6 Tactics to Create Urgency and Win More Customers

4 Minute Read

Urgency. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book – and it’s arguably never been more useful in eCommerce.

Shoppers are faced with more choice online than ever before. With multiple websites selling similar items, choice paralysis has never been a greater threat.

With this in mind, merchants need to employ conversion raising tactics to help their visitors turn into customers. In this article, we’ll look specifically at creating urgency.

Urgency works by breaking through your visitors’ mental hurdles to purchase, such as overthinking, waiting too long, or even allowing distractions to get in the way. It causes customers to act, and act quickly – which often translates into a healthy rise in conversions and order values. But how can you actually put urgency techniques into practice?

Here are 6 ways you can do this.

1. Scarcity warnings

It’s no new technique, but scarcity warnings do work. Research has shown that something in short supply is perceived as being more appealing than the same item in an abundant supply.

Being told there is only a small number of items left of a product you’re viewing is also a sure-fire way to activate the fear factor (fear of missing out, in this case). But it’s also helpful, notifying shoppers that the product they’re interested in might not be available for much longer.

Amazon uses scarcity warnings well

Scarcity warnings can be delivered in different ways, such as a simple message in the product details. An even more noticeable way to bring this to your audience’s attention is a non-intrusive pop-up detailing the low stock levels.

Do be wary though. Scarcity warnings should only be used genuinely. Your visitors are likely to shop around before deciding to purchase, and they will know if your scarcity warnings aren’t the real deal – causing more harm than good.

2. Social call outs

Another way to bring in an element of urgency is to show call-outs pertaining to other shoppers’ behaviour. This can be done on product pages by telling your visitors how many people have viewed or bought an item in the last 24 hours (or other set amount of time).

The social factor can increase the desirability of the product, and the urgency factor comes through by showing the product’s popularity in real time. Popular products are, of course, the most likely to sell out.

Be careful, though. This can be counterproductive if a product has had very few purchases!

3. Time sensitive free delivery

It’s well known that a quicker or free delivery option is most effective when available for a limited time.

You can inject some urgency into your pages by notifying your visitors how long they have left to qualify for free delivery, and AB test different colours and text to see which are most effective.

Do note that it’s important to be specific about when the item will arrive. Research has shown that stating the exact time you can expect your item to be delivered is clearer than stating the delivery speed (in days, hours etc).

4. Clock timers

Using count down timers is one of the best ways to bring a sense of urgency into your site.

Time sensitive sales, discounts or promotions are an obvious way to raise conversions. Think of free shipping if you purchase today, or 50% off for the next 6 hours. They obviously work best when the time frame is no longer than a day.

A countdown timer ticking away the remaining time can be a powerful visual reminder and a good way to spur your visitors to action.

5. Use Colours that Promote Urgency

Booking.com uses the colour red to help create urgency

We all know that colours have an impact on our behaviour. We’re hard wired to see green as a safe colour, and view red as the colour of danger, or love. Yellows and oranges can also evoke feelings of caution.

It’s highly recommended to split test the colours you use in your urgency messaging and find out which colour works best in your store. It’s no surprise that red is used most often.

6. Social recommendations

There are numerous ways to bring more social proof into your site with added urgency. One way is to show best sellers on your homepage with a notification of how well these products have been selling that day. Best sellers from ‘the last hour’ can also give the impression your store is really busy.

This brings a sense of urgency by showing that certain products are hot right now, and a message suggesting they are ‘selling fast’ can further create a sense of urgency.


To sum up, injecting a bit of urgency into your pages will help spur your shoppers to take the actions you want them to. Do approach with caution, though, and make sure any urgency messaging is used sincerely. We’d also strongly advise split testing any changes you make to measure the impact. Good luck!

Looking to get some urgency features on your site?

Real time urgency messaging can easily be set up with Bunting, and provide great opportunities to help your visitors convert.

To find out more, contact us.

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