As a consumer, you know the feeling. You’ve seen something you like on an eCommerce site, you’re about to buy it—but suddenly, you change your mind and decide you don’t want it after all.
Your customers are most likely going through the same thing. But the good news? There are plenty of things you can do to help push them toward completing their purchase. The trick to doing so is to get into their minds. With a little bit of psychology, some clever pricing strategies, and a timely follow-up, you can make your products more enticing—and curb the number of customers who make a last-second decision not to buy after all.
Here are nine strategies to help you make your products more enticing.
1. Encourage customers to beat the clock
There’s a psychological principle called loss aversion that smart marketers can capitalize on. Basically, with the way our brains are wired, we hate losing something more than we love gaining something. We’d rather not lose $5 than get $5. In other words: Once we have something, we don’t want to let go of it.
Once a customer has a product in their cart, loss aversion can kick in—if there’s a chance they might lose out on the product or a deal if they hesitate. Think of it as the “you snooze, you lose” effect. When your customers know there’s a deadline, and time’s about to run out, they’re more motivated than ever to buy. There are a couple of ways to make this happen.
First, you can imply that it’s urgent to buy by using the right language. For example:
- Fear of missing out (offer expires, plus a date or time; limited stock)
- Speed (shop now, don’t delay, instant discount)
- Timing (today only, limited time)
- Sale offers (bargain, final sale, clearance)
You can use this language in headlines, body copy, email marketing copy, and calls-to-action (CTAs)—wherever it makes most sense. It doesn’t have to be that overt, either; even a subtle implication of urgency can influence a customer’s decision to act. For example, Humble Bundle implies urgency by including “now!” in its CTA.
Another effective method (that tripled conversions in one case study) is to put a countdown on the page. There’s something about seeing that time ticking away that inspires action. Admit it: you’ve felt the adrenaline rush of grabbing an Amazon lightning deal just before the clock runs out, haven’t you?
A pop-up or persistent countdown timer, like the one used on the WPBeginner site below, really works. And notice how they’ve also used time and speed-based language on the timer copy and CTA button, too.
There’s just one more thing to note about urgency: make sure it’s real or it won’t work. If your customers see a 12-hour timer counting down today, and come back a day later to see the same countdown, you’ll lose their trust. And once that trust is broken, urgency marketing loses its effectiveness.
2. Let customers know supplies are running out
Scarcity is another marketing tactic related to loss aversion. If you’ve ever been in a big box store for a Black Friday sale, you know how driven people can be by the prospect of missing their chance to get a scarce item at a great price.
You can imply scarcity with your sales copy, using phrases like “last chance”, “never again”, and “while you still can.” Like urgency, scarcity needs to be real if it’s going to work, so don’t bother to fake it. In the example below, Best Buy highlights the word “deal” in red (a color that inspires action), and uses a countdown on the page.
You can even build interest in your products by keeping sold out products prominently featured in your store. That makes people even more anxious not to miss out the next time. Here’s an example from Booking.com, which always tells you when a property’s unavailable to entice you to move fast—before the hotel you’re eyeing sells out too.
While urgency and scarcity are both extremely powerful on their own, if you can use a combo, that’s even better. Amazon’s lightning deals do just that, with a limited timeframe and a limited stock.
3. Use a benefit-driven CTA
Whether you’re talking landing pages, product pages, email marketing, or social media posts, the call-to-action is arguably the most important part of your copy. And while you can have your CTA say something very straightforward and functional like “Add to cart” or “Buy now”—you can also get a little more imaginative to help push a customer toward clicking.
Even though it’s only a few words, your CTA packs a powerful punch, supporting your copy, and urging people to buy. Some high-converting CTAs will:
- Address the visitor or subscriber
- Give a compelling reason to click (for example, if something is free or a great deal)
- Command action (with words like “buy,” “get,” and “shop”)
- Use urgency or scarcity language
The example below from TunnelBear includes a command word (“Get”), the benefit (58 percent savings), and a lighthearted name for the product (“Grizzly”) that comes from the sales copy above the CTA button.
Experiment with writing CTAs and test which are most effective at selling your products.
4. Get to know your customers
Want to make those earlier tips even more effective? Create customer personas that can almost turn you into a mind reader. When you understand your customers’ pain points and motivations—and fully understand what appeals to your target audience—it’s even easier to write headlines, marketing emails, CTAs, social media posts, and blogs that make your products more appealing.
To get started, try Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool. You’ll answer questions about your customers’ demographics and behavior—and it’ll help you put together an avatar of your target customer. In addition, pay attention to your audience from social media and the web. You’ll soon have a strong idea of what interests your potential customers so you can target your marketing accordingly.
5. Offer a freebie
Here’s another area where human psychology can help your marketing: We love getting stuff for free. It makes us feel good, both about ourselves and about the company that’s offering the freebie. Plus, getting a freebie makes us more likely to want to buy; that’s Robert Cialdini’s principle of reciprocity in action.
Think about it: If you’re shopping for a phone case and one model includes a free screen protector while the other doesn’t, aren’t you more likely to buy the one with the freebie attached? What’s something you can give away to make your products more enticing to customers who might be on the fence?
