Today many businesses are looking for unique and sophisticated methods to attract new clients. This happens because companies are working against tough competition. They are struggling for customer attention and loyalty on a virtual battlefield.

Companies should be aware of what their competitors are doing and keep an ear to the ground in all spheres of their business. This helps to create marketing strategies that take advantage of your competitors’ weaknesses and improve business performance.

The same applies to customers. Businesses should know them inside and out—their preferences, interests, and behaviour—to be able to encourage them to buy. Psychology is the key to understanding your customers and influencing their decisions.

In this article, we will talk about persuasive notifications and their psychological influence on consumers’ desire to buy a product. We will provide reasons why you should integrate persuasive notifications into your eCommerce website.

First, let’s define what persuasive notifications are.

What are Persuasive Notifications?

Persuasive notifications are the messages and information that are delivered from a software application to a device such as a mobile phone or desktop without a specific request from a client. They are based on consumer psychology, using real website data to create notifications that attract visitors’ attention and persuade them to take action.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers

An example of a persuasive notification

How are Persuasive Notifications and Consumer Psychology Connected?

Persuasive notifications in eCommerce are based on two major principles of consumer psychology. These principles are scarcity and urgency.

During your childhood, did you ever participate in a battle for the last piece of dessert? Or, maybe you were indifferent to it when there was plenty, but you suddenly wanted it only after your family member ate it. This is the principle of scarcity at work. We value products that are scarce much higher than those in abundance.

The principle of scarcity was discovered by scientists Worchel, Lee, and Adewole in 1975. It is described in their research as “Effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value”.

You may ask, “why should we focus on old research?”

The answer is clear: their research describes the mechanism of people’s behavior and reactions to different situations which worked 100 years ago and will continue to work far into the future. The human brain still works in the same manner.

This research was carried out with the help of 200 female undergraduates. They needed to rate the value and attractiveness of cookies that were either in abundant or scarce supply. The research showed that cookies in scarce supply were considered more attractive.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers

It’s no wonder that marketing guru Robert Cialdini cites ‘Scarcity’ as one of the six golden persuasion principles in his book “Influence.” When combined with Urgency, which is essentially the other side of the same coin, the two make a potent weapon for increasing eCommerce sales.

Urgency in eCommerce

What are you waiting for? Read about Urgency faster to increase your conversion rate as soon as possible! Hurry up!

Such a simple call to action may encourage your customers to buy the very product you need to sell, but, does it really work and why?

The simple fact is that the longer your customers take to think about a product, the less likely a sale will occur.

When a person has more time to think, he or she will have more time and opportunities for distractions and competing offers thereby delaying the decision-making process and potentially preventing them from buying your product or service.

The research “The Nature of Procrastination” describes situations when people procrastinate and delay decision-making. It tells that the chances of a person coming to a decision decrease in these conditions. To prevent losing the interest of your prospects, you should never underestimate the power of procrastination.

According to behavioural psychology ‘Urgency’ is one of the major triggers that motivate people, to act fast and not delay a purchase. A sense of urgency provides great results in eCommerce. Here is a case study which shows that creating a sense of urgency increased conversions.

Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour launched a Groupon deal for musicians. In the CRO testing, he gave away $1,250 worth of products for just $69 for only 100 hours.

He tried two variants of the deal:

  • The first was conducted with no sense of urgency text.
  • The second was conducted with the urgency text “Time left to download.”

His experiment showed the second variant had 3x higher conversion rate than the first. After implementing the variation to all visitors, conversions increased from 3.5% to 10%. Thus urgency, coupled with the scarcity principle, can make a great difference in your website conversions.

What Are the Benefits of Persuasive Notifications?

With the help of these notifications, you have a lot of new opportunities. Among them are:

1. Highlighting product demand

You may inform your customers that the product they are looking for is in popular demand and that it’s better not to delay purchasing it because “in sometime” may be too late.

Alternatively, some people will buy your product just because it’s in high demand. As marketing guru, Neil Patel says “people will copy others’ actions, assuming it’s the right thing to do”.

You can translate the popularity of a product on a page by adding a pop-up message informing the visitor about how many people are currently viewing the product.

2. Building a highly engaged audience

Let’s look at an example. You have an eCommerce website with visitors, I hope. They are coming and going looking for a product and making a decision on whether to buy it or procrastinate until a later date when they can better afford it.

However, if you add notifications to your pages, they will know if they need to hurry up and purchase a product or if they can just delay the purchase until next year. The next time around visitors will pay more attention to the description of your product.

The principles of scarcity and urgency may catch people’s attention. Well-constructed persuasive notifications tend to attract customers’ attention and encourage them to buy your products.

3. Partially replacing e-mail marketing

With notifications, you do not have to send personalised messages to your customers and clutter their inbox. Additionally, according to statistics, the open rate of marketing emails is very low—16.75%. Personalised notifications on your website will bring you many more reviews.

4. Increasing eCommerce conversion rate

As was written before, scarcity and urgency principles will motivate people to make faster decisions and ultimately buy a product. This influences your website’s conversion rate.

5. Reaching your audience on different platforms

You can reach your audience on both desktop and mobile devices as persuasive notifications work across both desktop and mobile platforms.

How Do Persuasive Notifications Work?

Here are some examples of how eCommerce websites use scarcity and urgency persuasion techniques.

When you are looking for products on eCommerce websites, pay attention to notifications like “only a few left,” “only 2 left in stock” or “limited quantity.”

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers

Source: J. Crew

Scarcity is usually underlined on booking eCommerce websites. For example, on the bestsellers always have a mark, showing how many times the room or apartment was reserved in the last 24 hours.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers


Now for a plug of our own – Convertize offers you one-click installation of our drag-and-drop Smart™ plugin. With its help, you can maximise conversion and increase customer engagement thereby increasing your company’s revenue. You can even try the platform for free for 30 days.

The main distinguishing feature of this SmartPlugin™ is that it is based on consumer behaviour psychology and the theory discovered by scientists Worchel, Lee, and Adewole in 1975.

All you need to do is to install a drag-and-drop SmartPlugin™ powered by an intelligent algorithm. After some simple settings, a pop-up notification will appear at the most natural and suitable time and display the most persuasive messages to your customers. These messages will nudge them to buy more.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers

Such personalization of notifications is possible thanks to the analytics of customer data and behavior on your website. The same simple algorithm pushes the work of a drag-and-drop Urgency SmartPlugin.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers

All notifications are helpful, personal, time-sensitive and relevant.

The Psychology of Persuasive Notifications:  Nudge Browsers into Buyers Benjamin’s bonus tip:
Want To Learn More About Persuasive Notifications?

Read more about Social Proof, Scarcity and Urgency in our blog. And if you’d like to add persuasive notifications to your own site, why not take a free 30 day trial of Convertize.


Persuasive notifications are a powerful tool that can help you increase your conversion rate.

These notifications influence your customers by creating the feeling of a product’s scarcity and urgency. The given psychological principles were described 40 years ago, and they still apply today.

When using such powerful instruments of persuasion, do not go overboard because you can lose customer trust. If you say that there is a lack of a particular product and this product stays on your website for years, you will probably lose clients.

The same thing can occur with urgency. Don’t use the same notifications with the same products for a long period of time. Scarcity and urgency principles imply a short period of time.

Don’t be afraid of testing out different techniques on your website. You will surely find what works best for your eCommerce business!

Smart Persuasion starts here! offers Behavioral Messaging, Personalisation, A/B Testing & Optimization for eCommerce, Travel and Saas websites