The Psychology of Ecommerce FOMO: 5 Quick Tactics to Create Urgency

When we look at the psychology of ecommerce, there are a world of principles that can be applied to influence consumers to purchase. One of the easiest and most commonplace tactics used by most retailers is social proof and urgency messaging (also known as ‘FOMO’ messaging). We’ve all fallen prey to this tactic at one point or another, and that’s simply because urgency and social proof drive action. Like the age old saying says, “you don’t know how much you want something until it’s gone…or sold to the person who got there before you” (or something like that).

Essentially, consumers often trust the buying decisions of other shoppers more than they do their own. By using a variety of FOMO messaging strategies, you can leverage a shopper’s love for social proof – and the power of urgency – to build product desirability and increase conversion rate. In this article, we’ll explore 5 examples of FOMO marketing to create urgency and attract more shoppers to checkout.

The Psyochology of Ecommerce: Top FOMO marketing examples
  1. Countdown Timers
  2. Stock Levels
  3. Product Views
  4. Shipping Options
  5. Discounts
  6. Explore More

1. Display Countdown Timers to Push Shoppers Toward Checkout

Countdown timers are a timeless FOMO marketing example, creating a clear visual cue signalling that the time is running out on a particular sale. This creates a sense of urgency that pushes shoppers into making a faster decision on a purchase they’re considering.

Another reason why they’re a wildly useful tactic: they’re impossible to miss. Both first-time and returning visitors will be constantly aware of the ticking clock as they navigate your site.

In the below example, apparel retailer Mavi incorporates a countdown in their exit intent pop-up that activates two days before their sale ends:



2. Expose Low Stock Levels to Communicate Scarcity

Leveraging product scarcity is a clever tactic in the psychology of online shopping, helping convince indecisive shoppers (because nothing says ‘FOMO’ quite like showing your shoppers that the item they’ve been mulling over is almost completely out of their grasp).

There are a few ways entice shoppers using low stock alerts: one tactic is to use catchy messaging that doesn’t communicate exact stock numbers but encourages urgency nevertheless. Apparel brand Rebellious Fashion uses a combination of urgent messaging underneath size options as well as a “selling fast!” message over product images:



True Vintage displays low stock information on their PDPs once inventory has hit below a certain threshold. Not only is this is a useful way to promote a hot ticket item, but it can also be used as a way to drive shoppers to purchase slower-moving inventory.



3. Display Product Views to Boost Social Proof

As we mentioned previously, consumers value the opinions of other consumers. Even the mere mention of a product’s popularity is enough to have other shoppers flocking towards that product to try it for themselves.

A quick way to leverage FOMO through social proof is to display how many other customers have viewed a certain product on a given day. If a shopper has viewed a particular product several times, it’s often an indication that they may be interested in purchasing but still need a bit of convincing.

On Champion‘s site, when a shopper views a product 10 times or more, they are shown product views on the respective product page to create urgency:

Donald Russell displays product views within the last hour as well as within the last day:



4. Display Limited-Time Shipping Options on Product Pages

It’s no surprise that shoppers will go to great lengths for convenient shipping options. In fact, 93% of shoppers are more encouraged to make a purchase if offered free shipping.

While discounted shipping is a common tactic used in any year-round or holiday marketing strategy, there are ways to extend that experience beyond a pop-up notification in order to amp up the FOMO and increase conversion.

One effective FOMO marketing example is to display limited-time shipping options on Product pages. For example, True Vintage offers next-day delivery to customers who make a purchase within a limited time frame. In the example below, you’ll notice that next-day delivery is communicated on a banner at the top of the Product page as well as underneath the ‘add to cart’ button using slightly different wording:

In addition to showing off next-day shipping options to customers who order before a certain time, Vitabiotics also lets the shopper know that the product qualifies for free UK delivery:



5. Push Sales Forward with Limited-time Discounts

Your shoppers are more likely to commit to a purchase if they know they can save a bit of money in the process. While most brands offer some sort of discount, this message stands out even more when combined with FOMO tactics like product stock levels and product views.

Jumping back to an earlier example on True Vintage’s PDP page: the brand’s 15% discount is displayed beside the pricing info at the top of the page as well as under the product availability message:



Explore More FOMO Marketing Examples to Leverage Psychology in Your Ecommerce Store

With the holidays (specially, Black Friday weekend) right around the corner, the time is now to start implementing these tactics in order to create urgency and increase conversion, order value and more. To learn more tactics you can implement before the start of the holiday season, reach out to your Customer Success Manager for more information.

Not yet a Nosto customer? Schedule a 1:1 chat with us and let us help you reach your business goals for the 2020 holiday season and beyond.


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