Creating urgency on your site is a strong driving factor in getting sales for your online business. It pushes customers and forces them to make quicker decisions, and then hopefully leads to a purchase. You can create urgency in a few ways, like showing stock levels, the number of viewers of a product, how many of that product have already sold, and of course, countdown timers.

Countdown timers are a clear way to show a customer that if they urgently want a product, they must take action now (or within a specified timeframe). This countdown can be to reserve items in the cart, countdown until a sale is done, countdown for a free (or next-day) delivery or even countdown for some other special promotion.

Too Lazy to Read the Post? Watch this Countdown Timer video!

But how can you tell it’s working for you? Is that urgency helping? Well, use AB tests. It’s a scientific method to compare to versions of something against each other and see which performs better, in this case, which converts more customers.

Let’s discuss how to use countdown timers on your eCommerce site to increase sales

countdown timer banner

How can I use a countdown timer?

That’s the easy part. Like we mentioned you can use timers in a variety of situations. The easiest would be to implement a Cart Timer. The ticking time alerts customers that they have limited opportunity to make a purchase before their items are gone. This works amazingly for reserving certain items. Ticketmaster and other ticket sales companies will use this tactic to reduce abandoned carts and convert their traffic into sales.

Out of time ticket message
You need to provide information to customers that is useful. Let them know the time left until a sale ends, or how long their items are reserved in their cart or even how much time is left for something to either ship out same day or for something to arrive quickly (think Amazon).

The best places to include these kinds of timers are:

    • On the homepage (for promotions and when sales will end)

Promo Bar Example

    • In the cart page (reserved cart timer)

Cart Timer Notification Example

    • The product pages (order in x time to get it by y date).

Get it By Timer Notification Example

A Summary

Countdown timers are great and easy to implement on your eCommerce site to deliver results, but remember these 3 points:

  • Honesty! Don’t use fake deadlines, or timers that run out where nothing negative happens to push sales. It won’t work. Be honest and only use timers when there is actually a limit.
  • Don’t go crazy. Too many timers will also alienate your customers. Your timers are only going to be believable if customers can trust the information being displayed.
  • Make the provided information useful. You want to actually aid your customers, not use a timer as purely a sales technique to get money. If an event/holiday is coming up customers want information to let them know when they need to order by so that things are on time.

You want to actually aid your customers, not use a timer as purely a sales technique to get money. Follow these 3 points and you should be able to utilize timers to your best ability.

2 thoughts on “Do shopping cart countdown timers increase sales?”

  • Any best practices? I wonder if it’s under 20min will they feel pressured to go ahead and check-out versus keep looking around. But if it’s over 20 does it not create a sense of urgency?

    • It really depends on your product and target market, but if you are looking to truly create urgency, I recommend around 10 minutes. Twenty minutes is a long time, but simply having a countdown timer creates urgency.

      Feel free to A/B test timers on your shop with Fera!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *