Ecommerce website pop-ups done wrong are not just annoying — they’re a guaranteed way to lose customers.
We’ve all been there: you land on an ecommerce site only to be bombarded with an irritating, ugly pop-up that covers the whole page, won’t go away, makes browsing slower, and annoys you enough to leave the site.
But pop-ups and webforms done right can be a fantastic marketing tool to capture leads and lower your website bounce rate. Lead conversion rates can be as high as 9.28% for a fantastic pop-up, according to a study by Sumo. That may seem low but is much higher than other on-site form conversions. In one test, pop-ups drove 1,375% more email captures than a sidebar opt-in form.
And while pop-ups are an effective way to capture email addresses and add to your email marketing list, you have to be thoughtful about how you execute them. There are good pop-ups, and terrible pop-ups — and you want to fall into the former category.
You also have to think strategically about what you want to achieve with your pop-ups, and what you’re giving away. Many B2C companies offer discounts immediately in exchange for an email address, and that’s not always the best tactic. Learn how to use ecommerce pop-ups without devaluing your product, without annoying your website visitors, and while actually getting buyers excited to opt in.
Ecommerce pop-up best practices
If you’re looking to add a pop-up to your website, don’t just add a basic one to your homepage and call it a day. First, consider what you’re trying to accomplish with the pop-up. There are several different types you can use which each have a different purpose and serve different points in the buying journey. These include:
- Click-activated pop-ups: Show up when a user clicks on the site
- Timed pop-ups: Appear after a set amount of time
- Scroll pop-ups: Seen as you scroll a certain percentage down the page
- Entry pop-ups: Visible as soon as you hit a site
- Exit intent pop-ups: Show up as a buyer moves their mouse up and to the right to leave the page
You need to match the type of pop-up you’re using with both the user intent and the offer you’re making to buyers. For example, you might choose to use an exit intent pop-up to share exclusive access to a members-only sale if you’re trying to win back lapsed customers. Or match a timed pop-up with an email newsletter sign up if you’re trying to collect leads without bothering the buyer too much as they browse. Or try an entry pop-up if you have a website that requires a membership before you can browse or buy at all. Of all the types of pop-ups, the entry pop-up should be used sparingly — if at all. It can be especially intrusive for buyers and doesn’t often make for a great customer experience.
You also have to think about whether the pop-up covers the entire page, or is less intrusive and in a corner or on the top bar. The tradeoff with location is the more aggressive and full-page pop-ups tend to have higher conversion rates, but they can also annoy your buyers. You should test both for your brand to see whether your customers respond positively or negatively to a full page vs. a smaller pop-up.
But no matter which pop-up format or design you use, you need to make sure to follow some basic best practices. Every pop-up must be:
- User-friendly: Has a clear and simple message with one obvious CTA
- Optimized: Doesn’t slow down your page speed or impact SEO negatively
- Easy to close: Has a clear “x” to click out of the pop-up
- On-brand: Matches your brand and tone of voice
Personalize your pop-ups
The most effective pop-ups aren’t the same for every single person who visits your site. In fact, on-site personalization is key to getting the highest possible conversion rates. If a buyer is signed in or if you’re using identity resolution technology, you can personalize the pop up based on the buyer’s past purchase history, their browsing history, and more.
Even without that data, you can personalize pop-ups. For example, you can create specific pop-ups that only appear on Product Detail Pages (PDPs) with an offer that is related to the product the buyer is currently looking at. If they’re unsure about the purchase, a personalized pop-up could push them to buy right away. By adding a custom element to each pop-up, the message is more likely to resonate with the buyer and drive an action.
Pro Tip: Don’t go straight for the discount for every pop-up message. If it’s a loyal customer or a former customer who hasn’t bought anything in a while, a discount can work wonders to drive the sale. Unfortunately, far too many brands have an immediate discount pop-up for new buyers as soon as they hit a site. This can quickly devalue your brand’s products and push your buyers to always expect a discount. There are many more creative and personalized ways to get buyers to opt-in before you give away revenue.
Brands with awesome pop-ups
A lot of companies are doing pop-ups really badly (we’re looking at you Banana Republic, with your in-your-face 25% discount pop up). But other companies are killing it with interesting offers, great copy, and beautiful creative. If you’re about to build your own pop-up, here’s some inspiration from top brands.
Big Baller Brand
Athletic apparel company Big Baller Brand uses a timed pop-up to entice readers into signing up for its email list. The pros of this pop-up are that it’s a simple, straightforward message that gets right to the point and is easy to close. It’s a risky strategy, though, if you don’t know the brand or haven’t been on the site much before. It’s assuming that visitors know what they’re getting when they sign up for the newsletter.
Quirky clothing brand Unif positions its entry pop up right at the bottom of a page so that it’s not too intrusive and the customer can continue browsing without having to take immediate action. The pop up doesn’t spoil the design of their homepage, yet the vivid purple color makes it stand out enough so that it’s noticeable.
The pop up also offers more than just a newsletter sign up — it promises the customer that they will receive emails with secret sales and special events. It’s enticing customers to buy by giving them something more tangible than a newsletter, but it’s still not giving an immediate discount either.
Cowboy boot retailer Tecovas also uses a pop-up along the bottom of the screen that users can click on when they are ready, rather than forcing customers to click on or dismiss it immediately. Tecovas also uses a two-step process. At first, the pop-up appears in the form of a question. Once the site visitor has answered the question, then a newsletter capture pop up appears. Tecovas also promises exclusive access to product launches and updates for newsletter subscribers.
Tower Paddle Boards
Tower Paddle Boards offers customers the chance to win one of their boards if they submit their email addresses with this entry pop-up. And they offer an incentive to stay subscribed to their newsletter and updates because winners are drawn monthly. It’s not giving a discount or devaluing the product, instead, it’s appealing more to high-quality leads who want to own one of their surfboards.
These are just a few good examples, and there are many more out there. No matter what type of pop-up you use for your ecommerce brand, make sure you track the results closely to ensure it’s not causing you to increase bounce rate.
And as with everything in marketing, A/B test it all –– from the wording, to the design, to any imagery you use, as well as the reason you ask people to enter their email addresses, whether it be a basic newsletter sign up, access to special offers, or even entering a competition. With even a small increase in conversion rate in your ecommerce website pop-ups, you’ll see some serious results for your B2C business.