Hopefully that urgent title caught your attention a bit because that's what we'll be talking about today - URGENCY! 

What does urgency do for your online store?


In eCommerce, urgency is used to capture attention, focus potential customers on what you want them to see (or what action you want them to take) and have them hurry to do it (probably from a fear of missing out). 

Some guy (John Kotter) once said that true urgency is rare because "it is not the natural state of affairs. It has to be created and recreated".

In fact there are serious stats to backup that urgency and scarcity improves sales:

  • Scarcity = 2.9% lift
  • Social proof (showing other shopper actions) = 2.3% lift
  • Urgency (like countdown timers) = 1.5% lift
  • Abandonment recovery popups = 1.1% lift

So, let's get urgent

How do we make something urgent on our store? The biggest and easiest way is time. 

We all basically fear time anyway so why not use it? 

For eCommerce, this basically works by offering something (like a sweet deal) but then tacking on that you have a tight timeline to get the sweet deal (say 4 hours?). 

By offering shoppers something they probably want, like free shipping, a discount, $ off, you get them to take action. 

Limiting the time in which they have to take action makes their decision urgent. As in do it now or miss out and feel bad about it forever.

Scarcity and Urgency go hand-in-hand

You don't need time to be urgent. 

You can also use scarcity as a tactic to create a sense of urgency in shoppers. 

Letting people know there is a limited stock leads to immediate sales as customers are afraid they'll miss out otherwise.


You can also add the idea of scarcity through raising the price. 

While it's doesn't show that the item has limited stock, it shows that that price has a limited stock. 

Essentially the first people who order get a discount of some sort, and then after those first say 100 shoppers, the price goes up. 

This idea of price scarcity gets people buying, trying to scoop up products before they become more expensive.

Add Urgency to Everything

Add Urgency

You may ask 'why would anyone want to add urgency to everything?' 

Especially when it comes to their Shopify store? 

Adding urgency to your online store is a great way to boost your conversion rate without spending any extra money on ads or a website redesign. 

Adding urgency can take many forms like a countdown timer on your Shopify Store or adding urgent words to your product copy.

Do Countdown Timers Increase Sales?

Are you wondering if countdown timers increase sales? The short answer is "Yes - when used correctly!"

Urgency Increases the Likelihood of a Desired Action

To increase the likelihood of the desired action (like increasing conversions) you have several options:

Increase the clarity of your offer

  • Test with A-B testing to see how to best get your message across
  • Pilot any ads/photos/posts you plan on putting out to the world to get lots of feedback
  • Iron out any communication issues/confusion

Increase the relevance of your offer

  • Target your ideal audience; or tailor your audience to the offer you're proposing by
    • Researching your audience, deciding who you want to target
    • Determine where is your traffic coming from

Increase trust by reducing worry

  • Make sure your website/ad/post looks trustworthy; outdated sites, unsecured sites or payment gates that don't seem real will have people running away screaming
  • Put together FAQs so customers can get all the info they crave
  • Offer a money-back guarantee if you can

Reduce on-site distractions

  • DON'T have a million pop-ups or unnecessary information distracting your customers, keep it clean & simple
  • Make it easy to understand/read, use Layman's terms (terms someone who isn't an expert can understand

What is it about urgency that works when selling online?

Social Selling Brand Story

Urgency seems to be a new tactic a lot of retailers are utilizing to get you to buy more, or to buy quickly. 

Urgency is typically created in one of two ways: limited quantities, or a limited time to buy. 

You want to give customers a reason to buy now. If customers feel bad not buying immediately than you're doing an even better job of utilizing urgency. 

But you don't need guilt to get this tactic to work for you. 

Urgency boils down to the idea that we as people are averse to loss. 

The idea behind "loss aversion" is that we tend to stick to is the idea that we're more motivated if we think we may lose out on something than we are by the thought of getting something of equal value.

Urgency and Cookies

It's like the cookie study we talked about in an earlier blog post. 

Two jars are filled with cookies that are the same in both jars. 

The only difference is that Jar A has 2 cookies and Jar B has 10. 

People valued the cookies in Jar A more. 

Psychologically we are tailored to believe that the less there is of something the higher its value is. 

Why do you think diamonds are so rare and sell for so much money?

Cookies In Jar E1423134563707

Beware of the backfire

Urgency is not always persuasive. 

It can also backfire on you in some cases. 

People sometimes won't want to feel like they're forced into anything. 

 If your offer sucks or isn't trustworthy and real (like the discount is still available after the time runs out) then people won't trust it and you'll end up hurting your conversions-it's quite a fine line. 

Since people commonly return a few times before making a purchase you're very likely to get caught if you're using scummy tactics. 

Customers aren't stupid, remember that.

But Most Importantly: Add Urgency to Your Offer


Urgency is strong, but without the things mentioned above, it won't do well on its own. 

That is why you have to:

  1. Show that other people bought your products or clicked a link or signed up
  2. Know the difference between real and implied urgency.
    • Real urgency is saying an offer expires in 5 hours (and then it doesn't exist again)
    • Implied urgency is taking words like "now", "today", and "hurry" suggest to the customer to act now even if there is no real urgency
  3. Understand that the right amount of urgency depends on the context
  4. Add urgency to your stock, let customers know the product won't be around long due to its popularity and scarcity of stock
  5. Have a ticking clock let customers know they're running low on time, forcing them into action (think like a cart timer, or a get it by timer)
  6. Use the color red-it just works to instill a sense of urgency in consumers thanks to our conditioning from a young age

Use your words to create urgency

Urgent Words

You can easily create and add urgency just by using the rights words or phrases. 

These will be helpful on your eCommerce site to create urgency around your products and get more of your customers to convert. 

Some of these phrases you can directly add to the different widgets with your Fera app. 

Try out some of these variations and see what works best for your shop! 

Here's the list:

  • Limited Time
  • Only today
  • One day only
  • Don't miss out
  • Act now
  • Hurry
  • Hurry and act now
  • Only a few left
  • Just X remaining
  • Offer expires soon
  • Last chance to get X
  • Now or never

Another added touch to create some urgency would be to add an exclamation (!) point to the end of any of these messages. 

It adds a little bit of extra 'hurry' to the message and lets your customers know the offer is limited and so is their time to get your products.

Experiment using colors like red and maybe even bolding the parts of your message that show your customers they only have a certain amount of time to act.

Try using this messaging for the Product Detail "Limited stock 🔥" messaging. 

Or for the Cart Timer and Get it By Timer(s) for Shopify to see what makes the most sense for your site. 

Test out a few different options and see what you like the best.

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