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What Is FOMO In eCommerce?

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It is a broad psychological term with various manifestations. FOMO is also a part of scarcity economics. It makes customers feel a sense of urgency to purchase before they miss the chance to buy the item.

How eCommerce Businesses Use FOMO

FOMO is a good way to leverage your eCommerce business’ presence and sales. Customers are anxious about missing out on something great because someone else will get it first. They want what’s best for themselves and their families, so they’ll want it right away.

If an eCommerce site can convince its visitors that they’re missing out on something great if they wait to buy, it can boost both visibility and profits.

FOMO examples

Fear of Missing Out examples from marketing and behavioral science:

  • You’re in line for a concert and see all the people who got in before you. You start to wonder if the show is sold out, and you’ll have to go home. Someone approaches you and offers an overpriced ticket. Are you interested?
  • You’re shopping online and don’t finish your purchase. The next day you see an ad with the same item, on the same website but with a 15% discount. You can’t miss this chance!
  • You enter the website and see that (what a bit of luck!) only today you can make a bulk order with free delivery and a 5% coupon for the next purchase. Naturally, you press “buy!”

These are just a few examples of psychological reactions we get that can be used in your eCommerce business model to sell more.

Why FOMO Marketing Works

FOMO is a powerful psychological trigger, and it helps to support sales that are built on artificial scarcity. We are programmed to fight for what is scarce because humanity developed by fighting for limited resources. Being included in a social group, having what others have, and being better are imprinted as a form of survival and serve as drivers for action. At the same time, people normally don’t want to accept that FOMO triggers purchases and rationalize their behavior. Marketing wins.

TOP 5 Best FOMO Practices In eCommerce

Here are five ways to get started if you want to make the scarcity principle a part of your marketing strategy:

  • Create a sense of urgency with limited quantities.
  • Play on the fear that others will get what you’re selling faster. Play with scarcity tactics, limiting the number of people purchasing each item, showing the clock, or a number of products counting down.
  • Give potential customers a chance to win something if they buy now.
  • Use social proof to show customers how many others have already bought an item and why they should too.
  • Add an element of surprise by adding some unexpected bits like coupons or rewards for purchases at certain times.


What is the psychology of eCommerce scarcity?

The psychology of eCommerce scarcity is a form of persuasion that uses perceived limitation to encourage customers to buy now or risk missing out. It’s an effective tool in eCommerce because it creates urgency and encourages customers to make decisions immediately.

Can FOMO tactics increase eCommerce revenue?

Yes, it can. If something is in sight for a short time, potential prospects are more likely to buy it because they believe that it will not be available later. This is called the “scarcity heuristic,” and it’s widely used in marketing and advertising to increase revenue.

How is FOMO different from MOMO?

Fear Of Missing Out is the anxiety experienced from not being able to participate in an event or get something you know about. MOMO — Mystery of Missing Out — means feeling like you are missing something, but without knowing what exactly. The anxiety builds when you think of hundreds, if not thousands of products, services, or events that others are happily using, and you don’t even know about them.

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