4 Techniques To Instill Urgency On Your E-commerce Website

4 Techniques To Instill Urgency On Your E-commerce Website

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 10 Jul 2017 by Paul Hogg
Digital Strategy


We’re all familiar with these phrases; the shops we visit have big, bold signs reading ‘SALE’ and online retailers have ‘BUY NOW’ written on buttons on their websites. These are designed to instill a sense of urgency in the visitors, encouraging them to part with their money ASAP.

So how can you instill the same sense of urgency on your website that countless numbers of large companies succeed at? In this blog post, we’ll explore our top 4 tips for doing so:

#1 Add Time Sensitivity

Nobody likes to miss out on a good deal, and E-commerce is the perfect place to utilise this fact. People’s sense of loss aversion is an incredible force for selling; adding a set amount of time left to claim an offer can appeal to this sense and get visitors rushing to snap up products they’re interested in (and even some they never intended to buy!).

Try adding a countdown timer to your product or sales pages to get people extra hyped-up. Maybe also experiment with abandoned cart emails that send limited time offers over to visitors who added products to their cart, but left your website without purchasing. Both of these are fantastic CRO techniques.


#2 Create Scarcity

Another good technique to create a sense of urgency is to make it appear that there aren’t actually many products available. In the past, the tech giant Apple purposefully sold out of iPhones before everyone could get their hands on one. This makes people think that the iPhones are actually more popular than they originally thought and make them rush to grab the next one available, even at a higher cost.

You can implement similar techniques on your E-commerce store: “The first 50 people to sign up to our newsletter will receive 10% off all products”, “Only 8 left in stock”, etc.

#3 Word Wisely

Studies in the past have shown that people subconsciously react to certain words they read. For example, hearing the words ‘danger’ or ’emergency’ in a sentence has been shown to elevate heart rates slightly, even when heard in a completely safe context (“there is no emergency”).

You can use this same technique to add urgency to your website: Simply by including words such as ‘now’, ‘hurry’, ‘quickly’, ‘limited’, etc, you can inspire your visitors to react quickly and buy as soon as possible.

Buying online

#4 Make Them Invest

This one seems slightly counterintuitive but works surprisingly well in some contexts: Make your visitors work for their product.

While much of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is based around making the shopping experience seamless and easy, sometimes it pays to make your visitors work for their product. For example, if a customer is looking to purchase a high-end laptop from your website, asking them to customise each key part (within reason) makes them feel like they’ve invested effort to get to this point, so are more inclined to purchase, even at a higher price.

In psychology, this is known as the theory of effort justification. Basically, if people put effort into acquiring something, they would rather continue to the end than scrap what they’ve done altogether, even if the latter means getting it at a better price elsewhere.

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