An empty store shelf spurs shoppers to buy the closest substitute for the product that isn’t there. This is according to a recent Canadian study which found that “Sold-out products” create a sense of immediacy for customers.
Paul Messinger, a professor at the University of Alberta, found “sold-out” signs create a sense of urgency.
“Sold-out products create a sense of immediacy for customers; they feel that if one product is gone, the next item could also sell out,” Messinger said in a statement.
“Our research shows there’s also an information cascade, where people infer that if a product is sold out, it must have been good and therefore a similar available product will also be desirable.”
A study of Merlot wines found 49 percent of consumers would buy a bottle if they had one choice, but if they thought a similar wine had sold out next to it on the shelf, nearly twice the number of shoppers would buy the available bottle.