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Creating a sense of urgency is known to be one of the main factors helping increase conversions. Creating a sense of scarcity delivers the same effect upon shoppers. So how are you matching your shoppers’ internal urgency, and are you creating external incentives?

Increase Sales with Urgency

Same-day free shipping or a coupon with an expiration date are good examples of how online stores create a sense of urgency. Shoppers don’t want to miss out on the deal, so they act quickly. Here are a few tricks you can employ to create a sense of urgency in your eCommerce:

Set a Deadline

If you’re creating a limited time offer, it must be clear for customers that the sale will end, that there is a sign-up deadline, or that orders must be placed within a specific timeframe. Having a limited amount of time to do something forces us to take action.

Add Urgency to the Copy

Use words like “now,” “hurry,” “instant,” “today,” and “immediately” in your headlines, and whenever possible.

Pick the Right Colors

It’s been proven time and time again that certain colors incite a more immediate response from consumers. For example, we’re conditioned to believe that red implies urgency. Think of flash sales, special offers, or Hallmark holiday promotions. Color is another tool in our arsenal to imply the need to pay attention and act quickly.

Add a Countdown Timer

If it works for your promotion and page, displaying a countdown timer will do a great job of increasing the sense of urgency in shoppers. People tend to process visuals at a faster rate than words, making the countdown timer more effective than using words alone. Be careful, though. Your offer has to be real. A fake timer is considered a dark pattern, and you want to steer clear of that.

Real vs. implied urgency

Urgency can be classified into two types, real and implied. When a promotion has a specific ending date or time is an example of real urgency. The user knows that the offer will no longer be available after that.

On the other hand, implied urgency pushes shoppers to act rapidly by using words like “today,” “now,” or “before it’s too late.”

As a general rule, real urgency is more effective, but you can’t use it for everything. If you can’t apply it for a specific offer, implied urgency can help you achieve a similar result.

Increase Sales with Scarcity

If a consumer feels that an item is running out or flying off the shelves, they will act more quickly. Here are a few ideas to create a sense of scarcity:

Make it exclusive

A VIP offer will create a sense of scarcity. Customers who want in on the deal will have to sign up to get in on the proposal. Be clear in that you will only accept a limited number of entries, or customers each month.

Add Stock Urgency

Do you only have two spots left for your conference? Display that info on your site. Are you down to your last 10 cases of a product? Again, display that info. Doing so creates a sense of scarcity and increases real urgency, which encourages a quicker response from your customers.

In Conclusion

Urgency works, and it all comes down to psychology. A study from Georgia University showed that humans fear loss more than they desire to gain. We’re molded to make decisions in situations marked by scarcity or a potential loss, and these suggestions will help you create them.

Employing these simple strategies to increase sales with urgency and scarcity will result in significant improvements in conversions for your website. If you want to create a solid plan for increasing conversions, drop us a line!

Originally published Apr 27, 2016, updated Aug 11, 2020.