While at work on Saturday, the radio was playing advertisements. One particular advert that stuck out to me was regarding the sale at DFS. This is nothing new, I don’t think I have ever known a time when DFS hasn’t had a sale running. It’s got to the point where I think I’d go into shock if DFS started to sell things at full price. In any case, this advert was really slamming home it’s message. That is, SALE ENDS MONDAY. YOU MUST BUY BEFORE MONDAY! TIME IS RUNNING OUT! Now, I know, as much as anybody knows, that Monday is categorically not the last day that I will ever get an item on sale at DFS. However, they are using the ‘Scarcity Principle’ (Cialdini, 2007) to make people believe that this genuinely is the case, regardless of the company history. The Scarcity Principle works on the idea that things difficult to get hold of are often superior to things that you can get at any time, on any day, with no variation in its price. DFS are attempting to trigger urgency in a customer, making them believe that time is running out for this one time offer, and if they don’t act now they are going to lose out. Considering DFS are always on sale, this principle must work quite often. Either that, or they are in deep financial trouble and are desperate for some cash-flow.
Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins.