Buy Now: The Power of Urgency to Propel eCommerce Conversion

The art of customer engagement uses many tenets of behavioral psychology. Wooing the customer in the lopsided demand-supply world of eCommerce is quite a feat. You have to tempt the customer just right, create a palpable sense of tension and excitement in your offerings, and sometimes play a little hard-to-get so the customer is incited to take the bait. Many a customers develop cold feet after adding your product to their cart and it stays there forever, you lose the battle in the last leg of this journey. One of the ways to make up your wavering customer’s mind and accelerate the shopping process is to create a sense of desperation and urgency in them. So that they feel the deal is now or never.

Why Urgency?
Urgency tips the balance somewhat in the merchant’s favor by forcing the customer to snap out of the procrastination that likely happens with most sales. Behavioral psychologists often talk about the ‘Urgency Principle’: Urgent situations cause us to suspend deliberate thought and to act quickly.
In other words, urgency makes your dilly-dallying customer want to buy now.

When you create this sense of immediacy, you motivate the maybe buyer to decide and act on your website. The goal of urgency is to break the cognitive friction barrier that prevents consumers from converting.
But urgency is not the same as persuasion. You can’t really sell snow to an Eskimo, no matter how much urgency you create. The desire to buy and a hook that forces the customer to think about the time stipulation are both necessary.

Urgency will only work if your product is important to the user and there is a sense of achievement associated with the time limit.

Create a sense of urgency with your sales copy
The power of words comes in handy when you are dealing with consumer psychology. Your copy needs to resonate with your buyers’ inner thoughts. It is easier said than done of course. 

There is a fine line between smart copywriting that prompts users into action and sleazy, cheesy, negative urgency that may actually put off a potential buyer. Invest in good content and highly-targeted copy if you want to make sales.

Avoid clichés, trite sales copy and improper syntax. Even if you don’t have the talent in-house, you can hire exceptionally talented professionals who can pack a punch with their writing. In fact, there are professional copywriters for every eCommerce niche: from product packaging to product descriptions, sales pages, and the like. These writers are adept at using several copywriting techniques including the sense of urgency as they use it on a regular basis.

Some specific keywords create a sense of urgency. Choose and use wisely. Here’s a sample list of some urgency words that you can use on your web store:

  • Hurry
  • Last Chance
  • Don't Delay
  • Don't Miss Out
  • Instantly
  • One Day Only
  • Limited Time Offer
  • Expires On...
  • Now
  • Ends Today
  • Deadline
  • Act Now
  • Don't Delay

A good idea would be to A/B test all your sales copy – creating two versions and finding out which works better in terms of conversions.

Scarcity is a great friend of urgency, pushing the need/greed buttons in your customer’s psyche. Scarcity refers to any limitation on a product or service to increase sales by acting on the FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) principle. It is human nature that when something is short on supply or only available for a limited time, it suddenly acquires more interest and value. Similar to urgency, scarcity compels action. When products appear to be disappearing by the dozen, you can’t lose time. You need to buy now.

For any special deals. Timers not only show the number of hours left before the deal is invalid, it can also include the number of items sold in the past one hour and the number left. ‘Only 3 left in stock’ might just make up the customer’s mind.

Implicit Visual Urgency
The user experience (UX) aspect of an eCommerce website has as much influence on conversions as good copy.  Marketing gurus and designers often advocate placing social proof and testimonies near the CTA buttons to improve credibility and push conversions. So how do you convey urgency with design?

You can imply urgency visually in many creative ways from the incorporation of clocks, time-tickers, colors and graphic elements that indicate urgency and propel action.

The Buy Now button is a battle-tested tool for visual provocation. Fiery shades like oranges and reds in the Buy Now button work – because they remind us of emergency lights and touch us on a subliminal level.

Eliminate visual clutter from your web page and place CTAs strategically. Make it very easy for the customer to take the next step – whether it is ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Checkout’ or any other action.

Urgency is part of our mental makeup.  Often all a customer needs is that slight nudge to move forward and take action. Use urgency wisely by incorporating the tips outlined here in the design and copy of your website. One of the benefits of a robust CMS solution like Magento custom website development is that it allows you to implement sales techniques like urgency and measure their impact. Have you ever used consumer psychology to enhance your sales? What was the outcome? Please share with us in the comments section.

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