People usually find popups to be annoying. As a matter of fact, the Nielsen Norman Group survey reported that they are the most despised form of advertising today.
This is mostly because most popups are ineffective, bad, and truly annoying.
In reality, when people say they hate popups, what they actually mean is they hate bad popups.
But while their likability may be a matter of debate, their efficacy is not.
If you are a founder of a Shopify store, popups are a tool that you can’t afford to ignore.
We’re covering the 18 Shopify popup best practices that can help you to get the most checkouts. Period. .
1) Right place , Right time
Think of your Shopify email popup as a sales call.
Here timing is everything.
If you interrupt your potential client at a bad moment your chances of conversion become nil.
When it comes to popups there are two different timings that we refer to:
- Real-time (measured in time elapsed)
- Time relative to an individual visitor and their actions (scroll depth, pages visited, mouse movement, etc.)
In determining the timing of the popup, there is a tradeoff between visibility and engagement.
The longer you take to display that Shopify email popup, the smaller its audience size becomes.
Studies have shown the optimal time for a popup is around 50-60% of their average time on page or 50-60% mark in terms of the page scroll.
Yet, most ecommerce stores display popup as soon as a user lands on their website and most of them only display one type of popup.
How to make your popups less intrusive:
- Instead of using entry popups or welcome popups that are displayed as soon as visitors land on your Shopify store page, use timed popups or interaction-based popups.
- Use interaction-based popups to create custom experiences based on the visitor’s behavior. They enable you to use contextual targeting. Shopify lets you customize popups based on cart value, product category, sold-out items, etc. Use this to up-sell, cross-sell and reduce dropouts.
- Exit-intent popups are the most important weapon in your popup arsenal. They can help you reduce bounce rates and cart abandonment rates. A good Shopify exit popup contains the right incentive that can convert a leaving customer. WordStream was able to reduce their bounce rate from 69% to a mere 40% using the right exit-intent popups.
Here's a great example of an exit-intent popup by GlobeIn. It prompts purchase and offers an incentive to do so.
2) Keep the navigation minimal
Even if you get your Shopify popups timed perfectly, they can still be seen as an intrusive part of the user’s journey. You want to minimize this intrusion as much as possible.
Avoid taking them to another page and minimize the decision process.
If you need to collect more information, you can use a multistep Shopify popup form with multiple choices instead of a separate survey page.
Multistep popups use a series of consecutive popups to collect more user information. Research has shown that popups with a second step see a staggering 76% of its subscribers input more details.
Below is a great example of a Shopify popup form by Helinox. It mostly uses radio buttons and has an optional comment box.
3) Don’t ask for too much information
One of the major reasons popups fail is that they ask for too much information from new visitors. It can annoy them.
A name and email address are enough for your Shopify email popups or gated content popups.
You can get up to a 25% conversion rate by using only 3 fields, two is even better. Go above 3 fields and the fall is steep.
Here’s a great example of Shopify email popups, Grenco Science allows visitors multiple options to subscribe to their newsletter and throws in an added incentive.
4) Write a copy that evokes emotions
There’s a popular quote that people might forget what you said or did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
Your Shopify popups can be a functional piece of communication or they can be used to evoke a feeling.
Emotion and language depend upon the purpose of the popup. Humor, wit, and feeling can go a long way to make your brand memorable and drive conversion.
This popup by Long’s is a perfect example of well-written Shopify popups. It has a catchy headline and a knowledge-driven incentive to sign up.
5) Follow a minimalistic design
A popup is like a toll booth on a highway. Nobody wants to spend more time than they have to.
A good popup minimizes time, by asking for only essential information and providing an incentive strong enough that the visitor doesn’t have to think twice about his decision.
The fundamentals of a good popup are:
- A catchy headline to grab attention.
- A line or two describing the incentives and instructions.
- A single, clear call to action button or bar that is contained within the popup itself.
For a Shopify popup form, use checkboxes and multiple-choice questions instead of expecting visitors to input text. For Shopify exit popup and email popups, the call to action has to be a single action. There can be no scope for confusion.
In a few seconds, the visitor can read>decide>act and boom!
Here’s a great example of Shopify email popups from Alpine Labs. They sell photo accessories. The headline is catchy and immediately relatable.
6) Always think mobile-first
Online retail is dominated by mobile purchases and research shows that 85% of abandoned carts come from mobile.
So it's no secret that you need to optimize your popups for mobiles.
Designs that respond to device type and screen orientation work best. For smaller screens popups need to be stripped to the bare minimum: fewer form fields, less copy, and bigger CTA buttons.
