Among the many strategies to incentivize impulse sales and increase conversions, there is one that works very well and that you may have seen in some of the most popular online stores. And that is the sense of scarcity.
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How to generate impulse purchases due to a sense of scarcity
Of these strategies, there are several that work very well. One of them is to show the remaining stock so that when they see that it is low they feel the impulse to buy before they run out.
This is very easy to achieve, simply by keeping inventory numbers low and having WooCommerce configured to display a message when stock is low.
There is an additional, even more powerful method to incentivize impulse purchases, and that is to display a message to the visitor stating that “there are x people looking at this product right now“.
This type of ad, if coupled with the sense of lack mentioned above, can increase impulse sales of our most popular products.
When the customer encounters this type of message, if they are really interested in the product, it generates a sense of urgency.
Just imagine that you are booking your vacation accommodation at the last minute, you have found the perfect apartment and you see on the product page that there is only one accommodation available and that there are 20 other people viewing the accommodation at that very moment…
So … how do you add those messages of how many people are viewing the product?
How to display a notice of the number of people viewing a product
WooCommerce does not offer by default a way to show how many visitors are viewing a product, so we have to resort to plugins that fill this gap.
And one that works very well and is totally free is Counter Live Visitors for WooCommerce.
You just have to install and activate the plugin and it will show the visitors that are viewing a product, including the user himself. That is, if you are viewing the product alone, the plugin will tell you that “There is 1 person viewing this product” and, when there is another visitor, it will tell you that there are 2 people viewing it.
But the fun doesn’t end here…
The plugin has a small but more than enough amount of settings, with some very interesting options.
Normal mode, direct mode and fake user mode
First of all, you should know the 3 operating modes of the plugin, with their peculiarities:
- Normal mode – This is the default mode of the plugin as soon as you install it is active, and it will show the number of people viewing the product on each reload of the product page.
- Live mode – Activating the live mode generates requests that will update the display of visitors viewing the product in real time, without having to reload the page. You can configure how many seconds the request will occur and automatically update the display of users viewing the product. This consumes a lot of resources because it generates AJAX requests, on the other hand, it is very powerful to see how the number of visitors viewing the product increases while the customer decides whether to buy it or not. The anxiety is multiplied if there are more and more users viewing the product page.
- Fake user mode – Does your store still have a small number of visitors? With this plugin, you can show a random amount of fake users. Only you will know that they are not real, and the urgency effect on your visitors will be the same. With this mode active you can set the threshold of users to be displayed, for example, between 2 and 30, or whatever you see fit. This value will change automatically every 25 minutes, for a more realistic feeling.
In the following screenshot, you have the settings available for the fake user mode.
But there are more interesting settings, in the administration of your online store, in the menu WooCommerce → Visitor counter, that you should check yes or yes, for a customized experience for your online store.
- Does your site use a caching system? – If you have any caching system active activate this setting and then add
wcvisitorto cache exceptions.
- How often should the number of visitors to product pages be updated? – If you have the live mode active here you can change the default value of the updates (5 seconds) to the value you consider more suitable for your type of visitors and your server resources.
- Duration – With this value (in milliseconds) you set how often a user is considered inactive and should be removed from the counter of people viewing the product.
- Position – Here you can select where the message of how many users are viewing the product will be displayed. The options are as follows:
- After the cart button (default)
- Before the cart button (as it is in my screenshot)
- After the product meta
- Before the product summary text
- After the product summary text (similar to before the add to cart button but a little higher, above the inventory value)
- In the product thumbnail (below the product’s featured image).
[wcvisitor](if you prefer you can use this shortcode wherever you want the message to be displayed, ideal if you use layout designers)
- Icon – By default, the eye icon will be displayed before the user number but you can change it to another one from the Font Awesome library.
- Problems with the icon? – If by default you find that no icon is loaded check this box and the plugin will load the Font Awesome library.
- Message for more than one user / for a single user – In these boxes, you can customize the text to display in the message.
Should I activate the fake user mode?
Given the features and opportunities offered by this fantastic plugin, there is a question that you should consider before using its full potential. Do I activate the fake user mode?
But there is a catch, and it is that this type of techniques are not ethical, not even legal in most countries. Wherever there is consumer protection legislation that penalizes any kind of false information about sales and/or customer reviews you will be breaking the law, as well as lying to your customers.
So, even if you have the option available there, tempting you every time you see it, like pizza fresh out of the oven, avoid it, and better show real users, in normal or live mode.