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Top 12 Ways to Create Urgency and Scarcity in Sales to Boost E-commerce Revenue

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Do you know that mastering urgency in sales might just be what you need to improve conversion rates?

Yes, urgency works! We all know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals bring massive returns –$8.9 billion on Black Friday deals and $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday specials in 2021. And that’s because once those deals expire, shoppers will need to wait at least a year to get another good deal. 

So, to get the best deals, shoppers pull out their wallets, eager to hit the “buy” button. They feel compelled to act immediately because they know they’ll miss out if they don’t.

Now consider this: What if you could build this same momentum all year long and continuously increase the sales more than ever before?

Yes, it’s possible. You can build urgency in your retail store at any time of year. In this article, we will explore ways to use urgency in sales to increase e-commerce revenue.

"While supplies last!": What are Urgency and Scarcity in Sales?

Professionals use urgency in sales to convince buyers and potential consumers to buy their products immediately and at the best price. Creating a sense of urgency encourages shoppers to buy products quickly rather than later.

Usually, urgent ads appeal to shoppers’ fear of missing out on something worthwhile. It typically takes two elements to appeal to this fear of missing out.

First, ads often show why the product is appealing. Second, the ads limit the number of available products, give a limited-time sale price, or combine these two factors, such as the popular phrase “while supplies last”. 

Why is Sales Urgency Important for Your E-commerce Brand?

Applying urgency and scarcity in sales has various advantages. Here are a few of the most common advantages of creating a sense of urgency in sales:

How do you Create Urgency in Sales Without Being too Pushy?

The importance of urgency in sales cannot be overstated. Without sales urgency, deals might be delayed or even hindered. But there is still a challenge: how can retailers create urgency without seeming like pushy sales agents? Here are three principles to keep in mind:

#1 Help your product sell itself

The best way to generate urgency is to have a great product that your customers feel like they truly need. 

Simply telling customers that they require your product won’t be as effective as if they come to that conclusion by themselves. 

#2 Plant "urgency seeds"

Unless you offer shoppers something they want, urgency in sales won’t work. Even if your product is pretty much free, people won’t buy it if they don’t desire it. Urgency merely serves to increase the product’s desirability; it does not create it.

After discovering your customer’s desires and fears, offer a “Limited Time Offer”. Remember that if shoppers believe they can get the same bargain later, they will wait. Hence, plant an urgency seed by setting a time limit on the offer. The limit will make shoppers take advantage of the offer quickly.

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

#3 Find reasons to keep offering value

Keep engaging potential customers by sending relevant emails, using your social channels frequently, and offering customers deals and related products to complement their initial purchase (if made). 

Clearly, the goal is not to bother. So, offering useful information that helps shoppers make informed decisions will be appreciated. It will also help aid in sustaining communication while creating rapport along the way.

12 Effective Tactics for Creating Urgency and Scarcity in Sales Online

Let’s take a look at how you can create urgency in sales in your e-commerce store.

#1 Advertise clearance sales

About 40% of businesses set prices based on their product’s value. However, there are occasions when it makes sense to offer clearance sales to clear old stock products. 

Shoppers love deals. So if you announce a clearance sale, customers will likely rush such an offer. Here’s an example from Missguided clearance sales:

create sense of urgency sales
Source: missguided.co.uk

#2 Advertise scarcity

Customers can see how products fly off the shelves in a physical store. They know exactly when a few stocks are left since the inventory is right in front of them. 

But it is quite different in an online store. Shoppers can only tell if a product is low in stock if you tell them. Here’s how Ralph Lauren does it on their site:

how to create a sense of urgency
Source: ralphlauren.com

#3 Use urgency and scarcity words for sales, like "while supplies last"

We’ve already talked about planting urgency seeds. When creating urgency in sales, you can use phrases like:

Buy Now!

Sale ends MM/DD/YYYY!

Limited time only! 

Hurry Up; Sales Ends in: XX Mins XX Seconds.

While supplies last!

Here is how Zara Shop does it:

sales urgency examples
Source: zara.com

#4 Offer a signup deal with a deadline

You can offer shoppers a signup offer with a deadline. That means they receive a discount if they sign up within a given time. 

Headspace offers limited discount deals to its email subscribers as seen in the screenshot:

create urgency in sales
Source: headspace.com

#5 Offer limited-edition items

Limited-edition products often build a sense of urgency in a shopper’s mind. When a shopper feels that they will not get a limited-edition product after a specific time, they feel compelled to get it immediately. 

Here’s an example from Estee Lauder:

tips for creating urgency in sales
Source: esteelauder.com

#6 Allow shoppers to pre-order new products

Shoppers often feel excited when companies launch new products. Take advantage of this by accepting pre-orders. Samsung does it with its newly launched mobile phones: 

sales urgency
Source: samsung.com

#7 Give holiday discounts

What better time to offer deals than holidays. Everyone scouts for gifts on holidays. Customers search for juicy holiday deals online. So leverage this period and give holiday discounts to your customers. But make sure you attach a time limit to prompt urgency. 

Here’s an example from Macy’s:

sales urgency e-commerce
Source: macys.com

#8 Show recent purchase activities

Another way creates urgency in sales is by displaying the number of recent sales or activities like what LANCOME PARIS does here:

buyer urgency for sales
Source: lancome-usa.com

Showing shopper’s activities or the number of recent sales encourages potential customers to buy too. See it as a way of employing the psychology of fear of missing out (FOMO).

#9 Offer fast or free delivery

We all know that shoppers love immediate satisfaction. When you give a free or fast delivery option for specific orders, expect an increase in sales. Give a time frame for shoppers to order so that it signifies scarcity. Check out this example from Carter’s:

crease sales urgency examples
Source: carters.com

#10 Use SMS

The response rate of email marketing is 6% compared to SMS marketing response rate of 45%. And that’s because people open texts (even if it’s promotional) more often than they open emails. 

So, create urgency by alerting your subscribers via texts immediately after you launch a sale. Remember to keep text concise and give your customers a reason to read your ad.

#11 Add a shopping cart timeout

Motivate shoppers by adding a countdown timer to their shopping cart. Giving them a time frame to complete their order is a great strategy for creating urgency in sales. Check out this example from ASOS:

scarcity and urgency sales
Source: asos.com

#12 Partner with another store and offer discounts

Shoppers often buy related products from other stores. For example, someone could buy a mobile phone from one store and search for matching ear pods from another store. 

Therefore, partner with related stores and give shoppers discounts to help build trust and boost your conversions.

Bonus: Create a Sense of Urgency with your PickyStory Deals

With PickyStory, you can create product bundles and deals, offered at key points throughout your customer’s journey. Deals can be displayed as popups, widgets on product pagesshoppable galleriescart upsells, and more. 

You can give each deal you create a discount and a title, using urgency to increase sales of your bundles. All discount prompts, messaging, and add to cart text can be adjusted to suit your brand’s preferred strategy for using urgency in sales. 

Regardless of which of the above tactics you choose to employ, make sure to remain authentic and give buyers what they need. This will help increase your conversions quickly.

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

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