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How to Capture & Nurture Early Purchase Intent Using Triggered Pop-ups

Posted by: Mike Arsenault on April 03, 2013

How to Capture & Nurture Early Purchase Intent Using Triggered Pop-ups

It’s now a fact of life that retailers use triggered pop-ups to engage with customers before they purchase. Intrusive? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely. When used carefully, triggered pop-ups can undoubtedly drive conversion for your e-commerce business. Here’s why:

As margins shrink and competition in every e-commerce niche intensifies, the argument for capturing more micro-conversions earlier in the funnel starts to make a lot of sense . The theory being that the more purchase intent you can capture at the top of the funnel, the more anonymous website visitors you can nurture into loyal customers.

On any given day, retailers can’t identify 95% of their website visitors because they leave before engaging with anything on the site. Encouraging pre-purchase opt-ins gives retailers the opportunity to start a conversation with customers that they probably never would have known existed before.

Do pop-ups really work?

The short-answer is, yes. But, you need to make sure that your pop-up strategy fits in with your overall brand proposition. The golden rule is not to annoy your customers. Here’s how to avoid that:

Pop-ups have been around since the dawn of the internet, when aggressive internet marketers used them to try and entice people to click on more banner ads. When retailers started to focus more on customer experience, pop-ups disappeared from service for a while.

With the advent of more sophisticated behavioral marketing techniques, pop-ups are now back in style. The shift is largely due to the fact that browser technology has progressed to the point where third-party applications can garner sophisticated data about a user’s session, in real-time. This has given retailers the ability to develop complex sets of rules & conditions for when a pop-up should intervene in a customer’s session, to minimize the interruption it causes.

Best practices

  • Trigger on signs of engagement. Your pop-up is going to see far better conversion if combined with some sort of engagement trigger showing a customer is interested in your offering. Examples of triggered behaviors could be making it into the checkout funnel or spending a set amount of time on a specific page. The point here is not to blast every visitor with your pop-up, but to selectively fire it for customers who are showing signs of engagement.

 

  • Experiment with exit pop-ups. Let’s face it. The pop-ups that jump off the screen when you try to “X” out of a window can be intrusive. But as a retailer, you don’t have anything to lose by trying to engage with a customer who was going to leave anyway. As a retailer, you’ve got an opportunity to instill a sense of urgency relative to the purchase you’re trying to convert. Ticketmaster has used this tactic for years to drive conversion on ticket purchases. This example from Capitol Lighting shows a pop-up that fires when customers make a mouse movement that suggests they are going to abandon checkout: 

  • Test your creative. Since your pop-up only has a few different elements (headline, offer, CTA), it’s important to test each one to see which creative drives the most micro-conversions for you. This case study performed by Conversion Voodoo outlines some solid best practices and ideas for testing. In their test, the two headlines that performed best were clear about what the customer would receive after opting-in, and used both specificity (7 ways...) and urgency (Limited time offer) in the headline.
  • Make an offer. Why would the customer want to start a relationship with your business? Think about what you can exchange with a customer in order to entice them to opt-in to your pop-up campaign. Consider offering a discount on shipping or a nominal dollar amount off their next purchase. Then deliver a branded email after the fact to present them with your discount. This example from Make.com clearly offers a discount for first-time buyers:

  • Remarket to prospects. Winning an immediate sale using an offer is a great outcome for a campaign like this. However, there are still going to be some customers who aren’t quite ready to buy yet. This is where you’ll need an intelligent remarketing campaign in place that is designed to continue the conversation. Scheduled remarketing emails are designed to “drip” engaging pieces of content to prospects at various intervals post-abandon.
  • Don’t overdo it. Build out the ability to suppress the pop-up based on customer behavior. For example, once a customer has closed the pop-up, keep it closed for the remainder of their session. You may even consider suppressing the pop-up for a longer period of time after its been closed once. Remember the golden rule: Don’t annoy.

Real-World Case Study

Autoplicity, an online auto parts retailer, just launched a pop-up campaign on their site. The conditions of their campaign were to fire the pop-up if a customer spent more than 10 seconds on a designated page. As of the writing of this post, this campaign had been running for 7 full days. Here are some early metrics:

  • 1129 opt-ins
  • 2.1% visitor -> opt-in conversion rate
  • 11.9% offer conversion rate (people who used the offer immediately)


 

Solution Providers

Though it’s not terribly difficulty to code up one of these pop-ups, there are SaaS providers out there that give you more control in terms of how your users are segmented. Here are a couple of examples of products that specialize in helping you build rules-based pop-ups.

Takeaways

  • Email capture pop-ups can be a great way to build your email list and re-engage with customers who would have abandoned your site anyway.
  • Make sure you have a suppression feature in place as to not annoy repeat visitors.
  • For customers who don’t convert immediately, use an email remarketing campaign to nurture.
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About the Author

Mike Arsenault is the Co-founder & CEO of Rejoiner , an email remarketing company that works exclusively with online retailers to turn abandoned carts into sales. Follow him on Twitter @mikearsenault.

 

Discussion

JonathanGriffin January 18 2014

I recently did a test with triggered popups in order to gain more email subscribers, with a comparison against a sidebar sign-up form.  The difference is significant.

We are going to try some specific campaigns for different pages.  Do you have any recommended WordPress plugins for this?  At the moment the plugin I use cannot do different pop-ups for different pages.

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