3 Ways Merchants can Create a Sense of Urgency

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 17 Feb, 2014

We all fall victim to procrastination; it is very tempting to put off things today, that we think can be done tomorrow.


Unfortunately, this common tendency affects ecommerce conversion rates, as many shoppers don't feel a sense of urgency to complete their online purchases -resulting in abandoned shopping carts and lost conversion opportunities for merchants.


Luckily, Internet retailers can discourage consumer procrastination in a variety of ways by creating a sense of urgency and encouraging immediate action.


Limited Time Offer

The most common way to create a sense of urgency is with limited-time sales. Merchants often create this type of marketing promotion around holidays or special events. To influence consumers to make a purchase during a limited-time sale, merchants should promote the sale in all marketing channels, including social, email, online and offline. Moreover, merchants need to use time-sensitive words and phrases to trigger conversions, such as "limited time only" or "24-hour sale." Macy's, for example, is currently promoting a Presidents' Day Sale prominently on its landing page. Both the site's copy and design makes it impossible for visitors to miss the promotion, as the sale and its end date are given prime, above-the-fold real estate.



Limited Inventory

Limiting the duration of a sale isn't the only way to create a sense of urgency. In fact, merchants can also influence purchasing decisions by notifying consumers about limited inventory for popular products. This strategy is seen most frequently during the winter holidays, as consumers don't want to miss out on the opportunity to put a special item under the Christmas tree. That said, merchants can also leverage this strategy to clear out extra inventory, as doggyloot did with its clearance sale. The pet retailer used the phrase "limited quantities available" in the subject line of its email campaign to encourage subscribers to take immediate action. In addition, merchants can use phrases like "while supplies last" in their marketing copy or put the number of items available (3 left!) on product pages to encourage consumers to make instant purchases.



Ordering Now Bonus

Consumers love to feel special, which is why offering them incentives to make immediate purchases is a great way to close the sale. Seattle Coffee Gear, for example, provides unique offers to site visitors as a way to encourage them to complete purchases. In order to deliver tailored offers to site visitors, merchants can leverage platforms like Fanplayr and Spring Metrics. Both platforms enable merchants to deliver unique offers to consumers based on behavior, which can help merchants decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase average order values at the same time.