May 21, 2024

Creating Urgency and Scarcity: Effective Marketing Strategies

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer


5 Tactics To Use Urgency & Scarcity to Sell More

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer


5 Tactics To Use Urgency & Scarcity to Sell More

The era of consumerism requires merchants to be focused on winning customer attention and inventing ways to help increase conversions. Time-limited offers and last-chance deals have proved to be generating sales in a much bigger number of cases than common seasonal discounts like back-to-school and Xmas.

Understanding a shopper’s psychology that ever changes becomes a key to success. In this article, we dwell on the core strategies of urgency and scarcity marketing. To prove them work, we provide real-life examples.


Creating a sense of urgency and scarcity can be a powerful way to encourage purchases. This strategy has real impact, which is confirmed by the split test results provided by WhichTestWon.

In a nutshell, a page with a product description containing a countdown timer showing how much time is left till the end of a special offer created a 9% lift in conversions.

Below we provide a gist of scarcity and urgency marketing tactics that have proved highly reliable when it comes to sales and growth through influencing the human psyche.

What is Scarcity Marketing?

Scarcity marketing can be defined as a strategy based on customers’ fear of missing out on something, FOMO for short. The psychology behind scarcity tactics capitalizes on people’s wish for more of what is (or can be) hard to acquire.

Ever tried booking tickets on low-cost airlines? No matter the date or destination, the number of available seats for the route would always be limited.

Limiting product quantity triggers the feeling of FOMO in your potential customers. As a result, they are more likely to make a purchase, wishing to receive the ‘rare’ goods.

“Our typical reaction to scarcity hinders our ability to think”.

—  Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, the seminal expert in the field of Psychology & Marketing.

For businesses in the ecommerce sector, scarcity marketing makes a helpful tool for leveraging sales.

What is Urgency Marketing?

Urgency marketing enables brands to achieve their goals in a short amount of time through crafting deals and promotions in a way that drives immediate response. Common examples are:

  • “Today only”;
  • “Deal-of-the-day”;
  • “Expires in 3 hours”.

This technique helps encourage customers to push the “Buy” button before the time runs out, urge them not to miss the advantage.

In urgency marketing, the FOMO plays an important role, as well as people, have to make decisions quickly, without hesitations.

5 Working Ways eCommerce Stores Can Use Scarcity & Urgency

NEKLO development teams are regularly working on building ecommerce platforms, collaborating with online store owners, and being introduced to their growth tactics and insights. As for the scarcity and urgency, we can see these marketing techniques continuously prove a real sales booster in ecommerce and beyond.

The key peculiarities of promoting goods and services this way that we have identified include:

  • Usefulness of a product, value presence;
  • Product transferability between people;
  • Product can be possessed.

When it comes to customers’ scarcity-driven mindset and the desire to acquire, we’d name the following 3 core peculiarities:

  1. Scarce goods seem exclusive.

Purchasing a scarce item means acquiring something that others cannot get. We can see jewelry or hand-made purse online retailers to be applying this feature the most. However, cases today have considerably diversified. The technique works just as good with a VIP lounge in an airport or a dance club promo campaign.

  1. Low-supply items feel valuable.

The lower the number of items, the higher the demand and the price. That’s how the basic law of the economy works. Purchasing items marked as “low-supply” adds value to these particular items and the customer’s buying decision in general.

  1. Intensified feeling of satisfaction.

For human beings, scarcity serves the desire for uniqueness and status, evokes feelings of envy, and hints that scarce products are better than non-scarce. Thus, obtaining scarce goods for shoppers means immense satisfaction and superiority over those not lucky to have them.

Fairly simple. The less time is left to make a purchase, the more people want to actually make the purchase. To help you benefit through the powerful combination of scarcity and urgency marketing tactics, we have chosen 5 tactics to share in this article with you.

Read on to see if you know how to use them right.

Time-Sensitive Deals

The so-called urge-driving words and phrases make people take action immediately. However, make sure to explain directly and clearly why your customers need to hurry up and what they will get.

We’ve gathered some common examples of urge-driving words and phrases that help add time sensitivity. They are:

  • Today only
  • Time-limited offer
  • Don’t miss
  • Expires in X days
  • Order within X minutes and get a discount
  • Prices go up in X days

See how we’ve worked with Planet Blue to help grow their brand.

Limited Quantities

Another way you can show scarcity in a web store is by highlighting the low number of items that you have in stock.

Moreover, you can develop this strategy and send out triggered emails to let your customers see that the products they were looking through are running low. Such a step has the potential to make customers want to hurry and be back to your store to make a purchase.

See how we’ve been helping the Lulu and Georgia brand.

Social Proof

Customer reviews and recommendations on products become crucial when your website visitors are hesitating about making a purchase.

Here’s how you can show that the goods that you offer are well-demanded:

  • Add a “Bestseller” label;
  • Show how many visitors are currently viewing the same product;
  • Display it when an item has recently been purchased by another user.

Social proof increases product popularity. Popular products in their turn become FOMO-evoking, automatically, as they become very soon sold out.

Countdowns and Timers

Timers and countdowns show the offer will soon come to an end. People hate it to miss out on great bargains. The FOMO feeling in this case works as a motivator to click the “Buy” button.

However, make sure to avoid offer expiration bugs. When the time is up and the countdown finishes, it finishes for good and the timer does not restart each time the web page is reloaded.

Shipping Offers

Express delivery or free shipping options can encourage customers to buy as well. In the case when this offer is a timed option, the chance of visitor-to-customer conversion is likely to increase.

Offer a next day or a free delivery if the item is ordered within a specified time. The customers guided by FOMO on a nice deal will order the selected goods quicker.


If reasonably applied, scarcity and urgency marketing tactics can help increase leads and sales. No need to make your web store visitors feel the pressure through the pushy ads.

Encourage them.

The core function of scarcity & urgency is stimulating the incentive to make a purchase after all.