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May 31, 2017

How to use urgency to increase conversions

Published: 31 May 2017 

If you’re running an e-commerce website, you’ll want to ensure you’re making as many sales as possible. So how exactly can you make sure people want to buy from your store? One classic way to increase conversions is to manufacture a sense of urgency.

Why should you create urgency? If you can manufacture a sense of urgency on your website, you’ll find people don’t wait around to make a purchase. Rather than coming back to a page at a later date, they’ll want to act quickly and respond sooner to a call-to-action. This means you’ll be able to see an improvement in your conversion rates.

How do you create urgency?

So the big question is - how exactly do you create a sense of urgency on your landing page?


Source: Lorna Jane

This is an extremely effective form of urgency. Scarcity works because people will want something if they know it is running out of stock. Because it is perceived as scarce, it increases in value and therefore people are more willing to act now, rather than avoid missing out on the product.

There are numerous ways you can introduce scarcity, including:  

  • Limited amount of stock: there’s only two left? Knowing something is nearly sold out is going to make consumers rush to buy it, rather than continue to think about it and come back to it tomorrow.
  • Size limitations: if you’re running an online retail store, you’ll display the sizes available for your clothing. Introduce scarcity by including all the sizes, but blocking out sizes that are sold out - such as Lorna Jane, who crosses out which sizes are no longer available. Showing that it’s already sold out in certain sizes makes it look more popular and in-demand.
  • Other buyers: you’re looking at an item and the page shows how many other people are looking at it too, or how many people have recently booked. If there’s already a limited number of stock, seeing other people are buying it will increase urgency.   


Source: Ebay

Sometimes items are only available at a certain price for a limited amount of time. Consumers’ levels of urgency rises when they know time is running out to purchase an item, particularly if there is a large discount. That’s why it’s a great idea to include a countdown timer on your products that are on sale.

Make sure to display how long they have left to get this deal - consider even adding in minutes and seconds rather than just days. Seeing an item has 50% off but finishes in 30 minutes is definitely going to be the incentive some people need to buy an item now, rather than thinking about it for a few days.

Free shipping

Do you normally charge for shipping? Consider offering free shipping for a limited time. People don’t like paying extra for shipping, so the offer of free shipping may be enough to entice people to complete their order.

Use the right language

You not only need to create a sense of urgency, you need to use the right language to do so. You need to make sure the copy you choose makes the consumers want to not only shop but shop now. Use words such as:

  • Hurry
  • Last chance
  • Now
  • Ends today
  • Don’t miss out
  • Limited time
  • Offer expires
  • Instantly

Using these words causes the consumer to start thinking about time, therefore creating the sense of urgency and increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

What to avoid doing

So now you know what you need to do to manufacture a sense of urgency. But there are also things you need to make sure you don’t do. Otherwise, you risk losing customers and won’t see those all-important conversions.

Make sure you don’t:

  • Always offer sales: if you’re constantly offering sales, people are going to see through it and not be interested.
  • Pester people: are you sending out EDMs reminding people of a sale? Make sure you don’t send these too frequently, or else you risk annoying your customers.
  • Fake deals: make sure to avoid advertising something as a specific discounted price, only to then have it cheaper normally. This is unethical and will see you lose the trust of your customers.
  • Pressure: avoid unnecessarily placing pressure on a customer. You don’t want to end up with a customer who has buyers regrets because they felt pressured into buying something they didn’t really want or need.  

Got some tips on how to manufacture urgency? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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