commerce: How Businesses are Making the Most of FOMO Marketing

Ecommerce, Fear of Missing Out, Marketing, Product, Push Notification

E-commerce Sites Are Adopting FOMO Marketing as A Strategy

Contrary to popular expectations, fear of missing out, commonly referred to as FOMO, plays an extremely critical role in the E-commerce realm. Let’s dive into how this interdisciplinary topic occupies a significant position in our interactions, thinking, work approach, decision making, and purchasing. This blog will attempt to dive deeper into the concept of FOMO, explain how E-commerce sites are actively adopting it as a selling strategy, and discover the many correlations at play. 

You most probably visit an E-commerce site with a specific need in mind. On the contrary, you may have some free time in your hands and want to spend it casually strolling through your favourite E-commerce site, browsing and reviewing products that you may consider buying. While some do tend to end up buying items in this funnel, some just end up favouriting a couple of products that initially grab their attention but walk away when it comes to checking out the shopping bag. Have you ever considered what affects our purchasing decision and what could push us through the edge faster? Unexpectedly, a major player here is fear of missing out or FOMO as a concept ingrained in our human psychology.

What is this FOMO?

FOMO is a psychological phenomenon or feeling that makes you feel like you are pushing a great opportunity aside and missing out. People experiencing this emotion feel as if other people might have more fun and experience better things when compared to their situation. It is a common phenomenon that many people come across, being overwhelmed in the face of a missed opportunity.

Humans flourish on great opportunities feeling as if they are capitalising on their situation and gaining maximum profits. Indeed, one can trace back this concept into our evolutionary instincts, where the human drive to survive in the face of struggle and risk caused them to seek the best option possible at all times. It is a valid impulse shaped by our ancestral heirloom that may affect critical decisions like buying behaviour to this day, whether we are aware of it or not.

Today, many correlate FOMO with social media and digital penetration, increasing the level of social comparison in the society. Social media platforms tend to portray people at their best and show a constant flood of feeds where people enjoy life, divulge new experiences, and commit to new adventures. This may create unrealistic expectations and images surrounding how other people live life, inevitably pushing people towards social comparison.

The feeling of FOMO isn’t isolated with the sense that you might be doing better things with your time; it also includes missing out on experiences that could be significantly important for you and your self-growth. The concept embraces many different forms; it could be a Saturday night party where you opted out to stay home or a work decision where you decided to take the safe route with the higher pay or more. Regardless, it imposes a feeling of missing out on something huge.

The first person to ever refer to the concept was Dan Herman in 1966, who explored what FOMO meant as a marketing strategy. The concept quickly accelerated right after, with social media imposing people’s life highlights and creating a distorted image of comparison with what is normal.

So how are we affected by this situation? 

What Does FOMO Marketing Do? 

In E-commerce, the biggest reason FOMO is being used so actively is that the urgency and the prospect of missing out on things have a huge impact on shaping people’s decisions. According to “trustpulse”, 60% of people who experience FOMO shop mostly within 24 hours.

FOMO marketing talks about digital messaging and storytelling that appeals to consumer expectations and makes them think they have an opportunity to slip through their fingers. For many consumers, an impulsive purchase seems immediately better than regretting not acting on the impulse later. 

Human beings are considered to be extremely risk-averse species. That is why many people tend to shy away from making purchases, facing the risk of committing money on an item or service that will not meet their expectations. But, when it comes to the potential of regretting missing out on an opportunity, we feel risk avoidance instincts again. Say you are considering buying a new phone and have a general understanding of how much money you are willing to commit and what kind of phone you are looking to get. 

You are surprised to see a push notification introducing a massive promotion given by your local Apple Store. Surprisingly, the phone in the ad looks like the phone you were imagining. Despite not having reached a final decision on what kind of a phone you want to purchase, now you are beginning to feel FOMO because you don’t want to miss the promotion. You might, at the end of the day, be saving a lot of money for something you were already thinking of buying anyways. Say hello to FOMO marketing.

Fear of Missing Out Push Notification Example

Viral campaigns help instate FOMO among consumers; it makes people think everyone around them is buying a product or considering an opportunity, making them want to join in on the bandwagon as well. There are many ways to approach this concept to convince prospects to complete a purchase. 

Let’s dig into some details and relevant scenarios. 

FOMO Marketing Examples

Fear of Missing Out Example

You’ve just moved in, and you’re looking for a nice coffee table for your living room. Something on the page has caught your eye, and you’ve entered the product detail page to view its details. You liked it very much and decided to buy the product later. With this decision, perhaps you will not revisit the site; maybe, you will decide to buy from another store. You come across the banner or a pop-up out of nowhere that says a limited number of that product is in stock. You can see that 5 people have viewed the product and 35 people have bought it in the last 24 hours. If you leave the site now and postpone the purchase, the probability that the product will run out is quite high. You do not underestimate this possibility and buy the product immediately.

This is one of the most concrete examples of FOMO marketing! The example we see in the scenario is called “Social evidence”, one of the most powerful tools that can be used in FOMO marketing to increase on-site conversion rates. If more than one user is viewing or purchasing the same product at the same time, the user says, “the product’s stock is limited, and more than one person is currently viewing it like me; it might run out any minute!” This type of thinking pushes people to purchase products significantly faster than others! 

Fear of Missing Out Example

Like Social Proof, the “time factor” is one of the most powerful campaigns that can encourage users to buy. In the case that there is a limited time for the offering, there is a countdown for the campaign to end or a limited discount for a specific term; the user will be encouraged to purchase before this term ends. These kinds of marketing scenarios push people to think that they may not encounter this opportunity again and will have to act quickly on it not to miss out. These kinds of campaigns take many forms, such as push notifications, emails, FOMO push statements, and notifications on limited offering campaigns. 

How the E-commerce Realm Uses FOMO Marketing 

There is a super high chance that you’ve already come across a FOMO marketing example in your experience with an E-commerce site. Many E-commerce sites use email, push notifications intensively to reinstate this feeling of FOMO in buying behaviour. Site owners use these email and push notifications to remind people of products they viewed in the past, pages they have visited, and encourage them to convert through showing limited stock, a campaign deadline, an expiration on a discount, creating a sense of immediacy. Along with these campaigns, it is quite likely that you will buy the product or products under the influence of FOMO.

E-commerce solutions like Segmentify help you capitalise on FOMO marketing to help unlock the potential of your E-commerce site and boost your sales. Our personalised push notifications that build up from FOMO marketing techniques have proven to increase ROI 122% by converting previously unsatisfied cart abandoners. We create personalised content in the sales funnel through banners, products, and alerts that remind visitors to continue shopping and not miss out on opportunities. Explore our personalised push notification offering and more here. 

This article attempts to convey the concept of FOMO, FOMO marketing and build upon successful examples of FOMO marketing to clarify how E-commerce sites utilise it to boost sales and conversions. We often see and hear that marketing methods, especially where psychology and E-commerce are intertwined, are successful. This is one of the great beauties of multidisciplinary approaches! Discover more on Segmentify’s blog page.