The eCommerce scene is extremely lucrative but at the same time equally competitive. The fight for consumer attention is fiercer than ever and businesses are continuously seeking novel marketing tactics to stand out. Many online stores employ tactics such as creating a sense of urgency and scarcity as basic strategies to increase their sales.

The psychology of shoppers evolves continuously. Testament to that is the recent pandemics when online shopping received a fantastic boost. Not only that, but certain changes transformed the eCommerce game forever. Understanding customers’ behavior became key; words like ‘personalization’ , or ‘tailored product recommendations’ should not be missed from any online retail business’ vocabulary. Simply put, recognizing customer behavior will help retail businesses offer that unique shopping experience, but at the same time, it makes the foundation of a successful sales strategy.

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Among psychological tactics, urgency and scarcity have proven their efficacy time and time again. Urgency forces immediate action, while scarcity heightens product desirability.

Urgency marketing

Used by many eCommerce companies to encourage customers to make purchases quickly, urgency is usually employed to make immediate sales.

Whether it’s a limited-time sale, an approaching deadline, or a unique selling proposition, urgency is a potent psychological trigger that creates the perception that customers must act fast to take advantage of an offer or risk missing out.

Amazon, for example, uses urgency marketing with their “lightning deals,” which are only available for a specific period of time, usually a few hours, or until the product is sold out. This limited availability encourages customers to buy quickly, as they may not have another chance to get the item at that price.

Calls to action to achieve Urgency

The right CTAs can motivate potential customers to take action immediately rather than delaying. If there is a promotion available, you can use various examples like: “Limited Time Offer: Shop Now!”; “Flash Sale: Save 50% For The Next 24 Hours Only!”;

“Offer Ends Tonight: Don’t Miss Out!” For discounts: “Early Bird Discount Ends Soon: Register Today!”; or if you are offering free shipping: “Today Only: Free Shipping On All Orders!”

If these don’t fit your business, you can use words and phrases like “last chance”, “don’t miss out”, “act now”, “only today”, “limited time”, “while supplies last”, “before it’s gone”, or “final call” to create your own calls to action in order to convey a sense of urgency.

Leveraging Urgency for Immediate Conversions

There are multiple ways to infuse a sense of urgency into your e-commerce marketing strategies. Limited-time offers are one of the most effective. For instance, flash sales that last for a few hours or a day create an impression of immediacy. Highlighting the ending time of the sale can make customers act quickly to secure their desired products.

Countdown timers are another effective tool for communicating urgency. They serve as a visual representation of time running out. This tactic works exceptionally well on product pages, during checkout, or even in marketing emails. Displaying a live countdown on your website towards the end of a sale or special offer can dramatically boost conversion rates.

There are numerous Magento 2 Count-down timer extensions to run time-based sales campaigns and arouse customer interest. Many third-party extensions providers like Amasty, Mageplaza, Aheadworks, etc, offer this plugin for prices ranging somewhere between 99-120$, and they all have great reviews.

Scarcity marketing

Scarcity promotes the idea that an item is limited or unique, creating an illusion of exclusivity. Whether it’s limited stock, a limited edition product, or a service available to a select few, scarcity makes the offer seem more attractive.

Consumers perceive scarce products as more valuable because of the social proof attached to them and the innate desire to have something not everyone can possess. uses this technique effectively. When searching for hotels on their site, users often see messages like “In high demand – only 1 room left!” or “Booked 4 times in the last 24 hours”. This sense of scarcity and competition creates a sense of urgency for the user to make a booking immediately, or risk losing out.

Calls to action to achieve Scarcity

There are many calls to actions which suggest that your products are in short supply. Remember however, that it is important to use these strategies as ethically and honestly as possible. Not only that is morally correct, but if your customers sense that you are trying to manipulate them, you might end up losing a precious loyal base.

“Hurry, Almost Sold Out”, “Only Available to the First X Customers”, “Limited Edition Product”, “Don’t Miss Out on Limited Quantities”, and many more, are great examples for effective calls to action. You must make sure that your calls to action don’t create a sense of desperately trying to sell left-over stock that nobody wants. Or, if this is the case, try to combine it with attractive discounts, so customers feel that they are in for a bargain.

Incorporating Scarcity to Increase Product Value

Incorporating scarcity into your marketing strategies can significantly amplify product value. One method to achieve this is by highlighting limited stock levels. Displaying the number of items left in stock not only indicates product popularity but also nudges customers to buy immediately to avoid missing dashboard.

Magento 2 provides an “out of stock” feature out of the box. It is designed to display an “out of stock” message when the inventory for a specific product is depleted. This feature can be configured to display whether an item is in stock or out of stock on the product page. To enable or configure this feature, you need to navigate to Stores > Settings > Configuration > Catalog > Inventory in the Magento adm

However, advanced inventory management, including back-in-stock notifications or displaying the exact number of items left in stock, may require additional extensions or custom development. Custom Stack Status from Amasty is one of the best reviewed extensions for Magento 2. The plugin provides precise information about stock availability of particular products using custom stock statuses and attracts customers’ attention with catchy icons.

Exclusive or limited edition products are another effective way of creating scarcity. These products provide a unique shopping experience and a sense of exclusivity, prompting customers to buy without delay.

Leveraging customer reviews and user-generated content can also enhance scarcity. By sharing customer testimonials or photos, you can illustrate product popularity, enhancing the perception of scarcity.

In Default Magento 2, customers can only write reviews when they want to share their comments without any media addition. Fortunately, there are some excellent tools to let customers upload product images in Magento 2.  

Magento 2 Product Images by Customer created by BSSCommerce lets registered customers upload their product images to Magento websites. Notification emails are sent to the admin when customers upload images, who can either Approve/ Disapprove/ Delete them.

Creating a Balance

While these two marketing tactics are very powerful, overusing them can lead to customer skepticism and damage your brand’s credibility. False scarcity or urgency can erode trust, leading to decreased customer loyalty. That’s why merchants should always be transparent about stock levels or the time limits of sales. Additionally, consider your audience when implementing these tactics. Some customer segments may respond better to urgency, while others may be more influenced by scarcity. Understand your customers and customize your strategies accordingly, and even in a fiercely competing digital marketplace, your e-commerce platform will shine

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