Here are Carbon38’s Shopify email pop-ups for their desktop site and their mobile site. The mobile version doesn’t include the image, has reduced copy, and only takes up the bottom half of the screen.
These rules are even more important to follow for mobile sites. Google’s algorithms penalize intrusive mobile interstitials.
This includes popups that cover the main content or hamper the user experience. Below is a snapshot that sums up Google’s POV for mobile popups.
7) When it comes to popup size, less is more.
As a customer, who are you more likely to open your front door for — someone who knocks once or keeps banging at your door repeatedly to break it down?
Popups that threaten to block the entire main content, or are too in your face, run the risk of visitors leaving. A good rule of thumb is to not have your popup cover more than 40% of screen space.
Here are a few alternative formats to the usual full screen or middle-of-the-screen sales promotion popups:
- Slide-in popups: These move in from the side or the bottom and don’t obscure the main content.
- Opt-in bars: As the name suggests these are optional bars that float at the top or bottom of the page at all times rather than pop up. These are a great mechanism for Shopify email popups, active contests, event signups, etc.
8) Have more than one pickup line
Imagine you’re a customer and the brand asks you to sign up for the same newsletter each time you visit their site even though you signed up the first time itself or receiving a Shopify exit popup that talks about free shipping when as a returning customer you already know about it.
It’s annoying, isn’t it?
Popups need to be contextualized to the visitor.
Are they first-timers? Are they returning customers? Are they loyalists? These questions should determine the format, incentive, and CTA of the popup you show them.
Contextual popups reassure visitors that the brand knows exactly who they’re talking to. It makes them feel special.
Also, the right context helps the best popups get conversion rates above 40%.
Here’s a great example of an entry popup from Sephora Canada. It mentions everything upfront including free shipping, exclusive offers and stocks in local stores. It’s also bilingual to aid visitors.
9) Ditch the spin to win gimmicks
A lot of outdated marketing tactics also spill into popup marketing. One of those is the gimmicky spin-the-wheel or random discount-generating popup.
They are engaging but don’t lead to a purchase and also adds a lengthy extra step process.
These are a strict no-no during the holiday season including Black Friday as customers are looking to make quick purchases.
For you, it opens you up to visitors who will register only to win prizes or keep playing to win multiple times. Experienced coders can even modify the promotions code to win only the most valuable prize. Then, it’s clearly not worth it.
10) Exit intents are common, make yours irresistible
One of the most crucial weapons in your arsenal is your Shopify exit popup. It is a last-ditch effort to turn a leaving customer into a paying one.
Imagine a scenario: an online visitor spends a large amount of time reading about an expensive camera and your Shopify add-to-cart popup just before he’s about to leave offers him free shipping. Is that enough to move the needle?
When it comes to the Shopify exit popup, use your nuclear option and keep copies absolutely compelling.
Keep the offer relevant to the visitor’s behavior and his stage in the purchase journey.
Here’s an innovative approach from JewelStreet. When they realized their highest converting page was the best-selling items, they directed their Shopify exit popup in the women’s jewelry category to take all their visitors there.
They literally saved their best for last.
11) Design CTAs that catches the eye
Most popups don’t give the call to action button the attention it deserves. You might have a great copy, but the generic “Sign up now” or “Shop now” can stand in the way of a done deal.
The CTA button must be customized to the purpose and the type of popup being used. It must reinforce the incentive being offered. Here’s a great example of Shopify email popups.
Note how the CTA button reinforces the incentive and doesn’t say “Sign up”. Right below it also mentions how it’s a limited-time opportunity further driving the urgency.
Here’s another example of how Shopify email popups can use social proof in the call to action button to drive behavior.
12) Add a bit of fun with GIFs and animations
Sometimes when you’re trying to make your popup convert, it’s easy to forget that its first job is to draw attention and make the visitor want to engage with it.
The incentives, the smart copy, none of it adds value — if the popup doesn’t look appealing.
Images, GIFs, and design can make your popups more appealing and can also be used to guide user attention to the CTA button.
Using GIF animations in popups adds movement and helps the popup to stand apart from its static background.
13) Keep it customer friendly with an autoresponder
For your Shopify email popups, add to cart popup, exit popup, and popup form, enable autoresponder whenever you use a discount code or coupons.
You can not expect visitors to go to their email ID and retrieve the coupon code especially if they are in the middle of the purchase process. When it comes to the Shopify exit popup the autoresponder must display the coupon code on the popup itself as soon as the desired action is completed.
