FOMO and eCommerce – success story or failure waiting to happen?


In our latest blog post we are trying to get to the bottom of what seems to be pandemic trend all around us. Are we letting FOMO guide our actions, how can this concept be used in eCommerce and should we use it at all? Scroll down for more!

Do you have a Fear of Missing Out?

Are you an early adopter of everything that seems it might be relevant in the future, or at least, the next best thing for a while?

What is the reason behind downloading all those apps, or opening, let’s say, Pinterest account?

Any account for that matter.

Do you even remember how did it all begin?

Is it FOMO that drives you to try it and test it, or is it simply the reputation that you have proudly build for so long that know shouts in your ear – we have to try that!

Maybe we are missing out!

Fear of missing out

Let’s take a moment and reflect on what happened month ago when H&M introduced Balmain collection.

Let’s take a moment and remember the stampede that spread all across Europe whipping out sanity and replacing it with grabbing.

And then let’s ask several questions..

  1. when did it became so important?
  2. is it being misused?
  3. should you use it on our online stores?

First thing that appears when talking about FOMO is trying to remember where have we seen it, as it sounds dreadfully familiar.

We have seen it everywhere, and today eCommerce giants are using it widely.

But is there something wrong with this method?

And what could we conclude if we would compare online and offline when it comes to FOMO?

Let’s go a bit deeper and see if we can conclude can it do any good for your online store?

What is FOMO?

According to Oxford Dictionary, FOMO is..

“Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

Wikipedia says:

“Fear of missing out or FoMO is a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. This social angst is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”

Meaning – grabbing something that we are not even sure it fits?

FOMO is a phenomena indeed.

And it can easily be applied to anything.

Let’s see how traditional and online store owners use it to increase sales.

Brick and mortar only? Online only? Or..

All over the place.

Brick and mortar are simply using – signs.

We all know them all to well – “Today only”, “Last chance to buy”, “Last minute offer” and “All sales final”!

One of the famous examples found online is, most certainly, followed by all those Groupon like websites.

They used it not only to inform you how many vacant beds or rooms do hotels that you are currently browsing have, but to insert the feeling of urgency and make visitors bring their decision faster.

It is a tactic that will certainly drive in visitors fear of missing out, and it will naturally lead them to bringing their decision faster.

Loads of visits on your online store often mean that customers are simply browsing.

They are comparing prices and they probably have in mind that after they realise what the best offer is, they will come back and purchase.

This could be your moment.

If they are browsing that means that they are half way towards purchasing the item.

Simply suggest that one, or a collection of items meant for sale will quickly vanish.

Doing this will touch deeply your FOMO suffered buyers.

Meaning, the answer is no.

Black Friday queuing in front of brick and mortar also shouts – “come and stand behind us, you will miss out!”

It seems like it serves as a form of social proof.

And in the eyes of retailers, it seems to be working.

And when it comes to eCommerce it means another thing – no lines, no pushing and fast checkout.


Should you use it on your online store?

You are the one that knows your buyers best.

Sure, scarcity paired with FOMO can most certainly help you increase your conversion rates.

On the other hand, you should always make sure not to over do it.

The idea of a promotion or sale of any kind that is time sensitive will either make your buyers hurry or protest!

That is why you should be subtle if you opt for manipulating your buyer’s fear of missing out on your store.

Of course, you should always measure your results and outcome.

Your buyers will let you know quickly what is it that they think about your latest strive to increase sales.

Social media definitely changed the way we function on daily bases, the way we organize time, see our friends, shop.

But it also gave you opportunity to listen to your customers whispering about things they like and don’t like.

And you should always pay attention to what they are saying, and use it to direct the way you run your online store.