top of page

15 Ways to Use FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to Boost Ecommerce Sales


FOMO is one of the most powerful psychological motivators for shopping behavior. FOMO stands for “fear of missing out” - and it can be a huge ecommerce revenue driver when used correctly.

In this post, I’ll share 15 proven FOMO tactics and examples you can test on your own site. Leveraging scarcity, social proof, and urgency cues compels visitors to buy now rather than risk missing out.

Let’s dive into driving more sales with strategic FOMO!

Display Low Stock Count or Scarcity Notices

Warn visitors when a popular product is running low in stock or inventory. “Only 3 left!” or “Selling fast!” creates urgency to act quickly.

You can highlight low quantities left on product pages, shopping carts, banners, popups, and emails. Just be sure it’s a genuine limited supply.

Key elements:

  • Show exact quantity remaining or use a progress bar visualization filling up

  • Note when the product is expected to sell out based on current demand

  • If a sold out product, share when it will be back in stock

Scarcity cues make visitors realize they need to buy now or risk missing the chance.

Offer Limited-Time Discounts or Sales

Running special promotions for a short duration capitalizes on FOMO.

Time-bound discounts like “40% off this week only!” or “Sale ends Tuesday!” build excitement and exclusivity.

You can limit these promotions:

  • For 24-48 hours only

  • Through the weekend

  • Until a specified expiration date

To maximize FOMO, use ticking countdown timers showing the time remaining. This adds visual urgency.

Share What Other Customers Are Buying

Social proof is powerful. When visitors see real activity from other shoppers, they feel more urgency to join in.

Some ways to highlight peer purchasing activity:

  • "Jane from Ohio just bought this sweater!"

  • "This grill is selling fast this week!"

  • Show recent orders, ratings, or reviews

  • Note "Trending now" or "Most popular" items

Visitor FOMO kicks in when they feel others are getting a deal or experience they're at risk of missing out on.

Host Limited-Inventory Sales

Special sales around limited allocation inventory supercharge FOMO. Examples like:

  • First 100 customers get 50% off

  • Only the next 20 orders ship free

  • Offering early access or pre-orders on new product drops

With a fixed supply available, visitors know if they don't act quickly, they'll miss their shot.

You can even launch with an announcement of the exclusive limited sale for your email subscriber list first before the general public. This rewards loyal followers.

Offer Free Gifts or Bonuses

Who doesn't love freebies? For a limited time, you can offer:

  • Free shipping

  • A free gift with purchase

  • A discounted bundle deal

  • A free trial extension

  • Exclusive store credit or coupons

Sweetening the pot with time-bound free perks incentivizes quicker purchases. Visitors want to cash in before they disappear.

Use One-Time Discount Codes

Limited-use coupon or promo codes add excitement. Examples:

  • First 100 customers get 50OFF discount code

  • EXTRA10 good for 10% off one order

  • Free shipping with FREESHIP code

Codes feel exclusive and scarce since visitors know they're only redeemable while supplies last. Create a race to enter them before expiration.

Highlight Exclusive Early Access

Offering early access or pre-orders for new product launches scratches that FOMO itch.


  • First chance to buy our unreleased gadget!

  • Be the first to experience our new menu items before anyone else!

  • Get a sneak peek of our Summer collection before it's public!

This VIP treatment makes visitors feel special and part of an inner circle finding out before the masses. Exclusivity sells.

Craft Referral Reward Programs

Encourage visitors to refer friends for exclusive rewards. Examples:

  • Refer a friend and you both get 20% off!

  • Earn a $20 credit for each new referral!

If they don't share the deal, they'll miss out on earning the referral perks. This incentivizes promoting your brand organically.

Show Real-Time Social Proof

Displaying real-time notifications when someone purchases convinces visitors of your product popularity:

  • "Jane in Ohio just bought the Daily Moisturizer!"

  • "5 hair dryers sold in the last 2 hours"

This works great on product pages and shopping carts. Peer purchase alerts build social proof and urgency.

Share User-Generated Content

Visitor photos and videos using your products make compelling social proof.

Ask for submissions across:

Then share this UGC on-site and in ads. It lends authenticity that your own content can't match.

Spotlight Sales Leaderboards

Leaderboards playing up top-selling items spark purchasing competition. Especially when names are involved:

  • Today's top sellers: (products)

  • Jane's #1 Grocery Cart: (items)

Visitors will aspire to mimic top-sellers. It also compels buying items trending up the charts before missing the hype.

Create VIP Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs with elite status tiers utilize FOMO by rewarding best customers first.

Perks like free upgrades, early access, and sneak peeks make lower tiers feel they're missing out on the premier experience. Now they aspire to spend their way up through VIP status levels to earn the same treatment.

Your highest value segment gets rewarded and incentivized to remain active.

Host Limited-Supply Flash Sales

Time flash sales around products or categories with low inventory left:

  • Coats - 50% off for the next 2 hours!

  • 10 pcs of jewelry - first come, first serve!

The lightening deal format creates positive urgency to snag deals before stock sells out.

Use Retargeting Ads with Deals

Retarget visitors who abandoned carts or browsed products with special discount offers.


  • Come back to claim 25% off your cart!

  • Today only - 10% off the shoes you viewed!

The personalized perk incentivizes them to convert before losing eligibility.

Email Recent Purchasers Promo Codes

Send buyers limited-time percentage off or money off promo codes by email shortly after their purchase.

This taps into post-purchase FOMO by encouraging fast repurchases to maximize discount savings.

People don't want to miss out on saving even more money on their next order. Time bound codes compel immediate action.

Put FOMO Psychology to Work


Wielding FOMO isn't about manipulating customers. It simply involves aligning incentives so visiting your ecommerce site and purchasing now feels most compelling.

Subtle urgencies and social proof taps create positive peer pressure. Visitors see value in taking action now rather than delaying or going elsewhere.

Test different scarcity and exclusivity cues across your site, ads, and emails. Find the right balance to increase perceived demand and intent to buy.

FOMO nudges lead to higher conversion rates, lower abandonment, and repeat purchases. Just stay ethical - never mislead customers.

Let me know if you have any other questions on leveraging FOMO psychology!


bottom of page