Popup Strategies and Best Practices For eTailers

popup-strategiesPopups are annoying, right? Sometimes. Okay, usually they are annoying.

Popups don’t work, right? Wrong.

Popups work. They usually work very well. (See my 2012 post on testing opt-in email popups.)

Why are marketers across the Internet suddenly so interested in popups when before everyone thought users hated popups? Technology, coupled with etailers using popups in more strategic ways, have led to more and more ecommerce conversions and sales.

Take for instance, Nikky from Etsy shop, Nikky in Stitches. She installed a popup to capture email addresses, and she saw a subscription rate of 5.5%. She found that an entry popup with a timed delay of 2 seconds led to an incredible 1,375% increase in email subscriptions.

Now that we’ve made our case for the use of popup strategies, let’s talk more about them. In this post, you’ll learn about popup strategies and best practices for eTailers.

Live Chat Popups

Live chat popups add a personal touch to your ecommerce website. One of the best things you can do for your customers is to meet their needs before, during and after they’ve made a purchase.

What’s more, if you’re meeting the needs of your current customers, you’re surely on your way to meeting the needs of potential customers.

Live chat is one way to do this. Adding live chat to your website allows customers to chat with you in real time, ask questions and get advice as they ponder their purchase. In the process, you’re building their confidence and earning their trust. These are two valuable characteristics.

Let’s talk about some best practices for live chat and why it works so well.

  1. Help your customers and meet their needs while they’re on your site. Providing live chat keeps them there so they don’t have to search you out by email or phone. By offering speedy, available service, you’ll build strong relationships. Prompt service is vital, though. So, before launching live chat, make sure you can provide it swiftly.
  2. By providing instant access and advice, you’ll find that your average order values increase. When you provide live chat, you also decrease the return rate since customers are more able to find the product or service they need. You also increase their brand loyalty. According to a recent live chat report, “62% reported they’d likely purchase from the site again. A further 38% of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself. All these attitudes were even more prevalent among respondents who bought online at least weekly.”
  3. Live chat can increase your sales. An emarketer.com report found that online buyers who had used live chat were more likely to make online purchases at least once a week (40%) than buyers who had never chatted (22%). Respondents who hadn’t used live chat were likely to be infrequent online buyers, with 36% making a purchase less than once per month compared with 18% of chatters.
  4. By having someone immediately available to walk them through a sale, live chat reduces the number of website bounces. It also helps ensure that your site’s full shopping carts make it all the way through to purchase completion.

Email Popups

When using email popups on your website, (you should!) we’ve got some best practices for you. Following these will help increase your conversions.

But first, what’s an email popup? That’s when you’re about to leave site, or sometimes when you first arrive, and you’re met with a popup box promising you something for handing over your highly valued email address.

The best popups offer something of value, something tangible. They tell you exactly what you’re getting and when you can expect it.

Exit-intent popups are helpful because they give you one last chance to get the customer’s business. With the new technology today, these aren’t even blocked by popup blockers anymore. These popups are less annoying then popups that jump out at your website visitors all through your website.

Exit-intent popups are a more customer friendly approach than ones dropped throughout your website.

Offer a hook, or an incentive to sign up for your email list, and you’ll also increase your conversion rate. Promise and deliver a free white paper, video or discount coupon.

Consider Mama’s Lebanese kitchen, a recipe blog. They implemented an opt-in popup in September. By the end of October, they had gone from 1 subscriber a day to 10 subscribers per day.

Survey Popups

Implement them properly, and pop up surveys can be an effective way to gather feedback for your website. Let’s look at some best practices for survey popups:

  • Delay the survey. Don’t offer it as soon as your customer lands on your site. If you do, they’ll probably ignore it, and they might even navigate away. Wait about a minute, and they’ll have had time to do some browsing and have some feedback to offer.
  • Keep your survey short and be up front as to its purpose. Surveys can increase customer loyalty, but done poorly, they will be ignored.
  • Test your surveys. Make sure they make sense and are easy to complete.
  • Offer your customer something in return. A discount is a great reward for your customer taking the time to complete your survey.

Forgotten Item in Cart Popups

We talked a bit about exit-intent popups. One of the most common uses is as an email lead generator. The other use of the exit-intent popup is shopping cart recovery.

With shopping cart abandonment rates topping between 65-80%, it costs online retailers more than $18 billion a year. So, it’s time to reduce those rates.

Most businesses send email reminders to visitors who’ve left something in their carts. The problem with this is that not everyone registers and leaves an email address. So, these online retailers are losing a significant amount of potential customers.

Enter the real-time abandonment offer. This occurs in the form of a popup that encourages your customer to revisit their shopping cart by offering them a discount. According to a study, real-time abandonment popup windows lead to four times more sales than recovery emails.

This popup offers an immediate gratification to the customer and keeps them on your site. Incentives work. Offer a discount, free shipping or a gift. Do some testing to learn what works best.

In Conclusion

Leverage popups on your ecommerce site, and you’ll likely increase your sales. Decide on your goals, set up some popups, test and test again. Once you see what works for your site and your customers, set the ball rolling.

In all cases, offer popups at the right time. They work better when they make sense when offered. For example, don’t offer a survey upon arrival.

Be urgent in your offerings, and make sure you follow through quickly and efficiently.

Have you tried any popup strategies on your ecommerce site? What worked? Do you have a success story? How about tips on what didn’t work? Please feel free to share them here!

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2 thoughts on “Popup Strategies and Best Practices For eTailers

  1. Interesting post, any idea what the demographics are for those who opt in via popup? I know I usually find them annoying but Im wondering if there is a trend between the people who find value in them.

    1. Great question. From past experience and on sites that we’ve worked on where we are able to determine demo (sex, socio econ etc) we’ve seen a wide array of results. And haven’t seen any pattern suggest that there is a demo that will not use popups. I wish I had case study data to share, but do not.

      Thanks for the great question!

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