In an economic standpoint, the two most fundamental laws are supply and demand. These two laws are directly proportional to the psychology of scarcity and urgency which has the potential to positively impact your online sales if used correctly and designed properly.

Scarcity takes advantage of supply and urgency leverages on demand. The contributing factor for scarcity is the human behavior that if a product’s inventory is already extremely low, people will fear that they might not get the chance to have it. While for urgency, people are drawn towards the products that are extremely popular or highly demanded.

The blend of urgency and scarcity as an eCommerce sales driver is what we will explore more today with the hope of sharing valuable and real-life practices that you can immediately set up for your online store and push your customers towards sales conversion.

The Fundamentals of Urgency and Scarcity

Let’s start by examining the basic principles that you need to know to apply urgency and scarcity as marketing tactics for your eCommerce store:

1 – Limit a time

Timing is everything! Time is an essential element for any urgency and scarcity marketing tactic to work. Without setting a deadline or time limit, you are further delaying the response of your customers to make an action.

For example, if a shopper sees “50% Sale!” on your product but notices that there’s no deadline as to when the deal will expire, a possibility is the shopper won’t immediately act on your sale thinking that there’s still plenty of time to purchase. Thus, this results in a delayed conversion. And, the more time you give to your customers to think and consider, the harder for your store to close the sale.

This sets a very good reminder in setting deadlines to drive shoppers into swift action. Make sure to set a date and time, and then communicate them clearly. Say, a deadline for membership registration or an expiry to a discount code. Amazon, for instance, always sets a deadline for their deals or rewards.

urgency and scarcity

2 – Choose the suitable aesthetics

Your aesthetics in displaying your urgency and scarcity techniques will greatly affect the behavior of your shoppers, especially picking the right colors and designs for your call-to-action, layout, and copy.

Color plays an important role in human psychology because you can use color as an attention-grabbing element. In fact, a study revealed that switching from green to red CTA button has made a significant improvement in conversion rate by 21%.

Aside from color, how you position your call-to-action will impact whether or not the visitor will notice it. The natural eye pattern suggests that people see the product page from top to bottom and not naturally from top to right. This means that visitors are more focused if CTA is placed just right below the product description. Here’s what an eye-pattern study revealed:

urgency and scarcity


3 – Use the clear and appropriate words

Words are powerful, especially when you want to drive your online shoppers to purchase a product. Make use of action verbs in your call-to-actions, such as “get”, “join”, and “buy”. And then, combine these action verbs with words that require swift action like “hurry”, “instantly”, and “now”.

The tone of your message in your urgency and scarcity copy should be clear and less technical. Try using more practical words that people are using in their everyday language. A best practice also is to use numbers in replacement of full words to be straightforward.

Another best practice that you can add to your urgency and scarcity eCommerce tactics is to sound friendly and just like your target market. See how Sephora does use its target audience’s voice to invoke scarcity and urgency:

urgency and scarcity


How to Create Urgency and Scarcity

Now that you have the fundamentals of urgency and scarcity, here are some of the best practices on how to apply urgency and scarcity tactics into your eCommerce store:

1 – Add a Countdown Timer

Customer’s indecisiveness is one of the major blockers to a successful purchase. Your customers love to compare different products before buying. In fact,  94% of online shoppers take their time to find the cheapest product possible.

This means that even though you already have a whopping discount offer, your shoppers will still hesitate thinking that they might still find a cheaper one. This is why we’ve said earlier how important limiting time to your deals and offers in order to drive urgency. If people see that they only have a few minutes in order to enjoy the discounts, the tendency is they will grab that opportunity immediately. Who doesn’t want to save big bucks?

So, how do you use a countdown timer? You can easily include countdown timers into any areas of your online store like the product page, shopping cart or checkout. There’s plenty of eCommerce countdown timer apps to help you do this, just like using the flexibility of Countdown Cart. This countdown timer app enables you to display a countdown timer of your deals into your product page for urgency. It even has a feature which lets you display how many items are left in stock to stir scarcity. Just like how TGR Athletics did to their online store:


urgency and scarcity

>> Install Countdown Cart for FREE here:

2 – Host a Flash Sale

Hosting a flash sale can propel your sales because of the urgency and scarcity involved. In fact,  online stores that used flash sales were able to generate twice as fast growth in revenue in comparison to those that did not utilize flash sales at all. Flash sales work because of the element of being fast, thus, the name ‘flash’. It means that at any moment the sale will be gone.

