The fear of missing out on a great deal or product can have a powerful impact on consumer behaviour, affecting what they buy and when they buy it. A ‘while supplies last’ offer has the potential to speed up the process of turning browsers into buyers. Read on to learn how this tactic can transform your eCommerce sales.
What is a ‘while supplies last’ offer?
A ‘while supplies last’ offer is a discount or deal that will expire when you’ve run out of stock. If shoppers don’t convert now, they won’t get a second chance.
This type of offer doesn’t pressurise shoppers too much. Instead, they hint at product scarcity to create a sense of urgency.
Shoppers have no way of knowing when supplies will run out. So if they really want the product or the current discount, they’ll want to check out as soon as possible. According to a study from the University of Nebraska, a limited quantity offer can make products more desirable and arouse competitiveness in consumers.
As ‘while supplies last’ offers don’t set specific time limits, they are a great way to shift old inventory that’s taking up too much warehouse space.
What is a limited time offer?
A limited time offer is a deal or discount that is available to shoppers for a set amount of time. It provides an easy and effective way to promote urgency.
In the world of eCommerce, these kinds of offers can last minutes or months. Brands can create week-long deals, a countdown to the end of a sale or simply scream “offer ends midnight”.
It is good practice to set clear deadlines for these deals. If they run too long, visitors might expect low prices all the time and stop purchasing full-priced products. Online shoppers are also more likely to be skeptical of a limited time offer than a limited quantity offer, according to an academic study. So be truthful about when discounts and sales end or it could negatively impact your strategy, as well as confidence in your brand.
Bear in mind that big-ticket items which require thoughtful consideration will have long discount windows less regularly.
A limited time offer encourages consumers to make a decision now, rather than later. This makes them great to shift seasonal goods and perishable products before it’s too late to sell them. Limited time offers can also improve cash flow quickly.
Why create a sense of urgency or scarcity?
If shoppers feel they might miss out on a deal or a product, it compels them to act immediately.
This isn’t about getting consumers to buy a product that they don’t want. It’s about encouraging them to make a decision and act quickly when they do want something. This is important because shoppers that leave your website are often unlikely to complete the sale. Why? Well, because they could simply forget about the item they liked. Or, when they’re ready to purchase, they could get distracted by another product or offer.
The modern consumer journey offers competitors countless opportunities to swoop in and steal prospects away from your business. If a past visitor seeks out your product on Google or Amazon, another brand’s sponsored ad may pop up first. Or they could be targeted with a competitor’s display ad, video or social post before this point.
So to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions, it’s important to give consumers a reason to order now. A limited time or limited quantity offer does just this.
Examples of offers that create a sense of urgency
There are many ways to create a sense of urgency on your eCommerce site. You can plan limited edition product lines in advance or quickly react to slow-moving stock by slashing prices. Here are some example to inspire your brand:
Limited quantity offers
Limited quantity discounts:
Offering discounts, free delivery, free gifts and other perks for the first 100 customers is a great way to drum up interest in a product. Share these deals on social media to increase followers or use it as an introductory offer to boost the performance of new releases. Customers who get a great deal are more likely to leave positive feedback, which will support long-term sales growth and help new products win the digital shelf.
Only “x” left
Your brand should prevent the occurrence of stockouts whenever possible. But in cases where it’s unavoidable or a product is coming to the end of the line, it makes sense to use shrinking inventory levels to your advantage. Highlighting that a product is low in stock communicates both scarcity and social proof.
Amazon often displays how many units remain in stock, while airlines use phrases like “only 2 seats left”. You can use real-time reporting tools, like eTail Monitoring, to get precise stock level information to share on your product pages. But if you don’t have this kind of sophisticated technology in place yet, you can add urgency to your copy with phrases like “They’re selling fast!”, “While supplies last” or “Back in stock after unprecedented demand”.
Limited edition products
Researchers report that consumers view limited edition products as more special, unique and valuable, which provides them with plenty of reasons to act quickly and make a purchase.
A recent study also suggests that scarcity can decrease the importance consumers place on price – even during a pandemic. So this is a great way to boost demand for premium products.
You can also use Where to Buy technology on your website to let visitors know about a product’s availability across retailers. They can view where the product sold out and where it’s available.
Create a sense of urgency at checkout
As mentioned above, a limited quantity offer can help reduce shopping cart abandonment, which is a big problem for eCommerce stores. In 2020, the average SCAR rate worldwide stood at a massive 88%. So design your shopping cart pages in a way that lets prospects know when a selected product is low in stock or on sale.
You could also send email alerts to shoppers when an item in their shopping cart or wish list is running out. Not only will this drive conversions, but it also provides a positive consumer experience.
Limited time offers
Delivery fees are a leading cause of shopping cart abandonment. In fact, half of online shoppers say shipping costs have prevented them from making a purchase. Research and surveys also show that consumers prefer free shipping over product discounts.
So if you don’t provide free shipping as standard, making it part of a limited time offer can boost sales across your product lines. Or, if you already provide free shipping, you can up your game by offering faster shipments. According to a 2020 survey, 65% of eCommerce merchants say conversions increase significantly when they offer one or two-day delivery.
Limited time coupon codes
Coupons always come with an expiry date and, to drive urgency, online discount codes should too. Share limited time coupons through pop-ups as visitors click to leave your store and in retargeted emails and ads.
To make shoppers act fast, successful sites like eBay and Groupon provide a visual reminder of when sales end or offers expire. In fact, an A/B test run by WhichTestWon showed that adding countdown timers to a product page can increase conversions by 9%.
You can also use timers to let shoppers know about delivery deadlines. FMCG brands often count down to the deadline for next-day delivery, while apparel stores could highlight the cut off time for pre-weekend arrivals. When running a store-wide sale, you should also add a countdown timer to your homepage. This kind of helpful information improves customer experience and creates a sense of urgency.
Offering daily deals and other short-term discounts with a clear end time is a great way to increase shopper urgency. Discounting bestsellers can drive conversions and can work alongside free shipping thresholds to increase order values.
Urgency and scarcity can drive conversions and reduce cart abandonment, but be sure to use these strategies thoughtfully. Don’t trick shoppers into making snap decisions, because this will lead to unhappy customers and increased returns. Instead, be truthful and try to use these proven tactics in a way that benefits customers, as well as your business.
Further, easing the path to purchase for your customers will help drive higher conversions. Talk to our team today to learn about tools that can help your eCommerce strategy and drive conversions.