How to use Pop-up Windows for Your eCommerce Website?

It’s highly unlikely that the mention of the word ‘pop-ups’ does anything to excite you. After all, we encounter them nearly every day, and it seems like 99.9% of the time, they’re just a nuisance that we do our best to avoid.

It’s true; there are plenty of reasons why pop-ups are bad. They lurch onto the page uninvited, can be hard to get rid of, can be utterly irrelevant to the content you were looking at and can disorient you as you navigate a website. 

On top of this, they can seriously hamper a page’s loading speed and lead to unnecessary content shifts that mess with a page’s layout. 

These last two problems are now especially significant as the most recent Google Algorithm Update, the Core Web Vitals update, puts user experience at the top of its list. 

However, there is a reason why eCommerce sites persist in using website pop-ups even with the negative stigma surrounding them. 

That’s because they can help to increase conversion rates if done correctly. 

Here we will demonstrate the difference between good and bad pop-ups and show you how proper investment, development and attention to detail can help your eCommerce business harness the power of these emerging messages for good.

The difference between good and bad pop-ups

1) Timing

A good pop-up will appear when appropriate. There are a few times when this can be, but it varies on a case by case basis. For example, if the user has been inactive on the page for a reasonable time or just after hitting a call to action button, it’s appropriate to show the pop-ups. 

This not only limits the disruptiveness of the pop-up but also makes it easier for the user to understand why it’s there. 

On the other hand, a pop-up window that appears uninvited whilst the customer is happily browsing through a site is nothing but an annoyance and can be a massive contributing factor to customers dropping off.

2) Placement

A pop-up that dominates most of the screen and throws the user off course is not a good one. This is especially important considering that most eCommerce traffic now comes from mobile users whose loading times will be most affected and who will have a more challenging time closing them. A good pop-up doesn’t have to be annoying; it could appear like a ticker across the top or just in one corner and still get the point across whilst not intruding on a customer’s experience. 

Taking more time to consider how pop-ups could be effectively placed on your mobile site will also pay off. 

Mobile users’ demands have long since caught up with conventional computers, and their customer experiences are just as meaningful.

3) Design

The design of a pop-up has to match the aesthetics of the site. The reasons for this should be obvious enough. If the pop-up matches the design, it appears relevant and targeted to the user; if it doesn’t fit, it just looks like junk mail.

Furthermore, the design of the pop-up has to do all it can to appear as unobtrusive as possible. An easy way to do this is to suggest something to the customer rather than shout it at them. We mean that it’s much more effective to ask customers a question rather than barrage them with capital letters and animations.

It has to be relevant to what the customer is looking at:

This is probably the most important thing to remember as it makes all the difference between an enhanced shopping experience and pushy upselling. 

Of course, some pop-ups can be universally appreciated, such as discount codes or special offers, but even then, try to think about how they could be delivered at an appropriate place. Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and imagine where you would most likely find that type of helpful pop-up window. 

For example, if you run an eCommerce site that sells electronic goods and you have an offer going on phone cases then a customer isn’t going to be interested in it if they are looking at televisions.

4) Be serious with your goals

Conversion rates aren’t always directly about purchases. Successfully encouraging a user to conduct any desired action is a conversion. 

For this reason, consider what else you could use website pop-ups to help you achieve. This could be joining an email marketing list or signing up for a loyalty scheme, ideally leading to increased revenues. Using pop-ups in this way also appears more considerate to your customers as you are not directly pushing them towards spending more money. 

How to know if your pop-ups are working?

Even the best pop-up windows aren’t going to please everyone, but you can do plenty to measure their success. 

Firstly, check if there is an increase in activity around the service you were promoting. 

The increase is a good sign, but delving a little deeper will give you a clearer picture and more helpful information. 

Following customer journeys through Google Analytics is a great way to do this as it lets you see how customers are travelling between pages and where they’re typically dropping off. This information is helpful because it can also give you an idea of how your pop-up windows can be tweaked or enhanced rather than forcing you to scrap them or start again.

You can also negate the need for this and limit the risk by conducting some simple A/B testing on your pop-ups before they go live. It would be best to do this for new elements on your eCommerce site as much as possible already, and pop-ups are no different. Putting in the work now can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Of course, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether or not pop-up windows are something you want to experiment with on your site. There is a lot to be gained from pop-ups, and bearing these pointers in mind will help you get the most out of them.

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