Chapter 39

How to Drive Sales with Flash Sales, Scarcity and Urgency

The scarcity and urgency combination can be a powerful way to convert your customers. If you’re sending a high volume of customers to a specific product page, scarcity can show customers just how popular your product is. Whether it shows the percentage of a product sold or the number of units remaining, scarcity can help drive customer into purchase. However, scarcity alone isn’t enough. You can also add a sense of urgency to drive faster action from the customer. For example, countdown timers are a popular flash sales trick used to give customers a fear of missing out. This usually compels them into action. And then an impulse purchase is made. You can also offer exclusive items or a short term release of a product like Disney does by releasing movies from the vault for special anniversaries.

Flash Sales Example: Yoins channels both scarcity and urgency on their flash sales page. Their countdown timer creates a sense of urgency for when the sale ends. Underneath each product, it lists what percentage of the product has been sold. Items with a 90% and above are likely to compel a customer to buy now due to the limited inventory available.

The combination of scarcity and urgency is what drives customers to buy now. By getting your customers to buy now, you’re likely to capture an impulse buy. That means the customer is making a purchase with limited thought and objections. This can help you increase your conversions on your store.

Flash Sale Tricks and Scarcity and Urgency Tips:

Limited time offers work well for driving urgency. When hosting sales, you typically don’t want them to last more than a week. However, the shorter the sale the more urgency is created. This may not work well for brands with small audiences so if you’re just starting out you may need to spend more time promoting. Some brands do weekly flash sales where they present new offers each week. Others host weekend sales which can last 2-3 days. And some brands go for the all in one day sale. When customers see that a sale ends in less than 24 hours it can drive them into purchasing much faster.

Create urgency and scarcity with words. The language you use can play a huge role in how effective you are at converting with these tactics. ‘Only 2 left,’ and ‘limited quantities remaining’ help encourage impulse buys with scarcity. I usually like to stick to numbers rather than vague quantities though. The number should be under 3 for scarcity to work really well. For urgency, you might use words like ‘Sale ends in 24 hours’ or  ‘today only.’

Countdown timers can work really well on stores. I use them on my store. When we’ve removed the countdown timer app off our store, we noticed an immediate drop in conversions. It was drastic. So we added it back on. From personal experience, they work really well. We usually sell impulse buy products and the added element of urgency really plays well with our niche.

Add a flash sale on your store. Having a link to a Flash Sale section on your store can add extra emphasis on specific products. If every product from your store is in that section it won’t be nearly as effective. Pick 10 products each week that you include in that section. Some brands like QVC choose one product each day called ‘Today’s Special Value’ where the product is highly discounted and the offer expires within 24 hours. This not only keeps people coming back each day to check out the new daily deal but also adds an element of urgency each day so that if someone wants to buy that product they need to buy it today.  They even include a countdown timer on the product page for when the sale on that product ends.

Add a ‘Back in Stock’ section on your store. When you add products that were previously sold out into a ‘back in stock’ section customers may be more likely to buy the product. Back in stock means that the product was so popular it sold out. And so a customer knows that if they want to buy it they need to act fast or it may sell out again. Not knowing if it’ll keep coming back in stock can give them a fear of missing out causing them to act fast.

‘Last chance’ sections can also drive urgency in customers. Typically retailers who purchase bulk inventory use last chance sections to clear out their inventory. However, even a dropshipper can use this section to their advantage. Are there products that aren’t popular enough to keep on your store? You can add them to this section to test if an additional boost of urgency can propel a product back to your main store or if it’s time to remove it from your website. You can also add items from the end of the season. Like winter coats before spring.

You can use apps to show your customers how many people are viewing your store. This works really well if you’re driving traffic through ads as it’ll show a higher number of people on the page.

Flash Sales, Scarcity and Urgency Tools:

Hurrify is the most popular countdown timer on Shopify. You can add a countdown timer to any product page to create a sense of urgency. Scarcity can also be added to the app by letting customers know how many are left or how many products have already been claimed. The countdown timer has two styles you can choose from with more being created.

Urgency, Social Proof, and Timer is a social proof app that creates a sense of scarcity. It shows customers how many customers are viewing a product at the same time which shows customers how popular your store is. It can also help drive customers into a purchase when they realize how popular a product they’re looking at is.

Urgency, Social Proof and Timer

Hextom has a countdown timer bar that appears on the top of your website to notify customers of a sale. If you host storewide sales this can be an effective tool to help create a sense of urgency.

Smar7 Apps is a countdown timer app to notify customers when a sale ends. As customers see the timer move it drives them into an impulse buy.

Website on Demand is a scarcity tool that helps customers experience a fear of missing out. This helps drive them into action. Customers will be able to see how many people are currently viewing the product and how many units are available in stock. If you’re sending a high volume of traffic to a specific page this can help create a sense of urgency when customers see how many people are viewing the same product.

Scarcity and Urgency Resources:

The Best Urgency and Scarcity Tactics to Increase Your Sales goes into detail about the exact ways you can drive urgency and create scarcity on your store. Most think of countdown timers but it’s not the only way to create a sense of urgency on your store. Check out the article to learn more.

20 Tricks for Optimizing Your Online Store covers scarcity and urgency and other tactics that can help you better optimize your online store. Scarcity and urgency are only two tactics that can help you increase your sales. However, it takes a combination of them to really drive growth to your store.

The Guide to Successfully Running Flash Sales runs through how to run a successful flash sale campaign. It mentions flash sale fatigue, common mistakes you can learn from, and the benefits of running a flash sale on your store.

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