Why are urgency triggers necessary?

Psychology shows that people tend to act quicker when a sense of urgency is invoked. Urgency triggers human loss aversion and the fear of missing out. 

The fear of missing out is the psychological need to to fit in. 

Loss aversion is the psychological quirk that makes people’s desire to keep what they already have stronger than even the desire to acquire more stuff.

Urgency triggers are especially relevant in modern online shopping where the customer is literally spoilt for options. Customers may look at products but then spend time looking at alternatives, comparing features like prices, materials, delivery costs, and warranties. Urgency triggers cut through all the deliberations and drive a customer to act NOW.


What urgency triggers can you use?



Scarcity involves limiting the supply of a product. People tend to value something more when it’s in low supply. You can use scarcity to your advantage by only putting a certain number of items up for sale and stopping the sale once they sell out. Showing the number of items left goes a long way in turning up the pressure to purchase.

Supreme is the perfect example of a brand that has mastered the art of using scarcity in marketing. They took a 50-cent brick, slapped their logo on it, produced only a limited number of examples, and boom! The bricks sold out in minutes. At $30 each. What’s even more amazing is that Supreme bricks have been resold for over $200 by the original buyers on StockX.  

Now, your brand may not have the power to sell out bricks at a 6000% markup like Supreme does but you get the idea. The key to a successful use of scarcity is hype. Build up the hype around your scarce product before you launch. User generated content and social media are excellent hype building tools.


Time limits

Your sale or special offer shouldn’t be around forever. You need to constrain it within a certain window of time. If your offer is still going to be around next month there is no point in a customer spending money now. But if your offer expires at midnight today for example, then the drive to buy now in order to avoid paying more tomorrow becomes very strong.

A countdown timer is a perfect tool to capture the customer’s attention and show them just how little time is left.


What to avoid

Avoid fake offers. Customers hate being manipulated and will definitely not feel any need to buy if you’re selling the same limited edition product every week.

Avoid frequent offers. Keep them few and far between. If you are always having a sale, you become the bargain store and no one will pay any attention to your urgency triggers because they know you’ll just create another sale once the current one runs its course.