While you may have lots of ideas for running high-converting promotions, making changes to your online store to implement said promotions can be time-consuming and tricky depending on your shop setup.
Lucky, you can quickly and easily create targeted popup promotions that spur sales directly, or nurture relationships with prospects until they’re eager and ready to buy, increasing your sales and order values.
Let’s take a look at nine powerful popup ideas that you can get up and running today to boost your business’s bottom line. But first…
What Makes an Effective Popup Promotion?
Not all popups are created equal. (We’re not the first to point this out—a recent study revealed that popups triggered in context convert 40% better than popups without.)
To create truly contextual popups, you should keep these three principles in mind:
- Be targeted. Target your popup to appear based on who your prospects are, where they are, and what they’re doing. This will help your message appear for and appeal to the right people, like visitors on a specific page, in a specific location, or from a specific referral source.
- Be generous. One of the best ways to get your prospects to take action is to make them an offer they can’t refuse. (Cue The Godfather theme.) For example, you can sweeten your popup promotion with a discount, free shipping, or even the opportunity to subscribe for relevant, valuable content.
- Be friendly. When you’re writing your message, you want to convey it in as few words as possible. But this is also your chance to build rapport with your potential customers. Choose warm and inviting words that showcase your brand’s personality. You can even make things personal (and increase message match) by populating your popup with your visitor’s first name or the search terms they used to find your offer.
9 Popup Ideas You’ll Want to Steal (and Make Your Own)
Now, on to the good stuff. As promised, here are nine powerful popup ideas you can set up quickly on your own ecommerce site.
1. Increase first-time purchases with an upfront offer
You know how the saying goes: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well, in ecommerce, you never get a second chance to spark a relationship with a new prospect and get that first sale. The good news is that you can greatly increase your likelihood of converting by implementing a first-time purchase popup.
This means that when a new visitor lands on your website, you’ll offer them an incentive (like a discount) to buy their first item. This can have a domino effect, where people who purchase once are more likely to purchase again and become long-term customers.
One of my favorite examples is from clothing brand Chubbies:
The popup is eye-catching and straight to the point. The tone is also warm, fun, and playful. Language like “give it a whirl” and “because a weekend is a terrible thing to waste” showcase the brand’s quirky nature. Most importantly, new customers can immediately see the value they’ll get by signing up: $10 off their first order.
Tips for creating your first-time purchase popup:
- Give new visitors a little time to get grounded and start browsing your website before triggering the popup. We recommend a 5- to 10-second delay.
- Offer an incentive for new visitors to stick around and buy their first item. That could be a discount, free shipping, a small gift, or anything else you think will resonate.
- When it comes to writing copy, keep your tone warm, inviting, and on-brand, but also get to the point fast. If your copy is too long, your visitors will get distracted and bounce. (Cat gif, anyone?)
2. Boost cross-sell purchases with a related product recommendation
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, attributes 35% of its revenue to cross-selling. If it works for Amazon, you’d better believe it can work for you, too.
By implementing a cross-sell popup, you encourage customers to add relevant items to their cart. This helps folks find related products they’ll love and bumps your average order value. Of course, your cross-sell popup will work best when it’s something customers genuinely want or need to pair with the product they’re about to buy.
Amazon does this really well. For example, if someone adds a tablet case to their cart, Amazon recommends an SD card that provides extra memory for tablets (shown below). Granted, it’s not the prettiest popup in the world, but it’s still a great example of how you can recommend products that are super relevant to your prospects’ purchase intent.
Or check out this creative idea, again from Chubbies:
When customers add an item to their cart, a popup-like slider appears on the right side, offering a chance to unlock a free gift when they spend $99. Then, they recommend a series of t-shirts that would look good with that piece of clothing.
They’re playing with that element of intrigue, too. If you’re naturally curious (like I am), you’re going to want to buy another product just to see what surprise gift is in store.
Tips for creating your cross-sell popup:
- When prospects add an item to their cart or scroll down to look for product details, they’re showing an intent to buy. That’s the perfect time to trigger this type of popup to appear.
- Recommend an add-on product related to the one your prospect is looking at. If you’re not sure which products pair well, take a look at your analytics or talk to some of your customers.
- Offer prospects a gift or discount if they buy products as a bundle.
3. Get visitors’ email addresses before they leave
The harsh reality is that, for most ecommerce sites, many first-time shoppers will browse, leave, and never come back. Ouch.
