How to Use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase E-Commerce Sales

Apart from using attractive designs, colors, and graphics, understanding consumer psychology is essential to boost online sales. Experts recommend the use of urgency and scarcity for triggering the consumer’s mind.

Urgency, which is a time-based technique, prompts the user to act quickly. All limited-time discount offers are based on this concept. Similarly, scarcity is based on triggering action by tricking the consumer’s brain into the fear of missing out.

All of us have seen the best example of scarcity during covid-19. Many stores posted banners of limited stock, and consequently, people purchased products they did not even need in bulk quantities.

A perfect blend of urgency and scarcity works as a sales driver. Let us explore more about this tactic and discuss some real-life examples for augmenting e-commerce sales:

Understanding Urgency and Scarcity

Before using these techniques, you need to understand the basics of these two principles. Let us have a look at a few of them:

Create a Deadline

Nothing will work without a time limit. So, always mention a time limit if you do not want to delay the consumer’s response. For instance, you put a flat 50% discount offer on your store and did not mention a time limit. Now, consumers will not be in a rush to purchase from your store. If the sale is for an indefinite period, consumers won’t be pushed to make the purchase decision immediately.

Furthermore, they will get time to compare the prices and products with other brands. Since delays often result in lost conversions, it spoils the overall objective of the technique.

Therefore, always set a specific time and day. Also, do not forget to highlight it with your offer. Whether it is a membership discount or a product discount code, a time limit will always leave increase sales. Go through the Amazon deals and notice how well-known brands set a time limit with their offers to boost sales.

Use the Best Action Verbs

Yes, words can make a real difference. Do not forget to use the best action verbs for announcing your offers. Words like buy, get, join, etc., are ideal for CTAs. Furthermore, you can combine these verbs with instant action words like hurry, instantly, now, etc.


  1. Buy now
  2. Join Instantly
  3. Hurry, book now

Additionally, try to keep a friendly and simple tone. People will never be compelled to buy with technical words. On the other hand, emotional words work like a charm.

Furthermore, use numbers where possible and try to stay as clear as possible. Big brands like Sephora, Amazon, Walmart, etc., always use convincing and straightforward words in their CTAs.

Consider Aesthetics

You cannot just focus on the words and ignore the aesthetics. Colors, designs, and patterns do play their role in gaining consumer’s attention. Consumer psychology is filled with examples of how changing color can result in higher conversions.

Use the psychology behind colors, fonts, and symbols to increase the desired action. For example, choosing a red-colored CTA button increases the chances of conversion more than a button of any other color. Similarly, bold and visible font is likely to prompt more action than an illegible font.

Besides this, the placement of CTAs is also an important consideration. One eye-pattern study shows that people focus on things from top to bottom. Therefore, it is ideal for placing the urgency offers below the product descriptions.

How to Create Urgency and Scarcity?

Now that you have a clear understanding of the urgency and scarcity concepts, let’s see how you can apply these concepts in your e-commerce stores:

Use Countdown Timers

People might ignore the days and timings mentioned on the website. But, how about a countdown timer. It guarantees attention and is ideal for creating urgency. When people notice that they just have a few minutes left to avail the offer, they won’t think much. Since everyone wants to save money, people are likely to take prompt actions.

But, how and where will you out the countdown timers? You can use apps to create these timers. Some useful apps include Countdown Timer Ultimate, Hurrify, Conversion Plus, Ultimate Scarcity Pro, etc. For placement, you can consider the product page, checkout page, or the shopping cart area.

Give Exclusive Offers

Besides giving a feel of exclusivity to your loyal consumers, VIP offers are ideal for attracting new members. These deals show that they are available only for loyal customers. When prospects notice the perks of VIP members, they think of getting subscriptions.

For example, you can make the best use of VIP offers by giving 30% off on VIP memberships. Furthermore, VIPs are also eligible for events and promotions.

Subscription-based services can also use this technique to generate more sales; they can offer exclusive perks for a limited time to prompt users into quick action. For instance, digital marketing Houston TX, can offer 33% off on its software development services price for 1 week to generate more sales.

Announce Flash Sales

Have you ever wondered why brands often go for flash sales? It simply doubles up their revenue. Yes, it works on the concept of selling more products at a low price instead of selling a few products at a high price. When flash sales are announced for a limited-time offer, the response is tremendous.

Brands also create urgency by announcing flash sales and happy hours. Instead of announcing the time beforehand, they start happy hours at any moment. With the help of word of mouth, they generate great sales in these few hours.

Apart from it, partnering with other brands for flash sales is a useful tactic. For instance, Maggi and Snapdeal partnered for a flash sale of noodle kits. This partnership helped Snapdeal in selling 60,000 extra items than usual.

Add Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Even after using all the best techniques, you must be wondering about prospects leaving the site without any purchase. Do not worry; you can always use exit intent pop-ups to entice them. These are the last-minute offers to entice visitors. The technology notices the mouse movement and gives a pop-up message when the user is about to leave the site.

You can use an app to add this feature to your store. One such app is Checkout Booster. This app also offers a countdown timer which further creates a great sense of urgency.

Show Stock Limitations

Even if you offer a flash sale, consumers will not take prompt action until they know that the stock is limited. You must have read websites saying 3 are left in stock, out of stock, or limited stock. All these techniques are used to show the scarcity of the stock. Additionally, you can display a Stock Countdown for revealing the available stock.

Wrapping It Up

In short, when you combine urgency and scarcity, increasing e-commerce sales becomes an easy deal. However, you need to take care of a few things like time limitations, stock availability, flash sale offers, and so on.

Moreover, you should pay attention to aesthetics and use CTAs wisely. Lastly, never forget to include features like countdown timers, stock countdowns, and exit-intent pop-ups on your store.

Author Bio: Nouman provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Apcelero.


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