Here’s a great example of a timed Shopify exit intent popup from Leesa. It offers a limited timed discount creating a sense of urgency and displays the coupon code creating minimal interference in the shopping process.
14) Grab their attention with contrast colors
Aside from using images to make your popup stand out, a good design principle is color contrast.
Using contrasting colors between the background and the popup, or solid colors with a black and white background can make your popup stand out.
Not only does this make the popup stand out but directs your eyes straight towards it. This is immensely useful for mobile popups where you might not have the space or bandwidth to display image-based popups.
Here’s a great example of a Shopify email popup from Hem. It catches your eyes because the color scheme makes it look classy and appealing.
Next to it, is an example from Tula that uses a solid block of pink against a background of white for their mobile popups making it clearly distinct and visible.
15) Make it super easy to close popups
It's sort of a no-brainer that holding your visitor hostage is a very bad idea. Forcing them to view the popup by hiding or making the close button hard to access is a terrible way to get their attention.
Visitors will just leave your website if the popup is difficult to close and will probably think twice before visiting it again.
Make your “X” prominent and accessible especially when it comes to small mobile popups where it may get difficult to close them.
Here’s a good example of a Shopify exit popup from Craft-Ease. Not only do they display the customary X on the top left corner but they also have a great closing link that says, “No thanks, I’ll rather pay full price.” This makes visitors feel like they must take advantage of the offer.
16) Let the value take the spotlight
Coupons or discounts are the most effective way to get visitors to subscribe through your Shopify email popups.
Across different popups including Shopify popup form, add to cart, and exit popups having the right incentive is key to driving behavior.
So when you do have an offer make sure it stands out in your popup.
Earlier we discussed using contrast to separate the popup from the background but color contrast can also be used to highlight elements within the popup itself.
In this example of discount popups, the incentive is in a bigger font size and is the same color as the CTA.
17) Mention the fine print (include the T&Cs)
One of the major reasons why visitors are hesitant to share information in Shopify email popups or popup forms is privacy concerns. They’re worried about their information being sold to third parties or being bombarded by spam.
A potent safeguard against this is to clearly mention the fine print in your popups themselves. Here’s a good example of Flex mentioning clearly that they won’t contact you before they ship to your country.
18) Test. Customize. Test. Repeat.
Creating the best popup is making the best Subway sandwich.
It’s all about picking the right ingredients that fit together perfectly.
This is why instead of experimenting with live potential customers, it’s important to constantly undertake A/B split testing. Try out various versions of the same popup by changing the timing, design, placement, wording, incentive, visuals, etc. See which combination works best.
Also, try out various types of popups to see which work best at driving certain types of behavior.
Use all the data at your disposal including heat maps, analytics, scroll maps, referral tracking, survey responses to see how, when, and where you should structure your popups within your pages.
Heatmaps can show you which elements of your page are working and which sections aren’t. If your popups are being ignored, it’s maybe because that part of the page is being skipped. If your CTA buttons are being ignored, try upping the incentive, or changing the desired action altogether.
Popups are also becoming more innovative and less intrusive. Below is an example of allowing customers to open and close your Shopify email popups or Shopify add to cart popup.
Research has shown this format generated a conversion rate of 34% which was much higher than conventional sales promotion popups.
Testing your popups, especially your Shopify exit popup and Shopify email popups, is a surefire way of meeting your conversion goals and reducing bounce rates.
Optimizing popups for conversion is a continuous process.
For best results use a dedicated Shopify popup app to run them. These are optimized for speed and usability within the Shopify ecosystem.
When it comes to your popup strategy a good rule of thumb to follow is Less is more:
- Aim for your Shopify popups to be less intrusive, less complicated, and have less design clutter.
- Ensure that they cover as little main content as possible especially on smaller screens like mobile phones.
- The only aspect where this rule is not applicable is your incentive. When it comes to incentive, more is indeed more.
In summation here are the questions you should be asking yourself when setting down your popup strategy:
- Where are you getting your traffic? Which pages are working best?
- When are you displaying popups? Is that the best time to interrupt them?
- Does the popup match what the customer’s doing on that page?
- Is it grabbing attention? Is it appealing to engage with?
- How much effort does it require? Is it easy to close?
- Does the type of popup suit your goal?
- Is the popup customized to the customer it is being shown to?
- Is the incentive good enough?
- At what stages of the purchase journey are you using popups?
- Are your popups optimized for multiple devices and mobiles?
There, we’ve made it easy for you! Now, go and run your pop ups in the most effective way for the best conversions in 2021.