How to use countdown timers to increase sales (including examples!)

October 8, 2019

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When you put on your sales and promotions, do shoppers know they can only buy one and get one half off for only another half day? Or that free shipping won't be free forever?

Probably not. That's why you need to literally show them time is running out!

That's right. It's time to use timers.

There's nothing like a countdown to get people to feel major FOMO, and as a marketer, you can take advantage of that feeling to boost your sales.

Research published by the university of Nebraska suggests retailers can compel shoppers to make an immediate decision by creating a perception of scarcity.

It entices shoppers to buy now because they anticipate feeling regret later about missing a deal. This is true even if they know the scarcity is deliberately created by the retailer. 

Urgency can be key to getting customers to pull the trigger on a purchase.

We've discussed urgency before, but today we're going to focus solely on how to use countdown timers to drive home to your shoppers that they need to buy now.

Here are five examples of how to use timers to leverage the power of your deals. Start the count down in three... two.... one...
 

4. Count down the sale on every product

Putting a countdown timer next to every sale product reminds your shoppers that they only have a limited amount of time to get a deal on an item they've had their eye on. The example below from LightInTheBox.com shows how it could look on your store.

Just be careful, depending on your site layout, it might look a little overcrowded. If that's the case, take a look at the next example!

lightbox-countdown-anchoring

Another technique LightInTheBox is using well here is compare at prices.

Showing the sale price and the original price is another tactic to help provoke sales. It's called compare at pricing or anchoring. Having a higher price next to one that's marked down makes the lower price seem instantly more desirable to shoppers, enticing them to buy.

3. Countdown banner for storewide sales

If you're putting on a storewide sale, make sure your shoppers know it's for a limited time only. As they add items to their cart, investing more and more time in their shopping session (and a bigger sense of anticipated regret if they abandon it), they'll see the clock counting down.

Boohoo used a banner, as pictured below, to compel shoppers by counting down the seconds until their 50% off sale was over.

boohoo-countdown-timer



2. A time-sensitive discount code

This is another great way motivate people to avoid FOMO and check out before it's too late.

Zaful did an awesome job of prominently displaying a discount code to entice people to take advantage of their Singles' Day sale. Who can resist $20-$50 off?

zaful-countdown-timer

You could also use a countdown timer like this to tempt shoppers with free shipping when they spend a certain amount. 

Our Motivator app can help you do this, it even lets shopper know how much more they have to spend to earn a reward every time they add to their cart — another countdown, if you will!

1. Countdown timers in marketing emails

Putting a countdown timer in an email can deliver urgency straight to your customers' mailbox. 

That visualization reminds them a deal is for a limited time only and could prompt recipients to actually visit your store right away instead of saving it for lat

Check out some examples of emails with countdown timers here.

 

Try a countdown timer today!

Ready to create urgency and scarcity, compelling people to buy? 

Do it with Bold Discounts! You can put a countdown timer on your product page for items that are part of sales with an end date. This can entice shoppers to buy right away.

Yes, it's our app — but don't take our word for it! Discounts has over 700 five-star reviews on Shopify's app store.

It also helps you schedule promotions and call them out with "compare at" prices and sale flags.

Combine it with Bold Motivator, Bold Bundles, and other Bold apps to unleash the full potential of your store every time you run a sale.

Have you used countdown timers before? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments below!

John Bruce

Written by John Bruce

John is a full-time copywriter, part-time boxing coach, and former cable-access host.

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