The Impact of Scarcity Messages on the Online Sales of Physical Information Goods

Cremer, Stefan
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For physical consumer goods with no considerable information component, past research has identified scarcity, due to market conditions or as a producer strategy, as a driver of intention to purchase and willingness to pay. In contrast, information as the major value-creating component of physical information goods is inherently non-scarce. While anecdotal evidence suggests that intended or unintended scarcity can benefit sales of physical information goods, the underlying mechanisms have not been systematically investigated so far. To close this gap, this research develops a model based on an extensive literature review. The model is tested against evidence from e-commerce sales data of 34,748 information goods. We find that quantity-based scarcity overall decreases sales, but is associated with an increase in the quantity purchased among all purchasing customers. We discuss implications for theory development around the scarcification of information.
Electronic Marketing, e-commerce, information goods marketing, scarcity messages
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