Apr 9, 2020

Scarcity-based business approach -the new normal?

The 21 days lockdown announced by the Indian Prime Minister has created a troubled nation, looking for this embargo to get over. While the optimists are overconfident, the pessimists write their own doom story. However, there lies a problematic middle part.

It is not just people who are anxious, businesses overall are eager too, as they stare towards a challenging three-quarter of Recession or very significant economic impact.

Being slightly insulated from the global supply chain, we are caught in the downward spiral of our own, and there are many questions unanswered.

Once the lockdown is lifted will the following period of scarcity of product and services have a long term impact on the customer loyalty/ demand for their products.

Business Continuity, along with the overall impact of the future, will be the next challenge on their minds.

Instead of focusing on future and opportunities that the future brings in most people are currently spending time anxiously waiting for this period to get over.

Light(goal) at the end of the tunnel (even if not visible now):

Whether lockdown ends on a particular date as announced or sometime in future businesses will have to walk on a thin line between immediate to long term goals. Everyone was affected by the scarcity of essentials due to sudden lockdown, hoarding, anxiety.

This experience is one of the best ways an organisation can build “Scarcity” as a means to their growth strategy. Scarcity as growth strategy allows an organisation to showcase their offerings as extremely useful and needed by consumers, but, that it’s also not widely available. Shortage can push a customer towards higher value instinctively and creating the pull.

You don’t need hundreds of crores to drive a scarcity led growth strategy. Even smaller organisations can offer innovative offerings at a limited budget. The opportunity is to create a bundle of product & services apprising customers the need to invest in a priority.

However, scarcity will bring new learnings. The learnings of growing old fashion way, without investor money or growing slowly. Scarcity work only in cases where the product and services are irreplaceable. There are many case studies (Apple, Bose, Vulcan tablets, Vertu Mobile phones, Patanjali – a few years ago-, Goldvish) available to learn.

However, it’s a dual-edge sword, and if companies what to pursue have many things to consider.

What should you as an organisation do


  • Create a sense of urgency. Offer a value bundle at a price point for a limited and minimal time. Make this value offering a once in a lifetime opportunity obviously without compromising on profitability or maybe on a cost-plus basis
  • Product & services should not be easy to replicate, or the offer under the scarcity business model should be too good to be true
  • Ensure these value bundles are available to your customers as soon as they are ready or the situation allows
  • Offer this on a limited time limited stock basis
  • There should be a genuine demand or a need.
  • It should be affordable or if expensive than premium only.

Market, market, market (effective campaign)

  • Create a marketing campaign around FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Workout to make a profit or cover costs
  • Associate with top leaders industry leaders influences To endorse your product and services offered during this time to create herd mentality or follows following their leaders
  • Capture stories well timed in well covered promote it heavily on digital space, source to get better returns for your communications
  • How about re segmenting/undertaking a review of market segment quickly more like a dipstick then a deep dive
  • Create examples for customers to follow
  • Capture mind Share and wallet share

Cost Driven approach

  • Don’t be greedy. So what should one do?
  • leverage shared services
  • identify your / customer goals
  • How can you help customer
  • Create your buyer persona

Reciprocal Relationship

  • Create a mutual relationship as part of this initiative. Or create a loyalty program for customers who explicitly endorse to associate. This will be a way for companies to tell their customers that they value the Association.
  • Associate your brand with the community do inspire people to take action off buying your product or service
  • Create case studies

Please leave your comment. Share your story on how are you going to deal with the scarcity of your product and services. Has shortage ever helped your business goals?