The aim of every business is to reach a wider audience and make more money. This, however, can be difficult due to competition and other such factors.
Nowadays, businesses use a variety of tactics to attract and entice customers to buy their products and services.
One such tactic is the use of ‘countdown timer’. In this article, we’ll talk about what a countdown timer does, and how you can use it to carve a niche for yourself.
What is a Countdown Timer
A countdown timer can be defined as a virtual clock that counts down from a certain date or number to indicate the end or beginning of an offer or event.
While such timers were typically used on landing pages, they’ve now found their way to checkout pages, as well.
The main purpose of a countdown timer is to create a sense of urgency and give the feeling that “time is running out.”
In addition to this, businesses also use countdown timers to count down to when a special discount or offer will become available. It can be used to generate curiosity and keep people interested and coming back.
Psychology: The Key to Making Countdown Timers Work
According to a survey conducted by Whichtestwon, adding a countdown timer, on the average, increased a business’ revenue by as much as 9%.
The countdown did a simple job, it highlighted the time left for next-day delivery.
It might not sound like a big increase to some people but if you calculate the number of people who visit your site, you will realize what a major difference nine percent can make to your profit.
This isn’t the only test to have highlighted the benefit of using a countdown timer. Another test studied the advantages of using a timer on a website and showed that timers can improve form completion time.
According to the test, a timer, even if not easily noticed, can improve sales. So, what’s the secret behind the effectiveness of countdown timers? The answer, simply, is psychology.
A timer does a simple job – create a sense of urgency. This is very important because urgency related to a number of well-established psychology principles: fear of missing out and scarcity.
A large number of websites use scarcity in one form or another. It’s one of Cialdini’s six principles and can be a great starting point for marketers on how to attract buyers.
The trick is simple – you have to show you’re running out of things. This may sound like a strange plan to some but the fact remains that items that are believed to be in short supply tend to be more desirable than items that are easily available or that are in abundance.
Did you know that even well-established brands utilize the ‘scarcity effect’ to drive sales? Amazon, the world’s most well-known online marketplace, seems to have mastered the art.
An inventory warning with a timer can increase your conversion quickly. In addition to this, there’s another principle that comes into play – the fear of missing out, more popularly known as FoMO.
So, how are timers used to create these effects? According to science, timers can be very powerful triggers for urgency.
They’re specific and better able to attract one’s attention. Vague statements such as ‘limited time offer’ do not always work. Customers are smart. They look for concrete and credible offers. But, this isn’t the only benefit of using a timer on a website.
If you look around on a page, you will find that almost all content is static. The timer, however, isn’t.
Once again, psychology rules here. Our brains are programmed to constantly scan the environment for opportunity and danger. The brain tends to neglect or dismiss scenes that have remained static for a long time.
Something that continues to change rapidly gains our attention.
Benefits of Using Countdown Timers
Now that we know how countdown timers work, let’s have a look at their benefits and why you should use a countdown for your site:
1. It Creates a Sense of Urgency
We explained how timers can be used to create a sense of urgency. This is a reliable way to push shoppers into making faster decisions that may often fall in your favor.
Companies use a variety of tools to create a sense of urgency but few have found the success that countdown timers enjoy as they’re visual and hard to neglect.
2. Highlights a Product
You can use a timer to highlight a special product or service. This can be very useful when it comes to new product launches.
You can search for ‘free countdown timer for my website’ and place it to let people know something new is coming. You will have no difficulty in finding a free countdown timer for your website; however, free tools may not always be reliable.
If you are serious about finding a countdown clock for your website then scroll down and read our section on how to use a timer.
3. Pushes Users to Make a Purchase
Countdown timers can push visitors to make a purchase by using psychological tricks, i.e.: creating a demand.
Users who feel they might not be able to buy something tomorrow will be more likely to purchase it today. In 1975, researchers Adewole, Worchel, and Lee conducted a survey to understand how scarcity impacts perception.
They placed cookies and placed them in two identical glass jars. One jar contained ten cookies while the other one contained only two.
The jars were identical and so were the cookies inside of each, yet the participants showed more interest in going for the jar that contained fewer cookies and rated it higher.
Their decision was influenced by one factor – scarcity.
Where to Use a Countdown Timer
1. In Email Marketing
This might come as a surprise to some, but it is possible to include an email countdown timer. It’s basically an animated GIF that counts down to a specific event or time in the future.
According to this report, a strategically-placed timer can increase conversion by up to 400 percent.
