The Extensions and Ends of Influence: E-Mail to Exploding Deals

Cait Lamberton, University of Pittsburgh

Scarcity is one of Cialdini's most time-honored and consistently-used principles of influence. In its newer manifestations, it appears in the form of exploding deals and time-limited offers in online environments, widely-recommended by digital marketing gurus as a way to motivate purchase. However, in this research, we find that this robust tool does not always operate in ways that help retailers. In fact, we repeatedly observe cases when time-based scarcity may depress willingness-to-pay for time-limited products. These findings offer both a prompt to develop a richer theory of online scarcity effects and call into question the fluidity with which we should assume that offline promotional tactics will work in the online world, calling for researcher-firm collaboration in the construction of more dynamic, meaningful frameworks.

Related Conference

Spring 2018 Board of Trustees Meeting: The Why Behind the Buy

To access presentation materials, you must login or register for full access.



Employees of MSI Member Companies enjoy the benefits of complete online access to content, member conferences and networking with the MSI community.



Qualified academics benefit from a relationship with MSI through access to, conferences and research opportunities.



The public is invited to enjoy partial access to content, a free e-newsletter, selected reports and more.


Join the MSI mailing list

Stay informed of the latest research and events