6 Tactics to Create Urgency and Win More Customers

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.

Ecommerce Optimisation: What you really need to consider for Q3

So we’ve made it half-way through the year which, to ecommerce folk, means we’ve reached Q3 of 2016.

We’ve seen a lot and learned a lot this year, with surprises along the way.  So, given what’s happened so far, what should you be considering for the next quarter?

1. It’s time to get video savvy

video toys r us ecommerce

The first half of the year has shown that customers are demanding more content rich and visceral shopping experiences. They don’t want just a mere photo and description. Vivid and detailed product descriptions are no doubt helpful, and beautiful product photography is great, but this doesn’t quite capture the essence of your products like high quality video.

Product tutorials, and demos can work well on video, and can also provide shareable material. A bit of creativity can go a long way. Look here for some video ideas.

2. Reputation marketing is more important than ever

Social proof is now a complete expectation, and affects both online and in-store purchasing. Google research shows 8 out of 10 people use a smart phone in store to consult reviews whilst shopping. Online, many shoppers won’t buy a product that doesn’t have a review, and they may go to an online store elsewhere that displays a good number of reviews.

Reputation marketing tools allow you to directly respond to customer feedback and manage interactions. Negative reviews can be turned into positive experiences with the right response. It’s also worth trying to incentivise your customers to leave a review – higher number of reviews translates into more trust in both your products and brand (unless, of course, reviews are largely negative!)

3. Customers are less patient

baby phone angry

The expectations of customers are changing rapidly, and this applies to online customer service more than anything. Online visitors have less and less patience when it comes to finding answers to questions – and if their answers can’t be found easily, why should they hang around?

Customers also might want a bit of advice and assurance about which product suits their needs. Live chat is the best current solution to this, and, from a vendor point of view,  is a worthwhile investment. Consider this: Live Chat has the highest levels of customer satisfaction at 73%, compared to 44% over the phone.

4. Get ready for the big online shopping days

cyber monday

It’s well known that events like Black Friday are huge opportunities to drive traffic and sales. Cyber Monday yielded $3 billion last year in the US, but the biggest day online was Singles Day in China with Alibaba making over $14 billion alone. It’s predicted that these days will only get bigger, and new event days are popping up.  It’s worth preparing for these days significantly in advance, with a targeted and personalised marketing campaign, and ensuring your site is well prepared for the weight of extra traffic. Other events to consider in this next quarter are Back to School Sales, Summer Clear Outs and significant days within your country or culture.

5. Personalisation is hitting the mainstream

homepage personalisastion

85% of marketers are now using personalisation across campaigns (source: Researchscape/Evergage), with personalisation typically showing conversion increases of 19%. There is no doubt that delivering personalised experiences is necessary to keep up with the competition, as customers similarly expect their onsite experiences to be relevant to them. Interestingly, most marketers rate their personalisation efforts as no higher than a ‘C grade’, so clearly work needs to be done. With a large proportion citing lack of technology as a factor, tools like Bunting will undoubtedly make the process easier.


As we head into the next quarter of the year, it’s worth thinking about what we’ve learned so far, and how this information can help optimise your site. Making these changes now will no doubt help prepare your store for the winter buying rush in Q4 (But we won’t talk too much about that yet..!).