Have you felt the need to bid on an eBay item because of the red countdown timer that was staring back at you? Ever checked out a flash sale to see what deals you could snag during a limited time offer?
If so, you understand how urgency works – especially in a conversion-oriented context. Urgency is a powerful motivator for getting people to take action, whether that’s to make a purchase, sign up for an event, etc. It’s all about the here and now.
In this post, we’ll look at a few easy ways you can harness the power of urgency to boost sales and grow your customer base.
A countdown timer helps you create a sense of urgency by reminding shoppers how much time is left before an offer, discount, or special pricing expires.
It works because it activates Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO. FOMO plays into a larger psychological experience, called Loss Aversion Theory. Researcher Daniel Kahneman found that people hate missing out on positive rewards (like a good deal or a special offer) almost 2x more than they love actually getting the deal. Essentially, that means missing out hurts twice as much as getting the deal feels good.
Countdown timers are proven to activate FOMO – and to drive conversions. We tested a countdown timer on a page with and without it, and found that including the timer more than doubled conversions. Now that’s pretty impressive.
The main takeaway here: Countdown timers create urgency and drive conversions because of FOMO and Loss Aversion. Basically, no one likes to miss out on a good deal.
Limited Time Offers
Offers that are limited to a shortened time frame (think flash sale or early bird discount) help leverage the power of urgency by reminding customers that they’re working within a limited context. Open-ended offers just don’t have the same anxiety-producing, must act now pull that these types of offers do.
Why? Because limited offers feel more scarce – and scarce items are seen as more valuable. It’s the same reason we value diamonds and Black Friday sales. There’s not an endless supply of either, and so we are more motivated to attain them when possible.
Limited time offers also help those customers who are taking their time making a decision speed up that process. Researchers proved limited time offers really work: When 14 shoppers were told that they were working with a limited time sale, they became more competitive and motivated to buy.
The main takeaway here: Open ended sales are okay, but making them limited in time frame creates a greater sense of urgency to act.
Low Stock Notices
Another way to communicate urgency and drive conversions is also through scarcity, but from a limited quantity perspective. Low stock notices inform customers they need to act now to get an item that’s about to sell out – which puts them in a frenzy to take action. Remember what we said about FOMO?
Lulus.com, a clothing retailer, uses this to inform shoppers of which items are about to sell out. They even have a whole page on their site called “Going Fast” for these items that are just about out of stock.
The main takeaway here: Urgency can work beyond a time perspective. Think about promoting limited stock to convince your shoppers or customers to take immediate action.
Urgency is Essential
With countdown timers, limited time sales, and low stock notices, you can start using urgency to drive conversions right away. Just remember to use it sparingly – you don’t want to overdo the anxiety-producing angle for customers, or they’ll just get worn out. Save it for times when it really makes sense.
Inspire viewers to take immediate action on your eCommerce store, website or blog and even within marketing emails & see your conversion rate skyrocket!
When she’s not assisting wherever she can within our organization, you can find her eating pizza, solving sudoku puzzles and hanging out with her family.
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