How to Create Urgency on your eCommerce Site

Create Customer Urgency

When someone shops online, they often click around between sites. They’re trying to assess which site offers the right products, the best deals, and has the most trustworthy service. But as an eCommerce professional, you want the choice to be easy. You want the visitor to pick you.

That’s where urgency comes in. When a customer feels urgency on an eCommerce site, they have the feeling that if they don’t act fast, they’ll lose the opportunity.

As a marketer and eCommerce professional, it is your job to keep users on the site so that they actually follow through with the purchase. Thankfully, it’s in your power to create a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to act before it’s too late.

In this post, we’ll explore different strategies that will help you create urgency on your site, so that you can increase your overall eCommerce revenue.

Feature Limited Time Sales

We can learn a lot from big brands cashing in on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other special sale dates. The reason these shopping holidays work so well is because they encourage shoppers to take advantage of the day’s deals. If shoppers didn’t act on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, they have missed out. This creates a sense of urgency that encourages shoppers to open their wallets.

For example, Target slashed prices by 15% for everything on their website, all in the name of Cyber Monday. Target made it clear that the deal was only available on Cyber Monday, encouraging visitors to make a purchase as soon as possible.

Cyber Monday Sale

Even when it’s not a special shopping holiday, you can create urgency by making it clear that certain sales and deals are exclusive. They’ll only be around for a certain time period. If shoppers don’t act, they won’t get the deal.

Generate Excitement at the Launch

What if visitors knew about your fabulous product, but couldn’t get it? Kylie Jenner of the famous Kardashian clan, recently debuted Lipkit by Kylie, a set of three lipstick sets available exclusively from, Kylie’s own eCommerce shop.

Urgency through Exclusivity

Kylie announced the new product on Twitter and Instagram before it was available on her site, causing fans to wonder what the new product was all about. The inability to get their hands on the lip kit created a sense of urgency, as potential customers knew they were competing with many others to get one of these kits. If they didn’t act fast, they wouldn’t be able to buy.

Most eCommerce professionals and marketers don’t have a celebrity for promoting their products, but Kylie’s launch is instructive. It shows that a planned launch with exclusive products can create urgency that makes products fly off the eCommerce shelves.

Show a Ticking Clock

You can create a sense of urgency by showing visitors how much time they have left to make a purchase. This encourages them to act fast if they want to get their products.

For example, Gilt, a flash sale site, starts a 10 minute countdown after a visitor ads an item to their shopping cart. As long as these items are in the court, they’re “on reserve,” but as soon as the clock is up, the items are available to the masses, and the original visitor might lose them forever.

Time creates urgency

This isn’t just a good idea. Tests show that this strategy works! WhichTestWon split tested product pages with and without countdown timers, and showed pages with timers converted almost 9% better than those without.

No matter what you sell, you can use ticking clocks to create a sense of urgency. When someone puts something in their shopping cart, show a ticking clock to show how much time they have left before the item disappears. When you have a sale, show a ticking clock to show how much time is left until the sale expires.

Suggest Scarcity

If someone wants something, but believes they may have trouble getting it in the future, they’re more likely to act quickly. Showing scarcity on your eCommerce site can effectively generate urgency, causing shoppers to buy more quickly than they might otherwise.

In fact, DigitalCommons at the University of Nebraska in 2013 studied stores using scarcity strategies such as limited quantities and limited-time sales. Researchers found that when shoppers perceived scarcity in the retail establishment, they felt more competitive with other consumers, a greater urgency to buy, and a greater tendency to hide items in the store.

Trandland’s, a women’s clothing company, shows scarcity on their product pages, encouraging shoppers to buy before it’s too late. This strategy encourages shoppers to buy before the eCommerce shop runs out of the product in their size.


There are other options for using scarcity. Many eCommerce sites create their own scarcity by making limited quantities of certain products. You might tell a customer that you only made 100 pairs of sunglasses, encouraging them to get their exclusive pair.

Friendly Reminders

When someone leaves your eCommerce site, you may feel that it’s too late, but this isn’t the case. There are many ways to remind a shopper that you’re still around, and that the deal they were interested in won’t be available forever.

Many eCommerce shops use Facebook retargeting to remind shoppers of their desires. Ebay employs this tactic to show specific products that a customer might like to buy.


Sephora sent out the following email to remind customers to take advantage of their offers, as they were only available for a limited time:

Urgency email reminders

Create Urgency Watch Out

Creating urgency on your eCommerce site can lead to more sales and greater revenue, but you have to be careful. You want to be responsible when using urgency so that your customers feel a sense of trust.

  • Be honest. If customers perceive that you’re not telling the truth on your eCommerce site, they’re unlikely to trust you, and they won’t order from you. If you say you’re offering an exclusive sale, but that sale continues past the date you shared, then you’re using urgency irresponsibly. Don’t lie for urgency’s sake.

  • Experiment. The urgency tactics that work for you will depend on what you sell. Try out a number of different tactics, and be sure to use A/B testing software to find out which urgency tactics work best.

  • Don’t go overboard. If you use all of these strategies and fill your website with scarcity, you’ll produce so much anxiety in your prospective customer that they may get overwhelmed and leave your site. Use urgency responsibly!

  • Think high-converting copy and design. Urgency only works when it’s paired with expertly written copy and well thought-out design. Make sure to work with your creative team so that urgency doesn’t get in the way of a good customer experience.

Increase eCommerce Revenue with Urgency

You don’t want interested customers leaving your eCommerce site to continue looking around the web. You want to be the last place they land. That’s why you should strategize on how to create more urgency on your site.

Urgency encourages customers to act fast. If you’re able to effectively employ urgency tactics on your eCommerce sites, you’ll make more sales, ultimately helping you generate more eCommerce revenue.

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