sense of urgency

The Best Urgency and Scarcity Tactics to Increase Your Sales

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Urgency and scarcity tactics can be useful for increasing your store’s sales. When your store uses scarcity, your customer perceives that there’s a limited supply of goods, which compels them to purchase the product. Urgency is a time-based strategy, making customers develop a fear of missing out which compels them to buy within the limited time constraints.

With scarcity tactics, customers are motivated to buy products because they see that everyone else is buying it. The product has been validated by others, making the customer feel like it’s a great buy. Store owners can artificially create scarcity by creating an exclusive VIP offer for former customers only or even by selling fewer products.

With urgency, customers end up buying goods because they feel like time is running out. There may be a countdown timer on the product page or a one day flash sale which drives them to purchase immediately.

Store owners should use scarcity and urgency tactics on their store because it’s proven to help increase sales and it helps convert those on the fence.

Scarcity and Urgency Tactics to Increase Sales – Limited Time Offers

sense of urgency

You can use a limited time offer to create urgency on your store. When customers see that an deal expires soon, they experience the fear of missing out which drives them to make the purchase. You can create a limited time offer through a flash sale, holiday weekend sale, or mentioning that the offer is for a limited time. On average, a one day flash sale would be most effective, as it puts the pressure on the customer to act on their decision immediately. However, you can also extend the limited time offer to a long weekend sale.

Prime Day is an example of a limited time offer. Amazon hosts a one day sale each year for its Prime members offering the best deals. Notably, the sale starts at 9 PM. Many top online retailers often have promotions start at 9 or 10 pm at night as it’s a popular time to make an impulse purchase for online shoppers.

Choose Your Colors Carefully 

Red, orange, and yellow tend to be colors that capture attention. Red is often used to create a sense of urgency in marketing. From sale items using red text, to call to actions using red buttons, the warm colors tend to work well for ecommerce businesses. According to color psychology, red creates a sense of excitement, yellow gives you confidence, and orange a sense of security. Using a combination of these colors can help customers feel excited, confident, and secure about making a purchase on your store.

sense of urgency

Groupon uses the color red four times on this product sales page. The product sale ends in 8 days, which doesn’t drive as much urgency as a one day sale would. However, beside the sale countdown timer, the words ‘Selling fast’ appear which do create a sense of urgency to add now. Beside the ‘selling fast’ copy is a yellow 4 star rating giving the product its social proof. With 10 ratings, it shows that customers are buying the product which can help validate the ‘selling fast’ claim. 

Use Urgency and Scarcity in Your Copy

Your copy can create urgency and scarcity to convince customers that now’s the time to buy. There are various words you can use that drive action. According to The Ecommerce Expert, words like limited time, hurry, clearance, and last chance can be used by store owners to entice customers to click the buy button. You can use phrases like ‘today only,’ ‘selling fast’ or ‘only # left’ on your store for special promotions and popular items.

sense of urgency

Dynamite uses scarcity and urgency on their homepage in a recent promotion. They have a 70% off sale for a ‘limited time only’ and ‘while quantities last.’ The only downside to this copy is that you don’t know when the sale ends so you don’t feel compelled to buy right away. Having ‘today only’ or ‘this weekend only’ could really create more urgency as there’s a set time attached to the sale.

Add a Countdown Timer

Countdown timers are an effective urgency tactic used by many store owners. Customers see how much time is left before a sale ends, which helps speed up the sales process. People tend to process visuals at a faster rate than words, making the countdown timer more effective than using words alone. Having a countdown timer on your store can backfire though. If you have a countdown timer running on the same product every day people who visit your store regularly may realize it’s fake. Using a countdown timer with an end time is more a honest and effective way to create urgency.

Host a Flash Sale

A flash sale can be an effective way to drive quick sales to your store. You can have a section on your website where you host a flash sale daily on different products. Or you can host a flash sale over a weekend, birthday celebration or end of season clearance. Your flash sale should have a steep discount on those select products such as 50% off to entice customers to buy.

sense of urgency

Choies is an online retailer who has a ‘flash sale’ section on their website. The flash sale lasts a week with a select number of products at a steep discount. There’s a countdown timer on the product collection page to create urgency while you browse through the products. You can even choose the size you want directly on the collection page, making the shopping experience customer friendly.

VIP Offers

Having a VIP offer creates a sense of scarcity. Customers who want in on the deal will have to sign up to get in on the offer. This creates a sense of exclusivity which can help entice customers to create an account. 

sense of urgency

Just Fab is an example of a shoe subscription model with a VIP member starting offer. After becoming a member, customers pay a much higher price for the cost of shoes, but they do get 30% off retail price. The starter offer gives customers two pairs of shoes for $24 which is an affordable, attention grabbing, and convincing deal to lure people into purchase.

