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Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store

Do you remember the last time you bought a product because of “limited time offer”? How about the last time you signed up for an event because it said: “5 seats left”? Or a countdown timer that convinced you need to act before the timer hits zero? How about the website you just visited that has “Sale price: $29 – Offer ends today!

It is difficult to resist these types of urgent situations. You don’t want to end up not getting a seat at the event or wait for a product to be restocked.

These are decades old marketing techniques that prompt us to take action urgently. Scarcity and urgency are applied all over both in offline and online stores. For example, when you visit a supermarket, often, you will find chocolates are placed just before the checkout counter.

If you want to buy them you have to act fast, if your billing is completed you won’t have a chance to buy them. You have that very little time window to get them. This is an example of urgency applied in offline stores.

They are psychological tricks that help eCommerce store owners convert their visitors into paying customers. They use the fear of missing out and greed as their main triggers.

If someone visits your store and likes the product, but they think, I will wait for the next paycheck to get it, that customer is highly likely not to come back. People usually have short attention spans and it may be difficult for them to remember they planned to buy from your store. Once they are out of your store, they will likely get targeted by competitor ads. As long as the visitor has left your store, that is as good as a lost customer. Therefore, once they are on your store, you need to make sure they don’t hold off purchasing for any reason.

Here are 5 ways in which you can use scarcity and urgency in your WooCommerce store to convince visitors to purchase.

1. Offer a discount for a limited time

Discounts can act as a catalyst to boost your conversion rate. You can add a sense of urgency to the discounts that you are offering by adding a time limit to the discounts. For example, have discounts run for a week. This can come in handy especially during special festive and holiday seasons.

When running the discounts, you need to make sure your customers know about it.

One way of adding a sense of urgency to your discounts is to use countdown timers. They can be added to the header of your site, as a floating bar or on the product pages.

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

They are effective in creating a sense of urgency and can be the final push that a customer might require to purchase from you. There are several ways to add these in WooCommerce. You can use a number of plugins to add countdown timers to your WooCommerce store.

Here are a few examples:

Product Countdown Timer for WooCommerce

Product Time Countdown for WooCommerce

HurryTimer – An Scarcity and Urgency Countdown Timer for WordPress & WooCommerce

2. Create the fear of missing out

We tend to follow what others do, as we think what others do is probably correct. Remember the new restaurant that just opened in your area? It had a long line outside it. Did you think to yourself you are going to try it out at some point in time? That thought of trying it out is because of the fear of missing out (FOMO).

You can use this technique in your WooCommerce store as well. This can be done by adding some social proof to your WooCommerce store. Show recent sign-ups, number of visitors, recent purchases, number of people viewing the page, etc An example of this is shown below:

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

Notice how the text “14 sold in last 24 hours” is shown in big bold red. This instantly creates the fear of missing out. It also creates a sense of urgency as you start thinking 14 sold in just 24 hours, how many do they have left in stock? You need to buy the product as they might run out of stock. The bold text also acts as social proof showing that people are actually purchasing from your store, hence building trust with your new visitors.

Here is another example of using social proof to create the fear of missing out.

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

Notice the sales pop-up at the bottom of the page, it lets you know of recent purchases from the store. This also adds to social proof and the fear of missing out. Another way to create the fear of missing out is to use low stock notifications. This is discussed in more detail later on in the article.

Here are a few plugins you can use to implement these techniques in your WooCommerce store.

Live Sales Notification (Recent Sales Popups)

WooCommerce Notification | Boost Your Sales – Live Feed Sales – Recent Sales Popup – Upsells

WooBought – WooCommerce Live Sales Notifications (Recent sales popup)

3. Offer free shipping for a limited time

High shipping charges can be a conversion killer. Especially if they come in as a surprise during the checkout process. It is important to be upfront with customers about shipping charges. It is highly recommended to include add shipping to the product price and offer free shipping wherever possible.Would you rather buy a product at $25 + $5 shipping or $29 and free shipping?

Many WooCommerce store owners struggle with being upfront about shipping charges. But how about using shipping charges as an urgency technique? This can be done by offering free shipping for a limited time. Here is an example:

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

This store is offering free shipping but only for the next 2 hours.

This technique works because:

  • Online shoppers are encouraged by free shipping.
  • The short time limit creates a sense of urgency.

You don’t need any special plugins for offering free shipping. You simply need to configure it in the WooCommerce options.

4. Offer free shipping to a limited number of customers

Just like free shipping for a limited time, you can offer free shipping to a limited number of customers. For example, Free shipping for the first 10 orders. In the example below, you can easily see that free shipping is available for the first 10 buyers and 6 have been sold in the last 24 hours.

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

That means you need to purchase the Watermelon cutter knife now! Else you will end up paying for shipping. There are no plugins available to apply this technique. So, you will either have to stop the free shipping option manually after a certain number of orders. However, this can be a little risky. You can still get 11 orders and with the free shipping. To work around this, offer a discount coupon for the shipping charges. Limit the number of times the discount coupon can be used.

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares

5. Display low stock notifications

Low stock notifications are highly effective in creating scarcity. They prompt customers to act quickly to avoid missing out on the items they are interested in. If you have customers who are adding products to their Wishlist and not purchasing, sending them low stock notifications can trigger purchases. In the example below, you can see the low stock notification is displayed on the product page.

Use Scarcity and Urgency to Catapult your WooCommerce Store - Tyche Softwares


As seen in this article, scarcity and urgency can be used to boost the conversions of your WooCommerce store. However, it is important not to use false scarcity and urgency. Always be truthful with your customers and create trust with them.


Browse more in: WooCommerce, WooCommerce Tutorials
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