Thankfully, you can create an exit-intent popup to re-engage visitors who show signs that they’re about to leave. When done right (think more value-focused, rather than breakup-sad), this can help you reduce your website abandonment rate and capture more email subscribers—then you can nurture them and keep them warm until they’re ready to buy.
This is a great example from hannahpad:
The casual “leaving already?” is enough to grab the visitor’s attention. That’s quickly followed up with a snappy, lighthearted description of why they should stay. That $10 discount coupon does sound appealing, huh?
Tips for creating your exit-intent popup:
- If a prospect is looking for the exit sign (i.e., hovering over the exit button or opening a new tab), they’re in danger of leaving. There’s no better time to trigger this popup and keep them on your website.
- Have you heard of the concept of reciprocity? By offering your prospects something valuable first (like a discount or gift), they’ll be more likely to return the favor by handing over their email address.
- Keep your copy fun and lighthearted. Lots of ecommerce companies beg or plead for their customers to stay. It’s far more effective to give them a reason to stay.
4. Upsell customers with additional products or a high-value version
There’s no better feeling than when a prospect is at your checkout, about to buy a product they’ll love. But what if you could get more value from the sale and help potential customers find the right product at the same time? That’d be much sweeter, right?
You can create an upsell popup that shows prospects an alternative (more expensive, higher-quality) product before they buy. Or you can even prompt them to buy more of the same product.
How cool is this idea from personal grooming company Dollar Shave Club?
When a prospect adds a product to their cart, this popup poses a simple question: “How many do you need?” It makes the prospect think twice. Maybe they were about to buy one hair gel product, but realize they could benefit from three. (You know, just in case they’re having a bad hair… year.)
This example also shows that you don’t always need to offer a discount to spark action. By getting a little creative and thinking outside the box, you can create genuine enthusiasm and I-simply-must-have-this desire.
Tips for creating your upsell popup:
- Just like in real life, when a prospect adds an item to their shopping bag or looks at a particular product for a while, they’re showing intent to buy. That’s the ideal time to trigger this popup—right before the purchase.
- Recommend a high-tier version of the product your customer is looking at, or ask how many they’d like to buy (like in the Dollar Shave Club example above).
- Adding an extra incentive, like a discount, will increase your upsell revenue. At the very least, you’ll have some very happy customers who’ll rave about their purchase.
5. Reduce abandoned carts with a well-timed incentive
The average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores in 2019 is 69.5% across all industries. Reducing cart abandonment is one of the toughest jobs you’ll face as an ecomm marketer. We feel you.
Thankfully, you can trigger an abandoned cart popup to recapture visitors who are just about to leave by incentivizing them to complete their purchase.
Check out this example from Kate Spade:
This popup appears when a prospect indicates that they’re about to leave. It highlights that the prospect qualifies for two-day free shipping and free returns—important details they might’ve otherwise missed.
Giving potential customers the option to leave their email address is particularly clever. Armed with that, Kate Spade can send follow-up messages and reignite prospect interest in their abandoned purchase.
Tips for creating your abandoned cart popup:
- Trigger this popup to appear on exit, when a visitor indicates they’re about to leave their cart. This could be when they move their cursor over the exit button, or when they hover over the navigation to another part of your website.
- Offer or highlight an incentive for completing their purchase, like free shipping or a discount coupon.
- If the offer is temporary, consider adding a countdown timer to convey a sense of urgency. This works especially well for limited sale items or additional incentives, like a free gift.
6. Encourage sales with a time-limited offer
Holidays like Christmas, Black Friday, and New Year’s Eve bring peaks in website traffic, especially for ecommerce stores. This provides the ideal opportunity for ecomm marketers to capture more sales with timely, targeted offers.
Check out the example from mattress company Leesa below. The clear, concise, and straight-to-the-point language (“$130 off a Leesa mattress”) makes the offer hard to miss. Plus, the “expiring soon” text—coupled with a timer—generates urgency for the prospect to act soon or risk losing out.
You can create a time-limited offer popup to showcase a sale, creating a sense of excitement and urgency for prospects. This type of promotion will help you boost sales within a specific time period. Talk about a win-win.
Tips for creating your time-limited offer popup:
- If your offer won’t appeal to everyone, target your popup to appear on a relevant product page or category during your limited offer time period.
