Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Online Sales Strategies – Missguided

Online retailers all have different strategies to convince the buyer that they need to buy their goods. Recently, I noticed a very blatant one on Missguided. When you click on an item to view it more closely, two banners pop-up on the image. These play on a few different things in hopes to make you commit to buying that product.

By showing how many other people are currently viewing the product and how many have sold in the last 48 hours, Missguided are showing that this product is in high demand and may well sell-out. This suggests the product might be scarce. Research by Parker and Lehmann, (2011) showed that products that were scarcer on the shelf were purchased more, Lynn and Bogert (1996) found that scarce items were valued more highly, and Aggarwal, Jun, and Huh (2011) noted that limited-quantity scarcity influenced purchase intentions. Therefore, by implying that a product may be scarce, the retailer should expect to see an increase in sales of that product. 

Theory of Planned Behaviour – Social Norms (Ajzen, 1985):

These pop-ups also play on the concept of social norms. In Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour, a key element that leads to a behaviour is whether someone views that behaviour as a social norm, and therefore whether it is acceptable. By showing how many other people have recently purchased this item, Missguided are showing the consumer that, by doing the same, you are abiding to this social norm.   


Aggarwal, P., Jun, S. Y., & Huh, J. H. (2011). Scarcity messages. Journal of Advertising40(3), 19-30.
Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In Action control (pp. 11-39). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Lynn, M., & Bogert, P. (1996). The effect of scarcity on anticipated price appreciation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology26(22), 1978-1984.
Parker, J. R., & Lehmann, D. R. (2011). When shelf-based scarcity impacts consumer preferences. Journal of Retailing87(2), 142-155.

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