Why should you care about urgency in ecommerce?

Urgency is often what pushes a potential customer to click “Buy.” Ideally, a buyer sees your product and simply has to have it immediately. But in the real world, customers may take months or even years to warm up to your brand before buying.

Without cultivating a sense of urgency, your buyers might put off a purchase indefinitely, continuing to think, consider the options, and read the reviews. It’s your job as a B2C marketer to convince them to buy sooner rather than later.

Every marketing communication — from emails to ads to web push — should aim to drive urgency in your buyers. Building a sense of urgency into your ecommerce marketing could even be the difference between hitting your revenue goals this quarter and missing them entirely.

With the right ecommerce marketing strategy, you can actually increase the need to buy as a customer interacts with your brand. Here are the specific tactics you can use to up the urgency for your brand’s marketing today.

1. Limited Edition Products

Nothing gets buyers more excited than a product that is unique and only available to a small number of people. FOMO is real and it can help build a sense of urgency for your ecommerce buyers. If your buyers know there’s a limited amount of a special product, they’re more likely to buy immediately because they’re worried about missing out.

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Image via Really Good Emails

Here you can see a great example from Warby Parker of a limited edition collaboration with artists from Ghostly International. For buyers who want something unique and unusual, this is the perfect offer. These glasses have a special design, are made from a unique material, and will be different than what everyone else has. It entices the buyer to make another purchase — even if they already have multiple Warby Parker frames. Limited edition products are a great way to increase repeat purchase rates among your most loyal customers.  

2. Deals with a Deadline

This is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, and yet it still works in ecommerce today. All you have to do is offer a limited time discount on your products. That could include everything from a percentage discount to free shipping — as long as the buyer moves fast and buys now. This works for everything from Black Friday to a yearly sale on the date of your choosing.

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Image via Really Good Emails

This type of email from Starry is a great way to finally convert a buyer who has been considering a purchase and needs that final push over the edge. The most important thing about these types of limited-time offers is they truly have to be limited. You can only give your buyers a chance at a great deal a few times a year at the max. If you try this tactic too often, it will lose it’s effectiveness and start to blend into the marketing background for your buyers. Make sure to stick with your deadline and only offer the discount when it really counts.

3. Almost Out of Stock!

When your most popular items are almost out of stock, it’s another opportunity to drive real urgency. You can include an alert directly on your product page in red, showing that the item buyers are browsing is incredibly popular and almost out of stock. If there are only a few products left available, it can push your buyers to feel an urgent need to purchase right now.  

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The above example from ModCloth shows exactly how this tactic works. If the buyer likes this dress and is a size small, they’ll feel a need to buy because the dress might be gone in a few minutes. This pushes all the right buttons, engaging the competitive nature in many buyers. And even when items are completely out of stock, you can include a CTA for buyers to enter their email and be notified when a product is back in stock. This drives a purchase in the future and helps your brand build a list of engaged customers.

4. Influence with Design

Color and design are incredibly powerful when it comes to influencing a buyer’s emotion. At the simplest level, people are aware that cool colors feel calm, while warmer colors feel more intense. Something as simple as changing the color of your CTA button can actually drive urgency for your buyers.

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This ad from AirBnb is a great example of how a simple tweak to the color of a CTA can encourage urgency. Here, the low prices are emphasized in red, along with the CTA to “Go” on that trip right now. It makes it feel like the prices are low, and you have to book now or miss out on the deal. It’s a subtle psychological clue to your buyers, and it does work to increase a sense of urgency.

5. Discount Abandoned Carts

A great way to create urgency is through abandoned cart emails that offer a discount to buyers who were about to make a purchase. By unifying your customer data, you’ll know exactly who has abandoned a cart and what product they’ve left behind. Then, you can send a targeted offer with a discount off that exact item if they buy right now.

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Image via Really Good Emails

This fun email from Winc shows how you can send a personalized email with a discount code to drive a purchase. It is auto-populated with the exact products that the buyer left in their cart along with a discount that will hopefully encourage a conversion. This email, while great, would be even more powerful if the discount expires in 24 hours, for example, so as to really up the urgency and drive a purchase right away.

6. Use Language Strategically

There’s powerful psychology behind why your customers buy. You can influence that behavior with the specific language you use across your site and throughout your marketing. In every message — from emails to search to social ads — you should be thinking carefully about the copy you choose to drive engagement with your buyers. The right copy on a landing page could be the difference between a new customer and a lost opportunity.

For example, you can use urgent language like: 

  • Hurry 
  • Now 
  • Limited 
  • Fast 
  • Rapid 
  • Instant 
  • Count Down
  • …and much more

It may sound simple, but the right copy can really be the difference between a buyer clicking through to your site or deleting your email. With urgency in your language, you can make buyers feel like they’re missing out on an opportunity for something great.

7. Start a Countdown

Combining a limited time offer with an actual countdown in your marketing is a very effective way to enforce the limits of a sale and increase urgency. You can actually have a clock counting down until the offer expires, slowing ticking away the minutes. Nothing makes buyers feel more urgency than seeing the time counting down until an offer expires.

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Here is a great email from Le Tote, emphasizing the countdown until the sale ends at midnight. The copy in this email is especially urgent, saying “Last Day, Last Chance.” This is one of the most direct and immediate tactics to increase urgency in buyers.

There are many ways you can push your buyers to feel a sense of urgency, and all of them are useful to you in various scenarios. As a B2C marketer, you should be fluent with the psychology of influencing customer behavior and push for more urgency with every step. By following these recommendations, you’ll drive up customer urgency and increase new purchases.

 

Brian Murphy

Brian is the Email Marketing Manager at Zaius. Outside of the digital world, Brian is a die-hard Boston sports fan, plays guitar, loves to brew beer, and coaches youth football.

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