Procrastination is the root of all evil. At least that’s what my mother used to say whenever I said, ‘I will do it later.’ Fast forward twenty years, and she couldn’t be more right. Replace ‘evil’ with ‘lack of sales’, and tell me, I am wrong? I am a BIG procrastinator (there’s no shame), so when it comes to understanding the nature of how it affects your eCommerce-bottom line, I get it.

About a month ago I stumbled onto this Ted lecture about procrastination and it was like Tim Urban was talking about me, to me…

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And I am not alone. Turns out, it’s not only a human condition, but an online shopper human condition. Behavioral psychologists say that when one finds oneself in an urgent situation, it causes us to suspend deliberate thought (which is just a fancy way of saying procrastination) and act quickly.

So as an eCommerce store owner, why should you care? Because procrastinators like me are costing you boatloads of cash.

By creating a sense of urgency, you can turn all those procrastinating window-shoppers who think too hard or wait too long, into customers far more quickly. In other words, sales conversions – lots and lots more sales conversions.

So, how do you use urgency to your advantage? Certainly NOT by using ‘Only one left’ in big bold red letters on all 350 product pages you have, or running one-time sales every day of the week – unless you’re Groupon and your whole business model is built on urgency.

Example of Goupon using urgency

The trick is to balance a well-optimized store with good CTAs (calls to action) and strategic urgency placements, to encourage those lookie loos to put their money where their mouse is – without making your store look like Spam City.

So without further ado (and procrastination) here are 8 ways eCommerce stores can use urgency to increase conversions.

1. Create a Catastrophe

According to Psychology Today, loss aversion is what we have when we avoid losing something at all costs. By leveraging a loss aversion response in potential shoppers, you create a sense of urgency and therefore make them more inclined to act. A good place to start is through your marketing emails announcing that a deal is coming to an end, there are limited seasonal offers or there are only a few hours left to get those orders in.

example of limited time eCommerce deals

Alternatively, by using your home page, like the store below, and well-placed CTA buttons that let customers act then and there.

An example of big retailers using urgercy

Want some banner-design tips? Visit our Create Banners that Convert post.

2. Make it Competitive

Competitive situations breeds a good level of urgency. I am not just talking about hosting a competition – although contests for free goodies can make even the biggest procrastinators wake up – but about creating a sense of competition. You only have to think of eBay bidding wars to know this works, or at, who tell you how many people are looking at the hotel room you’re interested in.

example of online hotel booking...