The U.K. licensee of the Kickers shoe brand, Pentland Brands, wants to make shoppers so concerned about missing out on items on its sites that they feel compelled to make purchases.

One way the brand is creating FOMO is through persistent visual reminders of what people are viewing on Kickers’ site.

When shoppers visit product pages on the Kickers site, online performance specialist Yieldify serves them with a notification that shows how many other people have viewed the same item in the past 24 hours.

This creates an “urgency to purchase,” said Rob Burr, digital commerce manager at Pentland Brands. During the test month in April, the percentage of people who saw the counter next to a product and went on to buy the item versus those who didn’t see the counter reached what the brand deemed a “statistically significant” level, leading it to stop the test and serve the campaign to all the site’s visitors for the next two months. Between April and June, the campaign generated a 17.9 percent conversion rate, enough for Pentland’s marketers to greenlight it for their brands such as Canterbury and Boxfresh in the coming months.

Burr said the tactic was “just the nudge” shoppers need toward making their purchases “without having to offer a discount.” Bringing urgency to the company’s product pages is, as he sees it, a conversion strategy that doesn’t necessarily give away margin. The need to continue that momentum was highlighted in Pentland Brands’ latest financial results, which were buoyed by its relationship with retailers such as JD Sports, deals where the shoe maker’s margins are slimmest.

“We want to attract and develop a loyal customer base that are not only focused on the cheapest price,” Burr said. “It’s challenging because a large part of our business is wholesale, in that customers we sell to range from Amazon to Sports Direct. We have to work much harder in that regard because our margins are being pushed all the time, and so the more tactics like [FOMO] that we can engage in — whether that’s through CRM or social — the better.”

Consequently, the footwear manufacturer has piloted other conversion drivers on the Kickers site in recent months such as free delivery and free gifts instead of discounts. A low-cost free gift can be as effective at driving a conversion as a discount, said the retailer. When visitors attempted to leave the Kickers site in April, they were shown a notification offering free delivery and a free Kickers bag with their purchases. The company said this performed “especially well on mobile,” delivering an 88.3 percent conversion rate during the trial period.

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