A sense of urgency


Last chance!

Using urgency in sales is nothing new.

It works because it forces people to take action. Usually by employing scarcity. So, making something (like, the discounted price) only available within a limited time period (like, ‘this bank holiday weekend only‘).

This plays on our irrational fears. Forget spiders, we’re talking about FOMO (the fear of missing out). Removing the time available to make the buying decision forces us to make a split decision based on our emotions.


The main event

Cyber weekend is on the horizon. Arguably the biggest sales event in the calendar. Retailers slash prices for a limited time to create urgency and encourage sales. And it works.

Grey Thursday (The day previously known as Thanksgiving 😉),
Black Friday (The day after the day previously known as Thanksgiving),
and Cyber Monday all provide a well-known sales event that you can piggy-back on.


Around the clock

It’s not all about Cyber Weekend or Boxing Day. You can create a sense of urgency all year round. How?
Countdown clocks.

That’s right. Adding a simple countdown clock or timer to a product page has been proven to increase conversions by as much as 300%.

They push a consumer to make the buying decision now before time runs out. You can literally feel the time slipping away, which breeds FOMO, leading to anxiety.

As people ultimately act based on either increasing pleasure (retail therapy) or reducing pain (ending the anxiety), you can see why this little tactic has such a great impact.


Not just price

It doesn’t have to always be about the price. Timers counting down for next day delivery can be just as effective. You know the ones. Order in the next 2hrs 13m (and counting) to get this stuff tomorrow.

Same goes with last order date for Christmas deliveries.
Or stock countdown (Only 1 remaining!), which creates scarcity.

And the thing is, just like our Amazon example here, it doesn’t even need to be that prominent. Just as long as it’s there. This tiny little line of code can have dramatic effects on your bottom line.


The big tease

Limited time events are a great way to introduce urgency but you can also take the opportunity to create a sense of anticipation. If you are hosting a sales event during cyber weekend, you should countdown to it, building awareness and expectation. Holiday sales events aside, you can create a buzz around your new product, or build excitement about when tickets will be released.
And don’t forget

Countdown timers aren’t just for websites and landing pages. You can add them to your email marketing and social media posts too. We use Mailchimp and for ours.

Key dates in 2018

If you are planning a pre-Christmas sales event this year, this list of half a dozen events might be useful.

Grey Thursday

22 NOVEMBER 2018


This day is actually Thanksgiving in America. The 4th Thursday in November. A tad controversial, because on a day people are meant to be spending time with their families, they are enticed to go shopping to spend money instead (often on gifts for the people they were meant to be having dinner with). But we’re not in America, so go nuts, guilt free.

Black Friday

23 NOVEMBER 2018


Typically, us Brits had a different kind of Black Friday originally: The last Friday before Christmas where revellers had one too many eggnogs and things got a bit messy. That has now appeared to have been replaced by it’s equally messy American cousin, the Black Friday retail event. Coined in the 1900’s as the day after thanksgiving became a popular shopping day for the masses. A bit like our Boxing Day sales.

Cyber Monday

26 NOVEMBER 2018


Cyber Monday is just like Black Friday really. Although the difference is that a lot of people (in the U.S.) are off work on the Friday, but back to work on the Monday. So we guess it’s easier to order online than hit the shops on the Monday. Most of the deals from Black Friday go right through to Cyber Monday anyway. Many retailers count Cyber Monday as the official start to the Christmas shopping period.

Small Business Saturday



Here’s one you might not have heard of. It’s a campaign with the aim to champion small businesses. Shop local sort of vibe. Originally this started offline on the high street but some agile traders have been able to take the promotion online. And why not? There’s nothing stopping small businesses from competing online. Small Business Saturday reaches millions of customers and businesses each year. Get involved here.


Free Shipping Day

16 DECEMBER 2018


Free Shipping Day is a promotion that combines a promise to deliver by Christmas Eve with the real sweetener that is Free Delivery. It’s a campaign that’s gained momentum since it’s inception in 2008. If you can afford to include free delivery on all orders then it might be worth getting on board. Probably not something you’d want to advertise in advance though, as it might tempt people to hold off ordering until the 16th.

Last UK Posting Day



Many e-tailers will benefit from winning last minute sales due to guaranteed Christmas delivery. What is the last date that you will be able to accept orders until? If you have an established relationship with a courier already, then you’ll want to check with them, but as a guide, here’s what Royal Mail are saying: