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Urgency, urgency, urgency, or the more familiar name for this technique - time and quantity restrictions can be your strong marketing tactic to increase sales. Here are some great retail examples. These are the best examples of e-commerce sites that successfully use the constraint technique and can give many online stores good practical ideas.

What are Time and Quantity Limits in Internet Marketing?

The useful tactic in question essentially forces the customer to come to a decision to make a purchase, or at the very least speed up the process of making that decision.

For example, when visitors are only browsing products with the intent to think about buying later, time and quantity restriction techniques can simply sway them into purchasing.
This is great in theory, but it's easy to overdo it with this tactic. A moderate amount of such elements on your site will be effective, but if you use urgency messages too often, users will learn to ignore your messages.
In addition, product limits can be seen as a way to support customers. If stock levels for certain items are low, this will help people know before the stock runs out.

In the same way, information about delivery times can help customers avoid problems with out-of-time goods, especially if goods are expected before holidays, birthdays or New Years.

Restrictions on time and quantity, as a rule, are indicated on the website in the following cases:

  • Low stock levels, limited run or expiration dates.
  • Limited time promotions.
  • Delivery Specials.
  • Product delivery times.



For certain sites, such as "Purchase", time limits form the basis of their business model, given the fact that most offers are limited.
This is how it is reinforced by the information that there is not much time left to take advantage of the offer, and how many people have already bought.


PoCoupon website - marketing limited time offers




Time and quantity limits are a common practice for Hotels.com, as their website shows:
Hotelscom - marketing for hotels, tourism business


The information that there is only one room left will be enough to encourage many users to book faster, while other pop-up messages also motivate customers by notifying how many people are looking for a room on this page.

 Hotelscom - motivation to book a room, online sales for the tourism business



House of Fraser

An example of an online store from House of Fraser in the UK, where information about available shoe sizes tells users that they should hurry up with their purchase. If their size corresponds to those that are left in stock.

This is very useful information that can be categorized as customer support, not just sales techniques.

HouseofFraser - customer support and online store conversion increase


Also, other messages have been added to the site that show how many times this product was bought over the past few days. This information tells customers that they need to make a quick decision before other users buy everything.

HouseofFraser - increase conversion and online sales for clothing and footwear stores



wolf & badger

Information about the availability of goods in the warehouse encourages only those users who see it to purchase. In any case, a message of this kind should stand out from the general background more than shown on this page, you can use at least a different text color, unlike the rest ...

WolfandBadger - motivation to buy on the site



If you choose the size of this shoe, Zappos will provide you with stock availability information.

The information is easy to see next to the add to cart button, and the red color makes it even more visible.

Zappos - the right placement of information and buttons to increase conversions


Secret Sales

The company's business model is based on time-limited stocks, so the use of time-limiting techniques is their preferred technique.

Each product page contains information like this. Not the most eye-catching detail on the page, but that's partly because users expect all items on this site to have a time limit.

SecretSales - website business model with limited-time promotions

In the product cards from the search results, the number of remaining units is indicated. Please note that many sites do not use this information, and this contributes to the fact that messages about restrictions are more credible among users.

SecretSales - chips to increase sales of goods on the site



Time limits can also be used in emails or be part of email marketing.

For example, it is possible to notify people that they only have a few days to take advantage of your offer.

Modcloth - how to use time limited promotions in newsletters and email marketing



Booking.com is an unsurpassed master at using the technique of time and quantity restrictions to increase sales. The company uses many types of information transmission for people when browsing the pages of the site, booking and price offers.

Here we have a limited sale time, hotels that have been booked several times today, a limited offer of the price and number of rooms. Together, these messages tell customers they need to act quickly.

Bookingcom - limited time promotions and pop-ups on the site


Naked Wines

The Naked Wines website has a countdown timer for receiving next day delivery from the time the item is placed in the cart. This provides an extra push for customers who want to get their hands on their favorite wine as quickly as possible.

NakedWines - online marketing to increase sales of alcoholic beverages and products



Gap - too much urgent information?

As mentioned earlier, constraint and urgency techniques can become overused, to the point that clients ignore them. In this case, Gap used this technique five times a week via email.


Of course, some customers may not notice the frequency of these kinds of messages, but those who do will realize that Gap emails are not as urgent as they seem.

Gap - too many calls to action and promotions




Time and quantity limits can be a powerful marketing tactic, but they must be used properly. If you post too many posts on your site about out of stock, limited time sales, etc., it will cause people to stop paying attention to them.


The information should actually be useful to users, letting them know that if they want a product, they need to make a decision faster than they might be used to. Your messages should help customers not to miss the right product.


What examples have you seen on commercial websites?
Or do you have experience using this tactic yourself?
Tell me in the comments...



Translation: SMM specialist of a strategic Internet marketing agency Star Marketing Irma Nanovskaya

Source of materials:10 ways online retailers can use urgency to increase conversions


The practice of limiting time and quantity is based on Cialdini's "Scarcity" principle, learn more about this and other ways to increase conversions:  6 principles of persuasion and their practical application in Internet marketing

About the author - Vadim Steblinsky