Urgent: demanding immediate attention or action. When shoppers are browsing your online store, they’re often acting with an unfortunate lack of urgency. With multiple tabs open, comparing reviews, prices, and delivery options, customers like to behave like they have all the time in the world. What this means for your online store is a race to the bottom for grabbing customer’s attention with low prices — it erodes your profit margin, as well as devaluing your products.

On the other hand, if you instill a fierce sense of urgency in your users, you’ll separate yourself from this price-slashing competition. Urgency can become a powerful motivator in your store if you get it right. We’ll take a look at some effective ways for leveraging this psychological strategy, but first, let’s see exactly why urgency is so important for eCommerce.

Why urgency drives conversions

In her paper The Psychological Effect of Perceived Scarcity, researcher Shipra Gupta developed an extensive theory about how creating a sense of scarcity changes the psychological environment in which shoppers operate. By fostering this idea of scarcity, shoppers acted more impulsively and make decisions based on less information. 

Importantly, Gupta reveals that even a carefully curated yet artificial sense of scarcity can have powerful results on consumer psychology. Creating urgency in your shopper’s minds entails this suggestion of scarcity.

Often, digital shopping gives consumers feelings of power — with so many options to choose from and resources to assist comparison, consumers are empowered to make well-considered choices. By reminding your customers that the products, deals, and delivery options they’re seeking are scarce, this psychological state of urgency is induced. This means you’ll have more people clicking buy in your store.

eCommerce mistakes that are costing you money

Even if you are a professional, making mistakes while creating urgency in your online store is very common and can be a challenging task. 

With the availability of online shopping, the clients are exceptionally cautious about where they are going to spend their money, and making a simple mistake can hand a client to your competitors.

Below you can discover the 3 of the simple mistakes that are costing you money:

Lack of strategy 

Running giveaways or promotions onsite can be an effective marketing tool but many professionals make the mistake of not creating a follow-up for that and the result ends up being forgotten. Make sure your giveaway or discount is used in a strategic way — remember, if you’re doing a giveaway, you want to create a social promotion. Otherwise, you’re just giving away free or heavily discounted products, which is great for the client but not for you.

Ignoring the competition

eCommerce is amazingly straightforward which means that the client can easily browse to check for prices, promotions, and the best deals for them. Analyze your competitors, check what prices they have and which bargains are pulling the clients away.

Not adding any value

It can be annoying for the client when seeing a company talking only about themselves. Make it about the client, know your demographics and psychographics, show the benefits that can bring to them, why they can not miss out. 

7 tips for creating urgency on your online store

So, you know that creating a sense of urgency is more likely to drive sales. How exactly do you do that on your eCommerce site or online store? Here are seven methods worth looking into.

1. The language of urgency

There are many ways you can create urgency in your store through deals and deadlines. To build an online store that really instills this feeling into your shoppers, you need to integrate the language of urgency into your copy. Urgency is driven by the emotion of your shoppers, and the copy creates this broader feeling, a fundamental platform for your short-term urgency-inspiring strategies.

Keywords and phrases such as “last chance,” “hurry” and “don’t miss out” are the vital language of urgency. Additionally, peppering exclamation points throughout your copy will turn the tone towards a high-tempo urgency.

2. Leveraging the holidays

Deadlines are powerful motivators for your shoppers, so you should be creating them artificially wherever you can. Sometimes, however, deadlines exist for a reason — and when holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day come around, urgency goes global. eCommerce sales spike between Black Friday and Christmas, so make sure you’re primed to leverage these holidays in your store. Running specialized sales for popular items can boost demand, and a ticking clock counting down the hours to the big day will remind your shoppers that time is slipping away.

These holidays also offer an opportunity to integrate delivery deadlines into your urgency strategy. With the added strain on postal networks, make it clear to your users that the window is closing. For example, a banner could indicate they have X hours to purchase to ensure guaranteed delivery before the 23rd of December.

3. Remind viewers they aren’t alone

Scarcity can be induced in a variety of ways, for example by suggesting that product stock is limited. However, scarcity isn’t exclusively a function of quantity — it’s about the supply of a product relative to demand. Reminding your shoppers that they’re not the only ones out there induces a sense of competition that’s highly relevant to urgency, prompting immediate purchases rather than risking missing out. 

Car hire companies have been leveraging this strategy to great success, displaying information about other browsing users. For example, you could say “15 others are browsing this product right now.” A dynamic view counter that rises as customers browse is a strong motivator.

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4. Show dwindling stock

Showing stock numbers brings home the immediate fact that there is a limited supply of the goods customers desire and this strategy can create store-wide urgency for even casual browsers. To have the greatest impact, target specific products with a tag that suggests stock numbers are low. Using specific stock numbers gives this strategy greater integrity in the viewer’s eyes, so suggest to your store users that a product is down to the last five or even one.

5. Using delivery options to instill urgency

When shopping online, there’s an inevitable delay between purchasing a product and receiving it. For many shoppers, delivery time is vital to their interest in a product as shopping is about instant gratification and those days of waiting are an unwelcome delay. Logistical networks are now enabling next-day and even same-day delivery, and these appealing options often encourage shoppers to buy quickly. Leveraging this impulse by reminding customers of the closing window with which they can access these delivery options creates a powerful sense of urgency.

Another way of introducing urgency in your delivery options is by making delivery itself a scarce commodity. Offer free delivery for either a time-limited window or for the next few buyers. If the next three purchasers receive free delivery, everybody will want to snatch up the offer.

6. A day for charity

Sometimes urgency can be created by giving back. Combine your community spirit with this powerful marketing technique by offering a proportion of your proceeds to charity on a certain day. Customers will recognize the additional moral value in buying now rather than waiting. This will strongly incentivize an instant purchase.

7. Using pop-ups

Through artfully curated urgency-inducing copy and targeted deals and deadlines, the sense of urgency can permeate your store. Make sure your customers are constantly reminded of the imperative to purchase your products through pop-ups. This can often be the final nudge they need to buy. 

Whilst pop-ups are much maligned as invasive when you’re building a sense of urgency pop-ups can bolster this atmosphere by appearing as essential prompts. For example, a pop-up could tell a customer that a product they’ve viewed is selling out, or remind viewers of the closing window for next-day delivery.

Signing off

Urgency is a powerful motivator in eCommerce, so tailoring your store around the ideals of urgency shouldn’t be left to tomorrow. Integrate the language of scarcity and urgency throughout the copy you’re using on your store, from the landing page to the product details. There are so many ways to instill urgency so make sure every discount and every deadline is geared towards this psychological strategy. Don’t wait: it’s a matter of urgency.

AvatarLauren Groff

Lauren Groff is a consultant and writer at UKWritings and Academized. Lauren is passionate about digital marketing and loves the dynamism and innovation that’s inherent in online selling. She lives in Austin, TX with her dogs and husband. You can read more of her work at Stateofwriting.