Here’s an example from Applecrumby & Fish. This email is all about promoting their freebie, from the giant “FREE GIFT” headline to the language used on the CTA button. It’s also a nice touch that they spotlight what the free gift is worth—in doing so, they’re letting the customers know this is a freebie with real value.
Super-busy websites can actually prevent visitors from being able to focus. If you want your products to stand out, simplify and streamline your site. That can include:
- Putting a few of your most popular options in the main navigation menu
- Making it easy to get to navigate the site (for example, with breadcrumbs and/or drop down menus)
- Ensuring that site search works so people actually find what they’re looking for
Here’s an example from the British bookstore chain Waterstones. Their navigation bar includes includes some top product categories, and their search box uses autocomplete to make it easier for customers to search their very large catalog.
The whole point of this is to avoid causing frustration that prevents customers from buying. You don’t want a bad shopping experience to be the difference between making a sale and losing one.
7. Create comparison charts
Comparison charts are almost like mini-infographics, condensing product features and benefits into easy-to-digest chunks. They’re another way to keep things simple, clear up possible confusion between similar products or tiers of products, and make it easier for potential customers to make a buying decision.
They can also upsell customers if you approach them with a savvy strategy. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely found that an option that’s not particularly popular can be useful in increasing your sales. In his test, The Economist magazine had three pricing plans:
- An online-only subscription at $59
- A print-only subscription at $125
- A print and online subscription, also at $125
Yup, the last two were the same price, making the combined subscription a no-brainer. But it turns out that was only the case if all three options were offered. When the print-only subscription was removed, the combined subscription option became a lot less popular. The majority of people now opted for the online-only version, which meant less revenue for The Economist. The comparison was the key to getting more sales of the higher-priced product. So test your product pricing, and, in particular, experiment with different price thresholds to set customer expectations and influence their purchasing decisions.
8. Make the price right
Sometimes sticker shock can make people abandon a purchase at the last minute. But you can reduce the likelihood of that with some smart pricing techniques.
Use charm pricing
Charm pricing is the term for prices that end in “9.” According to Gumroad, prices ending in 9 or 99 convert significantly more than prices one cent higher that end in a zero. It’s because “$1.99” makes us think, “Oh, this costs a dollar”—but “$2” makes us think, “This costs $2.”
Round your numbers
But using charm pricing alone would be too simple, right? According to author Roger Dooley, charm pricing works well for logical decisions. However, when it comes to emotional decisions, rounded numbers work better.
Dooley suggests that if you’re using more fun and emotional language in your marketing, go for rounded prices. But if you’re focusing more on features, benefits, and the price, use precise pricing. For instance, if you sell Polaroid cameras and target customers who’d want them for parties and vacations, round number pricing makes sense, since your product is tied to emotion. But if you sell professional-grade cameras to people who care about specs and stats, charm pricing makes sense, as your product is tied to rational thinking.
Try price anchoring
You can also make product pricing more appealing by using anchoring. That’s about setting the baseline for your pricing. For example, when you see a number crossed out, with a lower number next to it, that new number looks like a better deal. That’s because the first number anchored the expected price in your mind.
With so many pricing techniques to choose from, split testing is worthwhile; it can really help you figure out what works for your store and your customers.
9. Send cart abandonment emails
Approximately 69 percent of all online shopping carts are abandoned—but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all of those sales. There’s still room to win back some of those customers with a cart abandonment email marketing sequence.
Here’s a sample cadence:
- Email #1: Sent a few hours after abandonment, this email reminds the customer what’s in their cart and checks for technical or other customer service issues that got in the way of the sale.
- Email #2: Sent within 24 hours, this email again reminds a customer what’s in their cart, and possibly entices them with a discount.
- Email #3: Sent within 48 hours, this email offers that discount again, and lets the customer know their cart will be deleted if they don’t act now.
You can also use some of the techniques mentioned earlier, like loss aversion, scarcity, and urgency to encourage people to complete the sale, like this example from Google:
It’s crucial for you to make the products in your eCommerce store as enticing to customers as possible. And while your product descriptions and photos will handle some of the heavy lifting, there’s a lot more you can do to close sales.
- Beat the clock. Create a sense of urgency with customers by using time-oriented language and countdowns.
- Create scarcity. Let your customers know that some products are likely to sell out and they’ll be more inclined to act right away.
- Use a benefits-driven CTA. Highlight the product benefits in the CTA button to give a customer that final little push to click.
- Know your customers. Use buyer personas to understand your target customer and craft your marketing and site copy accordingly.
- Offer a freebie. People are drawn to freebies, so give something away to encourage customers to complete a sale.
- Simplify your site. Don’t make it difficult for your customers to find the products they need—you’d hate to lose a sale over a bad shopping experience.
- Make comparison charts. Help customers compare your products, and use smart pricing to nudge customers toward more expensive options.
- Use pricing psychology. Use prices ending in “9” for logic-based purchasing decisions, and round number prices for emotional ones.
- Send abandoned cart emails. Use abandoned cart emails to reduce your number of lost sales and win back some of the customers who left before checking out.