- Leave a slight delay (about 5 to 10 seconds) before triggering your popup to give people a chance to orient themselves first.
- Highlight your offer upfront, simply and clearly. For extra impact, show a photo of the item that’s up for grabs.
- Add a countdown timer to create urgency and prompt prospects to act now.
- Keep it ethical. Don’t mislead prospects about the amount of time the offer is available for just to elicit panic purchases. Remember, the keys to building long-lasting relationships with customers are honesty and transparency.
7. Capture newsletter subscribers with a fun, value-packed popup
Some browsers aren’t ready to buy just yet, but they still want to stay up-to-date with your brand. By reaching out to them while they’re engaging with your content, you have the chance to capture them as newsletter subscribers. That way, you’ll be top of mind as soon as they’re ready to buy.
This Poo-Pourri newsletter subscriber popup (or should I say poopup?) is genius. It’s fun, relevant, and super funny.
From the shape of the popup to the headline (“Join the Potty”), everything is perfectly on-brand. However, the best thing is how the intriguing description pulls the reader in: “Sign up for our newsletter to get the scoop on new products and (super secret) sales.” Who wouldn’t want access to super secret sales?!
Tips for creating your newsletter subscriber popup:
- When someone scrolls through a certain percentage of a relevant page (like a blog post), it’s safe to say they’re interested in your content. This is a great opportunity to reach out and offer them more content (like your value-packed newsletter). Ensure what you offer is connected to what they’re currently viewing—in this case, consuming more rad content they clearly like, maybe of the exact topic they’re interested in vs. something very broad.
- Make the value you’re offering extremely clear. Offer an incentive, like a coupon code or the chance to access exclusive offers.
- Ensure the subscriber understands what they’re signing up for, whether it’s your latest tips, blog posts, or industry news.
8. Capture high-intent email subscribers with an exclusive content offer
If a prospect is viewing a specific product page for a long period of time, they might need a little nudge to get them to buy. This is particularly true for very high-value products, like engagement rings.
Reach these prospects with an exclusive content popup that promises to help them make a decision with a guide or ebook. Then, once they hand over their email, a member of your sales team can follow up to help answer additional questions (and possibly close the sale).
Along these lines, this popup from Long’s Jewelers is genius:
It appears after a prospect has been viewing an engagement ring for a while and appeals to the “rookie” buyer (likely a significant chunk of their business). The copy is fun and casual, and it speaks to the reader’s pain points. The image even reveals a sneak peek into the content, which is sure to stir up some level of curiosity.
Tips for creating your exclusive content popup:
- If your prospect has been viewing a high-value product page for a significant amount of time, they might need more information. This is the best time to reach out with a popup that proactively answers their questions.
- Offer a guide or ebook related to the product in exchange for their email address, which’ll let you follow up with them later.
- Be sure to provide a sneak peek to intrigue prospects and encourage them to take you up on the offer.
9. Remind prospects about deals so they don’t miss out
The internet has robbed us all of our attention spans. (Cat gifs, remember?) Just because a prospect has been eyeing up a specific sale item doesn’t mean they’ll remember to actually buy it.
The good news is that you can increase the chance of that prospect remembering a deal by prompting them to add a reminder to their calendar.
This is the premise behind one of Unbounce’s flexible popup templates: the calendar reminder popup. The popup works well because the design is simple and eye-catching while the copy is casual, friendly, and focused on helping the prospect. All you have to do is tweak the imagery, targeting, and copy to suit your ecommerce site and offer.
Tips for creating your calendar reminder popup:
- When a prospect looks at a specific deal for some time, they’re probably considering a purchase. Help them out by giving them an opportunity to set a reminder and make their purchasing decision later (before the offer ends).
- Remind prospects that the offer won’t last forever. If your deal is due to expire soon, consider highlighting the expiry date in your popup.
- Focus your language on what’s in it for the prospect—not what’s in it for you. Play into their worry of missing out.
Test and Iterate Your Popup Ideas
Your popups are living, breathing entities on your ecommerce site. When done right, they have the power to significantly boost your business’s bottom line. So, make sure to review them and see how they’re performing regularly.
If a popup isn’t doing as well as you’d expect, why not A/B test it? You’ll soon spot trends in what works best (and what doesn’t). Armed with this knowledge, you can tweak your popups to take them (and your creative reputation) to the next level.