Buy now! Buy today!

The most effective marketing is often the simplest. You can dress it up however you like, but the science is clear: conversions are really driven by fear. The fear of missing out.

Customers need to know that they are getting the right product at the right price, but their purchases are really driven by time. How long do they have until the price goes up? When will the product go out of stock? When will it be released?

QVC is the ultimate example of the Principles of Urgency. If you don't know them, their live stream is really worth a watch.

When you do, you'll see that they give you real time updates on live sales. You get a countdown until the deal ends. You can see the price changing. QVC know that people want to buy what other people are buying; they even take the time to show you how many are left in stock. 

If you don't ring them right now, you'll miss out!

QVC has been successfully driving its business with the Principles of Urgency since day one and they excel at showing the customer the important things:

  • live stock levels
  • a constant real time price updates
  • an availability countdown
  • corny presenters

They drive down certainty to push up conversions; if something is slipping away, the consumer just holds on harder.

That's how they sell so many novelty phones and magic mops!

Taking advantage

Some companies have developed a whole industry around the Principles of Urgency. You don't need to! It's really simple; just a few small touches can have a huge effect.

Simply focus on just a few key areas.


Your customers want to buy the best products: rarity is a great sign of quality. If it's hard to get, it must be better! Imagine you find the perfect birthday present for your child. You might hold off ordering while you look for alternatives. But, would you wait if you knew they were nearly out of stock?

Now, there's more! You know what else?

Popularity is king. 

Your customers need to know what's hot. If they know a product is selling, they'll want it. Just make it clear when you're running low on a product to tap into this easy conduit; our brains tell us that if something is in short supply, it must be popular!

Speak with Urgency

Not all words are created equal; some are far more effective:

  • now
  • urgent
  • limited
  • never
After all, when a customer knows they need to act now to grab a limited time offer that'll never be repeated, what'll they do? They're more likely make a purchase!

Act Now...

A permanent sale doesn't entice anyone to spend money today: they can always spend money tomorrow. Tell your customer how long they've got. If you're having a flash sale, tell them when it ends! You can wave it in their face, but nothing speaks to urgency like a ticking clock. It just screams 'Act Now'!

People respond well to a timer; how many people bid in the dying seconds of an eBay auction? The key thing is to encourage the customers to convert quickly. 

...Too late

Why not get them coming and going? So they've missed a sale: tell them! Simply point out what they lost. A sale just ended? Let them know. They could have had this item at half price? Well, they'd better check what else they might miss.

With a little encouragement, entice them towards the new deal. Keep them hoping and keep them looking - if they know there's the possibility of an offer, they'll be back!

Move with the Herd

We like to think we're individuals, but there's safety in numbers. It's one thing to tell a customer what's hot - why not show them too? 

Best sellers are a great way of attracting sales. There's a herd instinct, so take advantage of it! You could even show off how many you'd sold in the last week!

Knowing when to make the most of key selling times

With so many public and bank holidays throughout the year, what better time is there to put this all into practice. Whether it's Christmas you're promoting or an end-of-summer sale, you're bound to have something to advertise!

If you're not being proactive, you're missing a trick. 

Of course, one of the biggest problems is that sometimes, you won't be able to get something out to your customers. The specially ordered, customer built, personalised present that will take three months to deliver. Perhaps your best seller is out of stock, and there won't be a new shipment until after the big day. Being a sensible retailer, you already show the lead times on your website, but is that enough? It's bad to present the negative. Instead, why not give something positive?

Which of these products won't get to you in time for Christmas?

That's right - the middle one. With positive messaging, you're guiding your customer into the products you want to sell. Rather than disappoint them with denials, you're giving them options. Positivity encourages the customer, pulling them towards a sale.

There's really no end to what you can do, but at this time of year it's important to take advantage. There are always sales and special offers. Just be certain that you're making the most of everything. Are you making the most out of you website? Simply take a look back up this list and think about what you could achieve.

17th August 2018