In today’s market, online shoppers are a savvy bunch. Consumers tend to shop with multiple tabs open, comparing prices, delivery fees, and reading reviews. Faced with these discerning users, some e-commerce stores are engaged in a race to the bottom, offering dirt-cheap prices and free delivery, ultimately eroding their bottom line.
But there’s another way. With a little bit of background psychology, you can turn your customer’s mind away from where there might be a better deal. Creating a sense of urgency limits your users’ ability to browse, turning every shopping experience into a now-or-never decision. With a few tweaks to your website, you can create a new psychological experience for your customers - let's take a look at why urgency works and how to bring it to your store.
Urgency - The Sixth Sense
Urgency is intangible, it exists as a state of mind in your customers, and it can be fostered in your store in various ways. But before we start exploring how you can create this feeling of urgency in your store, let’s see exactly what is, and what it drives your customers to do.
Deconstructing urgency helps us to understand why it’s so powerful. “Urgency is a state of stress or unease in your customers, an uncomfortable feeling,” says Arthur Harris, a writer at Eliteassignmenthelp and Uktopwriters. “Usually, making your users would be a bad thing, but in the case of urgency the unease your customers feel is specifically tied to the scarcity of products in your store.” Urgency encourages your customers to make a split-second decision to purchase your products, diminishing their power to shop around, comparing prices or reviews.
Urgency plays on some fundamental facts of human psychology and researchers have demonstrated how a sense of scarcity, either real or artificial, creates urgency and leads to a higher rate of conversion in your store. From our hunter-gatherer origins, we’re primed to act on impulse when we think a high-value item might be slipping out of our grasp. Leverage this evolutionary trait in your online store can have a real impact on your profit margins. By implementing these urgency tricks, you’ll see conversions rocketing.
5 Ways To Induce Urgency In E-Commerce
1) Time-Limited Delivery Options
Nothing creates urgency better than a ticking clock. Offering soon-to-expire deals on delivery creates an immediate sense of urgency in your customers. Same-day and next-day delivery offers are powerful motivators for online shoppers as they reduce the gap in the fantasy and reality of a product, emphasizing how soon shoppers can have their goods. By making it clear that there’s a rapidly closing window of availability for next-day delivery, shoppers will be encouraged to buy now.
Amazon is a master of urgency and has been using this technique for years to great effect. On their product pages, you’re likely to have noticed an actual countdown. By giving customers an explicit sense of time slipping away, they’ve maximized purchases.
2) Showing Your Stock Levels
As we saw above, time can be leveraged to create a sense of urgency in customers. Similarly, quantity can be used to bring about these feelings. Showing your stock levels on your website, especially when they’re down to the last two or three, gives customers the feeling that it’s now or never. Nobody likes missing out, so remind your customers that they have one chance to get their hands on your products.
Regardless of how much stock you really have, or the logistics that go into procuring it, you can radically boost the value of certain items in your product by introducing an artificial sense of scarcity. Live notifications for customers browsing your online store can alert them to dwindling stocks, and flick that psychological switch to “ buy”.
3) Showing Interested Viewers
E-commerce gives customers a false sense of shopping in a vacuum. Alone, facing their computer screen, it’s easy for customers to forget that there are thousands like them, viewing the same products and considering whether or not to make a purchase. Reminding customers of the competitive environment they’re in, with limited stock and multiple interested parties, can discourage hesitation when it comes to making a purchase.
“This technique is commonly used by car rental companies, telling shoppers that there are several hundred other customers viewing the same hire options as them,” says Sarah Morris, a marketing expert at Revieweal and OXEssays. “In any e-commerce setting, however, reminding your customers that they aren’t alone can create a strong sense of urgency.”
4) Linking Scarcity To Holiday Periods
Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, and the run-up to Christmas are hugely busy periods for e-commerce. These holidays create an organic sense of urgency in customers, as there’s a deadline for purchasing. Online stores can further leverage the holiday season by cashing in on this natural sense of urgency, multiplying it in customers’ minds to boost sales.
For holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, banners across your store can indicate how many days or hours customers have to buy if they want their goods delivered in time. Disruption in the postal service is common before Christmas, creating increased anxiety around delivery times that e-commerce stores can leverage: “Buy now to guarantee delivery before December 24th” sends a strong message to your customers.
5) Expiring Discounts
Offers and promotions are great ways of bringing customers to your online store, but without deadlines, these discounts won’t create a sense of urgency. Always tie your offers to time-limited promotions to make sure customers feel compelled to make the purchase sooner rather than later. Even discounts across your whole site can be tailored to appear individual to consumer’s shopping habits, making blanket promotions seem extra special, ensuring customers are eager to take advantage of them.
Urgency is a powerful psychological motivator and can boost the conversion rate of your online store significantly. Implementing these drivers of urgency in your store can separate you from your competitors, whose race to grab customer’s attention with rock-bottom prices is a losing game. Smart marketing utilizes psychology to make sales - it’s a matter of urgency.