Using Urgency to Increase Sales: The Psychology Behind 11-11 Sales

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The popular and huge 11-11 sale, which annually happens on November 11, is one of the biggest sale dates in the world of e-commerce platforms. Millions of products are sold in one day, as 11.11 is also an unofficial Chinese holiday called Single’s day, where unmarried people celebrate the occasion by treating themselves in enormous shopping sprees. It has caught on and celebrated in other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and has now become the biggest online shopping date in the world! 

Just this year,  the online shopping platform Lazada’s revenue increased and broke its own records in terms of the number of buyers and sellers during its 11.11 sale. They have yet to tally the numbers, but it was estimated that the sales and orders have doubled compared to last year.  Since the pandemic started, their sales have also significantly increased  as online shopping for Filipinos has become part of the new norm.

For the rival e-commerce platform Shopee, which also gained huge traction in the Philippines, over 200 million items were sold on 11.11 day alone. There was also a 20x increase in orders in Shopee Mall Philippines, creating a successful impact in the digital economy. 

As consumers, we probably all know how these online sale dates work, they start the deals at 12 midnight on the dot (team no sleep!) and expire at 11:59pm before the day ends, but why is it so effective in persuading us  to buy on the day itself? It pushes customers to buy items they never thought about buying in the first place, garnering a significant increase in sales, even for items that aren’t as popular as before. How is this possible?  Let’s explore why it works, and maybe you could use it to hack your sales too.

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Limited time only offers such as a one day sale  are one of the most common and most powerful ways to use urgency to increase sales. If you want your customers to act now, not later, this is one of the best ways to give them a push. It can also help them spend less time on thinking whether they should buy it or not, since it creates an idea that it may no longer be available in the future. Time-related words such as “now”, “one-time only”, “last chance”, “limited time offer” are useful in creating a sense of urgency. A visual reminder such as a countdown timer can also speed up the purchase, and remind customers when the sale expires. 

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It’s a basic human instinct to secure resources for ourselves. So when we see that a resource is limited or running out, we tend to get ourselves a piece of the pie. The “Fear or Missing Out” or FOMO is a real phenomenon that marketers use to encourage consumers to be part of a trend. Other than telling customers that the offer is urgent, showing that the product on sale has limited stocks drives people to act sooner rather than later to avoid missing out. Show how many units are left (eg. 96/100 items sold) that are on sale will push customers to purchase in the moment when they know it’s about to get sold out.

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Immediately rewarding customers that avail the limited time sale with promos such as free shipping, extra discounts, or “cashback” can make a customer feel like they got more than what they paid for. It can also add a sense of urgency as it also shows time constraints — that rewards are only given when purchased at a certain time limit. It can also be a great way to get repeat customers, as people would love to use their rewards for their future purchases.

There are various ways of using urgency, scarcity, and rewards to increase your sales, but putting them all together is why these one-day sales are a huge success in the market! Even if you only experiment with one of these tricks, there’s a great chance that you’ll increase your sales to the next level.

So don’t wait, plan your promotions now so you can hop on the 12-12 bandwagon!

Interested in learning more about marketing for your business? Our team of experts can give you the help you need in using Facebook Ads to boost your sales for 12-12! Just get in touch with us to get a FREE assessment! 

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