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Effective Use of the eCommerce Countdown Timer To Drive More Sales

Humans inherently believe that safety comes in numbers and therefore, resolve to take the safest way (or the most followed) in everything they do. Centuries down the line, humans can still be observed retaining such instincts, as they shop online. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is still real, only in a much-lowered tone. Previously, when humans lived in caves and scavenged their ways into finding food, the sense of urgency made them fight harder for their provisions. In the world of eCommerce today, such instincts can be the ideal way in which one can generate more conversions by creating a state of urgency and urgency in their services/products; otherwise known as a Countdown Timer.  

However, just like evolution itself, customers are becoming wise to this trick as fewer people are falling for such traps. But that doesn’t mean that anxiety-induced conversion is a thing of the past; instead, it is very much alive, only more covert this time. However, there’s more to it than just that and therefore, before getting any further we need to learn about how NOT to use scarcity or urgency for customers to buy more. 

The Right Way of Using Scarcity

For the customers, scarcity induces a short-lived value and thus involves more cost to acquire. Customers are hard-won with trust and time, not with short-term tricks. Playing it coy can do more harm than damage these days, and could lead to losing trust. 

Many business owners also use plugins and add-ons to leverage scarcity and make profits from it, thus paving way for the falling of the average conversion rate, and losing popularity of the platform as customers become aware of such cheap tricks.

Implementing Countdown Timers  

Time-restrained sales are one of the most effective ways to get a headstart before launching a product in the market since it drives a lot of anticipation. For example, you’re visiting a theme park and cannot wait to get on the newest ride they’ve introduced. As you wait in the queue waiting for your turn, it can cause a buildup of excitement and thus add value to the experience you’re having when you’re on it. 

However, if every ride  – old or new, comes with long waiting queues would only cause frustration, not anticipation. That sums up how countdown timers should be used sensibly by business owners. A good example of how sales countdown timers can be placed the right way for every product is below, where Amazon encourages its users to complete a purchase.

Credits: SaleCycle

As the crux of using countdown timers is built on creating a sense of urgency, it can also be used widely for sales items or discount deals like in the case of the Black Friday sales. Each year the customers are growing exponentially in number, making it one of the biggest eCommerce sales ever, worldwide. People come back with expectations and when they see more and more designer product countdowns with an end time, it is perceived as genuine scarcity, which triggers the ‘if it’s gone, it’s gone’ feeling among your loyal buyers. These buyers then come back again next year with anticipation, this time with more people, and repeat the entire process. 

Sometimes, having a timer on your customers’ cart can be a smart move to reduce shopping cart abandonments since it seems to comb through the already effective technique of product countdown timers. An example of it could be: 

Credits: BigCommerce Support

For cases that still show cart abandonment, you can also use cart countdown timers away from the website, in the form of emails or SMS. 

It’s important to know that if your customers come to visit your site frequently only to see countdown timers every time, it can irk them and cause major harm to your brand reputation. Therefore, it is better if the countdown timers come with their own time limits. 

Our brains can process visuals faster than words, and therefore visuals can stimulate responses quicker than reading. The same idea can prove to be a clicker in the concept of countdown timers, where they can be represented in graphics on your website, instead of text. Remember that it should not harm, distract, or put off from the original design of the already-present landing pages on your website; or else can prove to be counterproductive in converting or trust-building. 

There are other elements in play to make the Countdown timer work best. They are:

  • Urgency-inducing words like ‘Hurry, Limited Stocks Available’, ‘Offer expires in 2 hours’, etc.
  • Eye-catching CTA button
  • Flash sales on a regular basis – can be category-based or on popular demand for more user engagement
  • Relevant recommended/similar products with special prices on a few to get your customers contemplating to purchase more.

In the past, the access to onsite retargeting countdown timers was limited to specific message templates, unlike now when the countdown timers follow a drag and drop pattern that can be embedded into any banner. With the global conversion rate falling faster than anticipated, the countdown timers need to come as an essential element to increase CRO and drive more conversions. Therefore, it is important that business owners do it responsibly and stay honest about it through it all. 

While pushing fake sales can be a shortcut to quick money, it will eventually come crashing down on your brand name causing irreparable damage. The same goes with overdoing it where you would lose the hard-earned trust of your customers, once and for all. Your customers are humans looking for quality and value, so with every countdown timer, it is your job to ensure that the customer gets vital information about their order; from its shipping details to tracking IDs. Don’t fake them out on these which could again land you in trouble later, especially during the holiday season! 


In a nutshell, with urgency and limited availability taking the center stage for driving conversions on your website, it is also noteworthy that you have a lesser conversion time than before. For developing a custom shopping experience for your customers on desktop and mobile, here are some of our trusted recommendations who can get you started in no time:

Pivofy, Illinois

They’re a boutique eCommerce enterprise specializing in eCommerce development services, web development, digital design & development. Their experience in a variety of industries from beauty to healthcare, give them an added advantage to come up with effective strategies as per the market trends.

CodeClouds, Fort Wayne 

With a global team of over 500+ experts, they’re industry leaders when it comes to developing digital eCommerce development and design solutions. Their bigcommerce experts deliver industry-best iOS and Android app development to provide enriching, multichannel selling, advanced integrations, for building BigCommerce compliant apps.

AppsChopper, New York

Folks here deliver specialized UI/UX and mobile app development – from Android to iOS. Their secure, scalable mobile solutions are an excellent choice for businesses to deliver a unique mobile shopping experience.  

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