There are several ways to use a countdown timer in emails. The end of the timer can mark the end of an event such as seasonal sales. The example above shows how many days are left for retirement. Such creative timers can be used by companies that offer retirement services.
Here’s another example of email countdown timers. Addison Lee used the timer to advertise a special Daytime Discount. The timer neatly highlights how much time customers have left to claim the deal.
2. On Product Page
The use of countdown timers on product pages has increased in the last few years. Many people look for a countdown timer app Shopify and a reliable Shopify countdown timer to add to their product pages.
Customers who land on a product page are very likely to buy a product but they may not purchase it right away. Offering incentives via countdown timers can be a great way to keep them interested and make them move ahead with a purchase.
The above example shows how Amazon is using a countdown timer to promote a discount. Customers who are looking to buy a Samsung TV would be eager to buy right away because they know they will have to spend $50 more if they decide to purchase tomorrow.
The example above shows another way to use countdown timers on a product page. Unlike the previous example, here we’re trying to push customers to make a purchase by highlighting ‘faster delivery’.
Since delivery times can influence purchase decisions, such timers can be of use.
Lastly, stock timers can be of use as well. A Shopify stock countdown can highlight how many items you have in store.
The purpose is the same, to increase demand. A stock countdown Shopify tool is usually linked to inventory and can highlight how many items are left in demand. However, you might be able to find a Shopify countdown timer app that can fake inventory and create demand for a product by highlighting how very few items are left in store.
3. At the Checkout Page
Many consider this the last attempt to win a customer. This is why the demand for a free countdown timer checkout Shopify has only increased in the last few years.
This trick is used to reduce cart abandonment rates that can be as high as 80 percent.
By putting a little pressure at this stage, you can push your buyer to go ahead and complete the purchase.
4. Website Pages
The best thing about countdown timers is that they can be placed on almost any page. This could be your home, about, or blog pages. However, conversion rates may differ based on factors such as where they’re placed and how they appear.
When you go out to look for a countdown timer for my website, you must be sure about where you intend to place it. A Shopify checkout countdown timer, for example, may not be suitable for the homepage but may do wonders for the product page.
Similarly, a free countdown timer for WordPress might be great for your homepage or other website pages.
5. On Landing Pages
A landing page is basically a squeeze page that’s used to highlight a special offer or to get a visitor’s personal information such as email and name.
The use of countdown timers on landing pages is pretty common. You can use everything from a jquery countdown widget to a Wix website countdown clock based on the software you’ve used to build your site.
If you look around, you will be able to find a free countdown widget for your landing pages. Adoric, for example, offers a countdown timer that can be placed on your site.
How Should Countdown Timers be Used?
Less is more when it comes to countdown timers.
Imagine the horror of seeing ‘only 2 left’ on every product page. Visitors may feel you’re about to go out of business as you have no inventory to sell. This is why it is important to be careful when placing countdown timers.
Never go overboard and make sure to be honest. Urgency has been proven to be effective but you must use it honestly. Otherwise, your customers may feel annoyed.
Timers should contain useful information and be relevant. The purpose of a countdown timer is to make more sales but they should not appear useless. Each timer should add value to your customer.
Customers, for example, may have concerns about special deliveries around Christmas. Countdown timers can help them know more about when they’ll receive goods.
How to Place a Countdown Timer on Your Website?
As mentioned earlier, you can find different ways to add a countdown timer to your website. However, we’ll stick to Adoric for the sake of simplicity as it’s an all-in-one platform and can handle a variety of campaigns and websites.
Here’s how to add a countdown timer on your site with Adoric:
- Go to your campaign
- Go to elements
- Add “Countdown”
- You can change text font & colors on the right panel after clicking on the countdown in the editor.
- Set the countdown settings: You can choose if it will end for every user after an amount of time (i.e.: 2 hours since the user saw this countdown) or to be set to a general time destination (i.e.: until 27.7.20). The tool also gives the option to choose more options such as display time (days, hours, mins, second).
- End date
- Preferred action once the timer ends
Our aim is to provide a countdown timer tool that gives you great customization options so you can get the best results.
Adoric countdown timer can be placed on all pages and email campaigns. We suggest that you pay special attention to the design (text, color, etc.) because these factors can influence the overall result.
There are also several other plugins and tools on the market to add countdown timer for Shopify, WordPress and other platforms including free countdown timer plugins for WordPress and Shopify.
A countdown timer can help your site but you must know when and how to use it. Follow the tips in this article and place a timer on your website to see better results. You can also use A/B testing (offered by Adoric) to see where it works the best.