November 28, 2023

The Power of the Illusion of Exclusivity

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. While supplies last!

Act NOW! Don’t Wait! This article won’t last long.

Ok well, that’s not true. Take a chill pill. Relax. This article isn’t going anywhere.

But did you feel that? That sense of urgency? That #FOMO rising from within? Your face is flush. Your heart may be beating a tinge faster.

That my friends, is the POWER OF EXCLUSIVITY.


By making something exclusive, rare, or “once in a lifetime”, you can create a feeling that can lead your customers to be more impulsive, be less indecisive, and ultimately buy your merch.

That may be obvious, but there is an art to crafting the illusion of exclusivity. If done incorrectly, it can make your business look desperate and weak, but when done subtly and creatively it can make your products stand out feeling rare and special.

Let’s build an example.

So you have an idea for a new shirt you want to sell. The design is simple. It’s timeless. It speaks to your audience with authenticity and flair. Great! Good! Awesome! Don’t stop there.

When you go to sell this t-shirt, remember the illusion of exclusivity. Of course if you are using a print on-demand platform there is very little risk of your shirt selling-out or being “out-of-print”, but that does not mean you cannot have some fun and craft an interesting story.

Simply promote your shirt using emotional pulls like: “While Supplies Last”, “Exclusive Design Available to the First 50 Customers”, or simply “Get ‘em while they’re hot, this deal won’t last long”.

Build some facebook posts and ads, instagram images, or simply tweet it out. However you like to promote, tell the same story and build that feeling of “Act now, or you’ll miss out”.


If you can combine your marketing story of exclusivity with a site-wide promotion or discount on your merch, this tactic will be even more effective. Most e-commerce platforms often have site wide deals that can also impact your store. Leveraging promotions like “FREE Shipping for the Next XX Days” with an “exclusive” shirt deal can double your sales potential.

Once you’ve promoted your merch, make the story a reality. When you hit your sales goals, make your merch “Sold Out”. Tell people they missed out. Take the product out of your store or better yet mark it as “out of stock” so people can see they were too late. Then in a month or two, if your first trial of exclusivity was a success, make it available again with promoting “Back by Popular Demand”.


It is important to be careful when crafting an illusion of exclusivity. Do not do it too frequently or it will seem in-authentic and cheap. Like getting targeted by a seagull at the beach, once is lucky, but everyday… that just stinks.

You see fast-casual restaurants try this tactic all the time. Why? Because it works. They understand the illusion of exclusivity and execute it perfectly.

Which reminds me, isn’t the McRib coming back again soon?

——— If you’ve tried using the power of exclusivity when selling your merch, we’d love for you to share your story. Leave a comment. Start the discussion!

Learn even more about selling your merch:

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