Nearly all of marketing involves changing the behaviour of your intended audience. And knowing how people think is vital to influencing behaviour.

This is why the vast majority of marketing principles are built on the understanding of human psychology.

One of the best example of this is action involves urgency.

In this blog post, we explore how to use urgency to increase website conversions.

Why use urgency?

Today’s customer journeys are rarely linear. The buying process often takes place across multiple channels and devices.

Depending on the product, customers may research and consider purchases over several days, weeks, or even months before converting.

Creating a sense of urgency helps to speed things up. It encourages those already considering a purchase to buy now, before they miss out. It also works well to prompt purchases from impulse buyers and frequent buyers.

When employed correctly it can practically create demand from thin air. Someone who had little interest in buying can be transformed into a hungry prospect with the strategic use of urgency.

The power of urgency

While the use of urgency is very common online today, one of the most famous studies into the power of urgency dates predates the internet age.

Back in 1975, three researchers carried out a study looking out how scarcity influenced people’s perception.


The study asked participants to rate cookies from two jars. One of the jars held ten cookies, the other contained just two.

The participants rated the two-jar-cookies as higher, even though the cookies were identical.

The simple notion that that were fewer cookies available in one of the jars was enough to increase their perceived value.

8 ways to use urgency to increase conversion rates

Here are eight tactics you can implement to create a sense of urgency:

1. Setting deadlines

Setting deadlines is a simple but effective way to create a sense of urgency. Some examples include:

  • offering next day delivery up until a daily deadline
  • promoting the date your sale ends
  • putting a deadline on using a personal voucher code


2. Using countdown timers to highlight deadlines

Once you’ve set a deadline, countdown timers are an eye-catching visual element you can use to draw attention to it.

Counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until the deadline is a powerful way to get customers to snap into action.


You can add countdown timers to emails or include them on your website to make use of this tactic.

Further reading: 7 Examples of Email Countdown Timers that Create Urgency

3. Showing scarcity

As highlighted earlier, scarcity is an incredibly persuasive way to trigger the fear of missing out (FOMO) and create urgency. You can implement this by highlighting when items are low in stock.


Personalisation technology (like ours) allow you to add real-time stock alerts across your website and emails.

4. Showing real-time behaviour of other shoppers

Another way to create urgency on your website is by showing the real-time behaviour of other shoppers.

Seeing that many other shoppers are browsing the same product works on two levels. Firstly, it adds social proof by demonstrating popularity. Secondly, it triggers FOMO.

This works particularly well in travel, where there are only so many rooms in a hotel or seats on a flight.


5. Showing potential price increases in the future

No one likes the idea of paying more than they have to. Customers are more likely to buy today if they fear paying more tomorrow.

Again, this tactic works well in travel. Try advertising that there are only a limited number of rooms or seats on a flight left at the lower price.


6. Using time-related words that encourage action

Your copy is your tool to speak to your customers. Optimise yours for urgency by using time-related words.

Here are some examples of words and phrases that encourage customers to act now:

  • buy now
  • ends soon
  • hurry
  • save today
  • last chance
  • one day only
  • don’t delay
  • don’t miss out
  • offer expires


7. Holding items for limited periods

Even if a customer gets so far as putting items in their baskets, they sometimes delay or abandon their purchase. Encourage them back to buy by letting them know you will only hold their items for a limited time.

If a customer abandons their basket, send them a basket abandonment email that says their basket is being saved for a limited time. Including a timer counting down to when the basket expires ramps up the urgency.

Travel or events brands can use a similar tactic on ticket websites with a countdown timer that puts a time limit on checkout.

8. Using flash sales

Flash sales are an effective way to create urgency and drive conversions when your sales figures need a boost.

Send an email with a timer counting down to the start of the sale, to get customers chomping at the bit to buy the moment the sale goes live.

Then, use a timer onsite to count down to the end of the sale. This maintains a sense of urgency throughout the sale.


Urgency is by no means a new tactic for increasing conversions, but many marketers are still not using to its full potential.

When used correctly it can have a profound impact on not only conversion rates, but the entire experience of your website.

Learn how our personalisation technology uses urgency to transform your customer experience and drive more conversions.

Personalise your customer experience