There are many ways you can implement a flash sale. For instance, you can have a daily flash sale to showcase one product per day for an hour so that your customers have something different to look forward to every single day. In order to make it work, provide a jaw-dropping discount to really entice your customers to buy.

And, if you want to expand your audience, why not partner up with other online stores or a supplier for a partnered flash sales? Take, for example, how Snapdeal co-organized a flash sale with Maggi to re-introduce its noodle kit collections. This partner up even helped Snapdeal to sell out 60,000 items as fast as 5 minutes.

3 – Create VIP Offers

Throwing a sale for your very important customers? The idea of VIP offers works because there’s a sense of entitlement and exclusivity. This will mean that the awesome deals and perks are very limited to the members of the online store. And, this sense of exclusivity will trigger other shoppers to join the membership in order to access the VIP offers.

A very good example is Just Fab’s VIP membership. The online store offers its shoppers a VIP membership which allows them to enjoy a 30% off retail pricing that cuts the middlemen and department store costs to give a significantly low product pricing. Members will also enjoy VIP only events and promotions.


4 – Integrate Exit Intent Popup

There’s an overwhelming 68% cart abandonment rate in the eCommerce industry. This means that almost 7 in every 10 visitors will leave your site empty-handed. For any online store, that’s a lot of wasted sales opportunity.

This is when an exit-intent popup will help you prevent this predicament. The exit-intent technology examines the mouse movements of your online visitors and predicts when they are about to exit your online store. What it does is before the visitor leaves the site without completing a purchase, the exit-intent tool will display a popup offering to entice the shopper to purchase.

You can employ your own exit-intent popup with Checkout Boost’s exit-intent feature. The app allows you to display attractive last-second deals and discounts to incentivize your abandoning visitors to stay on your website and complete a purchase. The good thing about this app is it has a countdown timer integrated into the exit-intent popup already. This drives shoppers to act urgently to take advantage of the last-minute deal.

urgency and scarcity

>> Install Checkout Boost here:

5 – Display Stock Limitations

As we’ve talked about earlier, the main driver of scarcity is your stocks. If your shoppers know that a product has a very low inventory, they are more likely to purchase it immediately thinking that anytime soon the product will likely to sell out.

An online store that utilizes scarcity effectively is The Innovation Cell. It has employed the Stock Countdown by Countdown Timer to display the number of stocks left for a particular product. It also added a countdown timer of its sale to entice shoppers to buy urgently.

urgency and scarcity

>> Install Stock Countdown for FREE here:

6 – Use Social Proof

Showing how well demanded a product is will drive potential visitors into purchasing it. The reason behind this principle is the social proof theory. Social proof explains that people look for other people’s recommendations and guidance before making a decision to purchase. The better the consensus for a particular product, the more likely that people will buy it.

Your eCommerce store can leverage the theory of social proof as urgency and scarcity tactic because it takes advantage of the supply and demand. The social proof uses the popularity of a product and the fear that the supplies for this product are selling out so fast.

This is what exactly MDrip’s online store does. It has utilized Sales Pop to leverage the social proof theory. The app allows the eCommerce store to display a notification of the number of people who are either viewing the product, have purchased the product or have added the product to their carts.

urgency and scarcity


>> Install Sales Pop for FREE here:

Heighten Your Supply and Demand

There’s an innate reason why engineering your product’s supply and demand works as urgency and scarcity techniques for your online store. There’s always that sense of fear of missing out something that is popularly demanded and that can be sold out anytime soon.

As eCommerce store owners your job is to heighten your supply and demand to be an advantage. The fundamentals of urgency and scarcity will guide you to do create marketing tactics such as adding countdown timer or displaying stock limitations that will drive your shoppers to purchase and help you increase your online sales.