Running Low on Stock

You can show that your store is running low on quantities using some of the scarcity and urgency apps above. You can also use words like ‘only # left’ or ‘limited quantities available’ to entice people to buy. Having a specific number, if it’s under 10 left can be effective at convincing someone to order. However, if you have over 10 items left, you might want to be ambiguous about how much inventory is left on your store to use scarcity. You can also artificially cap the number of products you sell. If you want to create a sense of scarcity you can buy limited quantities of a product, this works best for those who buy bulk inventory for a product.

Add Certain Products to the Vault

sense of urgency

Disney is known for adding their best movies to the vault. They occasionally release a movie from the vault for a limited time. They’ll add new features such as a music video sung by a popular singer to make those who may have the movie already want to buy it. After a month or so, the movie gets added back to the vault where you won’t be able to buy it any longer. This is an example of scarcity and urgency at its finest. It works so well that people will sell their Disney movies on sites like eBay for a much higher value than the standard movie.

Show the Demand for Your Product

Showing how much demand your product has by letting people know how many people are viewing the product can also help create urgency. If there are a lot of people viewing the product at the same time, customers may be compelled to buy it before it sells out. 

Exit Intent Popup

sense of urgency

If a customer visits your website and leaves without making a purchase, you can add an exit intent popup like Wheelio. Wheelio creates urgency for customers as it only triggers when a customer is about to exit your store for the first time. When Wheelio appears on your store, customers can add their email address for a chance to win a discount on their item. If a customer was exiting your website because of the product price, this can be helpful in converting them. The discount offer expires if the customer doesn’t decide to use the spinner which can result in a fear of missing out. 

Size Scarcity

While size scarcity can lower sales for those whose size is unavailable,  it also helps with social proof. When a customer visits a store and sees that sizes have already sold out, it makes them realize the item they’re looking at is popular. Instead of putting off the purchase, they’ll buy the product right away if they really like the outfit they were looking at. This also works for colors that are sold out. Size and color scarcity are most effective within the fashion niche but can also be popular outside of apparel.

sense of urgency

ASOS is one of the most popular women’s fashion sites in the UK. As such, items on their store constantly sell out. While they aren’t intended to create scarcity on their store with limited sizes and colors, their popularity makes it an effective way for ASOS to drive sales on their stores. Size scarcity works really work on popular brands with big audiences.

Me First

sense of urgency

‘Me first’ essentially means that people will flock to buy new products first from popular brands. There are several brands like Apple and Nintendo where this ‘me first’ tactic really drives sales. Whenever Apple launches a new iPhone, you’ll see massive lineups in front of stores of people wanting to buy the few iPhones available first before anyone else does. They like being one of the exclusive few who have access to a scarce product. You also see this happen with Nintendo especially with their Nintendo Switch which was sold out at every game store shortly after launch. Online and brick and mortar retailers were given limited quantities of the console, which drove customers who found one to buy the product immediately. The game is so hard to find that online retailers on Amazon have drastically increased their product prices to make an even more profit.

Time Constraints for Next Day Shipping

sense of urgency

You can create urgency on your store by offering time constraints on next day shipping. Amazon does this by showing the exact time when you need to order by. They give customers the option to choose one-day delivery when they checkout. Customers who need a product immediately will buy the product on impulse to ensure they get the product the next day.

Last Chance Collections

Having a last chance collection on your store is great for those who only offer a product for a limited time. If you buy bulk inventory you can add products that are running out to this collection. If you’re a dropshipper, you can add items that aren’t selling well that you’ll be removing from your store soon. The last chance collection should be updated regularly so that people visiting it don’t see the same products there for months. If you’re in fashion, you could add end of season items to this collection before removing them from your store.

sense of urgency

Fashion Nova is a fashion retailer with a last chance collection on their online store. The items on their last chance section are offered at a discounted price. There’s also fewer sizes available. Many of the items on this section have hundreds of reviews, proving their popularity. Scarcity and urgency is used in the last chance section. Since it’s the last opportunity to buy the items, urgency drives them to action. And since the items have had hundreds of reviews and limited sizes, it shows that the items in the collection will likely sell out.

Holiday Sales

Holiday sales are a great way to create urgency on your store. Whether it’s a one day pre-Mother’s Day sale to entice shoppers to buy something special for their mom or a Black Friday sale that drives people to your store in droves, holiday sales can be ultra effective at converting your customers. Since holidays rarely last more than a long weekend, there’s a time constraint on the sale creating more urgency for your customers to buy before the deal ends.

Collector’s Edition

sense of urgencySelling special edition products like ‘Collector’s Edition,’ ‘Anniversary Edition,’ ‘Limited Edition’, or some other variance can create a sense of product scarcity. Board game companies are notorious for creating special editions of their most popular games convincing customers to buy more of the same game but with a slight twist. Monopoly is constantly creating special editions of their games. For example, Monopoly partnered with Nintendo to create a limited edition game with everyone’s favorite Nintendo characters. It allows them to sell to a similar audience as people who play board games might also like video games.

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