9 Ways to Increase Sales with the Sense of Urgency Technique
In the world of marketing, understanding consumer behavior is the key to achieving success. One of the psychological principles that is often applied in e-commerce is sense of urgency.
In this article, we'll discuss how urgency influences consumer behavior and nine ways to leverage it to increase conversions.
What is Sense of Urgency?
"Sense of urgency" is a feeling or impulse that encourages a person or group to act as quickly as possible to complete a task or overcome a problem without delay. This is an awareness of the importance of time and the need to act quickly in certain situations.
In a marketing context, a "sense of urgency" is a technique used to encourage consumers to make immediate purchasing decisions. This technique aims to create the feeling that an offer or opportunity is about to end, so that consumers feel the need to act quickly.
This is often done through limited-time offers, special discounts that are only valid for a certain period, or messages such as “limited stock” to increase the speed of response from consumers.
How Urgency Influences Behavior
When a task is considered urgent, people tend to act more quickly. Even when urgency is artificial, people still tend to prioritize it.
This psychological principle is known as the "mere urgency effect". In e-commerce, this principle can be used to encourage consumers to make purchases.
Why Urgency Matters in E-commerce
Complex Consumer Journey
With so many choices available in the digital era, consumers often feel overwhelmed. They may take a long time to decide on a purchase. By adding an element of urgency, the decision process can be accelerated.
Encourages Quick Decisions
Urgency drives consumers to make decisions more quickly, reducing waiting times and increasing the likelihood of purchase.
9 Sense of Urgency Techniques that Can Be Practiced in Business
1. Set a Time Limit
Limiting the time given to customers is one effective way to increase purchasing urgency. A 2006 study found that shorter time constraints create greater urgency, which ultimately increases purchase intent.
Examples of implementation include setting a time limit for next day delivery, sending a discount code with a specific time limit, or promoting a sale end date or time.
2. Using a Countdown Timer to Highlight the Deadline
Once you set a time limit, add a countdown timer to make sure your customers are aware of it. As time ticks down, the urgency to buy increases.
A report from Neuroscience Marketing shows that adding a timer that shows how much time is left for next day delivery can increase revenue by up to 9%.
3. Highlights Potential Price Increases
The threat of future price increases may encourage customers to buy now.
Showing how many items are left at a certain price is an effective way to capitalize on customers' fears of price increases if they delay their purchase.
4. Indicates Scarcity
Scarcity is one of the most persuasive ways to encourage customers to buy now. A 2016 study noted that in conditions of perceived scarcity, consumers show urgency to purchase.
You can show shortages online by highlighting when an item is running low on stock.
5. Using Real-time Behavior as Social Proof
Showing other customers' behavior in real time is a powerful way to create urgency. For example, showing how many people are viewing a product while other customers are browsing. This works on two levels: as social proof and a fear of missing out (FOMO) trigger.
6. Write Time-Related Copy to Drive Action
The right words can change behavior. Optimize your copy with language that conveys urgency.
Phrases like “Don't delay,” “Don't miss out,” “Offer ends,” “Hurry,” and “Today only” can highlight what might be lost if customers don't buy now.
7. Notify That Cart Will Expire
Sometimes customers are distracted during the checkout process. You can add urgency by telling them that the items in their cart will only be kept for a limited time.
8. Do a Flash Sale
Flash sales are an effective way to build urgency, increase your conversions and revenue. Flash sales utilize psychological principles such as loss aversion, scarcity, and time constraints.
9. Shows When an Item is Out of Stock
Most e-commerce businesses hide out-of-stock items from their category pages. However, displaying out-of-stock items can motivate customers to purchase other related items.