Until Supplies Last: 7 Clever Ways To Use Scarcity And Urgency On Your Store!

Last Updated: December 2023

Have you ever wondered how to make your online store truly shine until supplies last? In the world of e-commerce, mastering the art of scarcity and urgency can be a game-changer. 

It’s the digital equivalent of a flashing neon sign, urging visitors to act swiftly and decisively. In this article, we’re about to unveil seven ingenious ways to harness the twin forces of scarcity and urgency to supercharge your online store. 

So, if you’re ready to transform casual browsers into eager buyers, read on – because these tactics are here to help you make the most of every last item in stock.

The Impact of “While Supplies Last” on Sales

Back in 1975, three scientists – Worchel, Lee, and Adewole – conducted a cookie experiment. They showed half the people a jar full of cookies and the other half a jar with just two cookies. Surprisingly, most folks found the jar with two cookies more appealing.

This tells us that humans value things that seem rare. What’s even more interesting is that this feeling gets stronger when it seems like there’s high demand.

For example, H&M uses this by telling shoppers that there are only a ‘few pieces left,’ making them want to buy right away.

until supplies last

Think about jeans – if it says ‘while supplies last,’ it means you might miss out if you wait. So, it’s better to act fast.

Another trick is urgency, like Airbnb’s limited-time booking offers. When people know they have limited time to decide, they’re more likely to act.

until supplies last

In short, scarcity and urgency combat shopper procrastination. When people hesitate, they might lose out, and that fear can make them buy more.

Implementing the “While Supplies Last” Effect in Your Store

Now that you know how scarcity and urgency can boost your conversion rate, let’s explore some specific tactics to create the ‘while supplies last’ effect.

1. Enhance Scarcity with Stock Counters

The simplest method to achieve the ‘while supplies last’ effect is by displaying the available item count to shoppers.

For instance, Bliss employs a straightforward Shopify app that reveals the number of products sold and the quantity still in stock, creating a sense of urgency.

until supplies last

Likewise, Wolf & Badger notifies shoppers when only a few items are left, prompting them to make a quick purchase to secure the product before someone else does.

until supplies last

2. Limit Product Quantities for Increased Appeal

Another way to make your products seem even more scarce and make people want them more is to deliberately sell only a small number of them.

For example, Lamborghini only makes about 650 cars in a year. This makes people excited and curious about who will be able to buy one.

In online stores, you can do something similar by offering ‘limited edition’ products. Like Converse, which releases a small number of special shoes every few days. 

Sneaker fans love this because it means the shoes sell out quickly, and having something hard to get makes it feel more valuable.

until supplies last

Just remember, whether it’s cookies, Lamborghini, or unique products, when there’s not much of something, people often want it even more.

3. Infuse Your Copy with Scarcity Messaging

In addition to employing specific tactics to create a sense of scarcity, the language you employ in your advertisements, emails, and on your website plays a significant role in influencing the number of people who choose to make a purchase.

For instance, look at this email from Hammit when you leave items in your cart. Instead of just saying “You left items in your cart,” it makes you feel like you’re about to miss out on something great. It tells you the deal won’t last long, which makes you want to act fast.

Another example is Yeti, which uses words like “we don’t do this often” and “get one while you can” to make you want to buy right away.

When you write words for your marketing, think about how you can make people feel like they might miss out if they don’t decide quickly.

until supplies last

Let them know what they could lose if they wait. This taps into the idea that people often fear losing something good more than they want to gain something good.

4. Generate Urgency Through Flash Sales

  • Flash Sales Create Urgency: Flash sales, like Black Friday, are powerful in driving urgency for quick purchases.
  • Limited-Time Deals: Offer limited-time discounts, pushing shoppers to act fast to save.
    until supplies last


  • Anticipation is Key: Build excitement by advertising flash sales in advance, as seen with Target’s strategy.
  • Keep it Fresh: Refresh flash sales with new deals to maintain interest and draw visitors back.
  • Effective Promotion Matters: Successful flash sales depend on robust promotion via email and social media.
  • Bonus Tip: Highlight Discounts Use Shopify’s “Compare at Price” to showcase the savings and catch shoppers’ attention.
    until supplies last

5. Intensify Urgency with Countdown Timers

Picture a scenario where you encounter a bomb that’s about to explode, and you must select either a red wire or a blue wire to defuse it.

Countdown timers in your store work similarly, but without the life-threatening situation. They encourage shoppers to make decisions promptly, even though there’s no danger of an explosion.

until supplies last

You often see countdown timers on product pages during flash sales. Still, they’re also used more subtly by retailers to boost conversions at other times.

By adding a timer to your shopping cart or checkout, you let shoppers know they can’t come back later, encouraging them to complete their purchase now.

6. Provide Time-Limited Shipping Deals

Shoppers have a fondness for speedy delivery. Attract potential customers by featuring a time-limited shipping deal prominently on your product page or website banner.

Take a cue from John Lewis, for instance, who gently prompts shoppers to “order within the next 1hr and 34 mins” to secure their product for next-day pickup.

until supplies last

This subtle approach to urgency is gentle and doesn’t pressure buyers. The best part? It doesn’t add any extra costs for you. All you need to do is emphasize your shipping cut-off times, and you’ll see an uptick in conversions.

Leveraging shipping cut-off times is especially effective during holidays when shoppers are eager to ensure their gifts arrive promptly.

7. Incorporate Scarcity into Your Thank You Page Promotions

Your thank you page offers a perfect chance to introduce cross-sell offers after a customer’s purchase. It’s a fact: visitors on the thank you page are in prime buying mode. 

Moreover, as psychologist Robert Cialdini would attest, customers are significantly more inclined to accept your offer once they’ve navigated through the checkout and completed a purchase.

until supplies last

Now, when you introduce a touch of scarcity or urgency into the equation, you can elevate impressive conversion rates to exceptional levels! By incorporating a simple pop-up and timer, you can encourage customers to spend more, ultimately boosting your average order value.

Honestly, it’s quite astonishing how many brands overlook the potential of thank-you page offers. This oversight is especially surprising when you consider that giants like Amazon and eBay fully capitalize on it to increase their profits.

Exercising Responsibility with the “While Supplies Last” Tactic

Using scarcity and urgency in your marketing is important but needs to be done carefully. Creating fake scarcity to trick customers may get you some quick sales, but it can harm your brand in the long run.

Make sure your scarcity is real and has a good reason behind it. Just putting a countdown timer on every product isn’t a good idea, and it can hurt your customer relationships.

Remember, scarcity can’t fix low sales if there’s no demand for your products or your marketing isn’t good. Scarcity and urgency make people want your products more, but they don’t create that want from nothing.

Lastly, use scarcity and urgency in moderation. The goal is to get hesitant shoppers to make a decision, not to push people into buying things they don’t want. If you use too much scarcity, you’ll have lots of returns and upset customers.

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In conclusion, scarcity and urgency are potent tools for boosting conversions. When used authentically and sparingly, they create anticipation and prompt action. Remember, align these tactics with genuine value to enhance their effectiveness. 

Whether through countdown timers or limited offers, harness their power to turn browsers into buyers. Employing them wisely can significantly impact your business, driving increased sales and customer engagement.

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