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Why You Should Be Using Popups on Your Online Store

Popups suck right? So why do so many of your favorite sites use them? If you don't know, popups are those little annoying boxes that pop up or out at you while you're comfortably reading a site. They are those things that interrupt your shopping or surfing experience and force you to find that little tiny X button to close them. They are annoying and rude and... they work. Really, really well. 

In this post, we're going to tell you why you must implement a popup for your store, the pros and cons of having a popup and the best practices to get the most from it.

Let's pop right into it. 

Popups Work

The purpose of a popup is to provide a very strong call-to-action. This action might be an announcement or sale you want to the visitor to know about, but more often than not, it's to collect email addresses. Test after test has proven that popups work extremely well. In one test, popups drove 1,375% more email captures vs. a sidebar opt-in form. 

In another test, a website was receiving only 10 to 15 subscribers per day despite getting over 44,000 unique visitors each day. After implementing a popup with a 60 second delay, they began receiving 100-150 emails per day.

Why would you want to collect email addresses? 

In a previous post, we talked about how your store is like a bucket of water with a lot of holes in it. You spend time and money to keep filling the bucket with water (visitors) but the majority (99% if you have an average 1% conversion rate) falls out of the holes and are gone, usually forever. This is obviously counter-intuitive to a successful business. Keeping people in the bucket and being able to bring back those that fall out is really important to running a long term successful business. 

By collecting email address of visitors, you get a second and maybe third chance to bring them back and convert them to a customer with effective email marketing campaigns. 

So why email? Why not try to get them to follow on Facebook or Twitter instead? 

If you've followed the Shopfy blog for a while you'll already know the answer to this question. Email converts better than any other channel. In fact, email has an ROI of around 4,300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

That's because your customer's email inbox is their most personal online environment and getting permission to message them there provides you with a level of distraction-free attention for your message that you just can't get on other channels.

The Darkside Of Popups

So with so much compelling evidence that popups work, why isn't everyone using them? Well, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. There are disadvantages to using popups on your site that you should be aware of before making a final decision to use them.

Let's take a look at some of the disadvantages below: 

Disadvantages Of Using Popups

  1. Many visitors, especially those who are familiar with internet technologies, don't like popups. Some people dislike them so much, the will immediately exit a site with a popup.
  2. Some popups, especially those which contain scripts, might slow your page load time down which is a factor in conversions as well as SEO. 
  3. Anything less than the right message at the right time can be annoying and distract visitors from their experience.

Types of Popups

There are several ways to display your popup based on visitor actions. Let's take a look at some of the most popular below: 

  • Timed-Based - This method will show your popup after a predetermined amount of time. A time-based popup can work well if you set it to 60 seconds or greater, as you know at that point you are showing it to someone thats been engaged with your site for a while and more committed. 
  • Content-Based - Content-based popup will only show your popup on specified pages.
  • Scroll-Based - A scroll-based popup will show your popup when a user has scrolled a specific percentage of the way down your page. This is commonly used on blog posts and is similar to the timed method as you are only showing your popup to someone who has engaged with your page a specific amount. 
  • Exit-Intent - An exit-intent popup only shows when a visitor is about to leave your site. Using cursor tracking, the popup app will determine when someone is about to click the back or close button on their browser and show your popup in a last ditch attempt to get an email address or offer a discount before the visitor leaves your site. 
  • Pop-Out - A pop-out is a slightly different version of a popup. Instead of popping up and blocking the visitors surfing experience, it pops out of the side of the browser but still allows the visitor to continue browsing. 
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