Part One: The Right Pop-Up – Driving Sales

It happened – the moment you were about to leave that website, they dragged you in with that last-minute pop-up that made you a Godfather offer – the kinds you cannot refuse!

Then that other thing happened too – you landed on a website and before you could do anything, you were hit with pop-ups that you didn’t want or need, and it pissed you off – so you left!

As daily-users of the Internet, we’ve all had these experiences and depending on what kind of website we’re on and what kind of pop-ups have come up, we’ve made certain decisions.

It might seem random at first – “Sure, I clicked on these pop-ups but not on these…” – but that’s not true!

To a large extent, creating pop-ups that get clicked on is all about knowing your website and business well – but it is also about knowing your customer really, really well!

Painting Everything with the Same Brush

The first thing to understand is that there are different kinds of pop-ups, with different timings and different (expected) outcomes.

As a business, you need to have your objectives sorted out, and when it comes to pop-ups, you can have one of three kinds of objectives:

  1. Sales
  2. Sign-ups
  3. Feedback

Anything beyond this is unnecessary and irritating – characteristics that can be attributed to these-3 too if not executed well.

In this article, let’s address the Sales-side of things and look at the different kinds of Sales Pop-Ups you can use as well as when and where you can use them.

The Sale Pop-Up

If your objective is to sell the customer something, then you need to give your customers an offer that might make them think twice, if not jump at the chance.

The most common kinds of sales pop-ups include:

  • Free Products
  • Up-Sells or Cross-Sells
  • Incomplete Sales
  • Time-Bound Offers
  • Discounts
  • Free Shipping

Free Products

Who doesn’t like free products?

The idea here is to provide you visitors with an opportunity to get a free product just for coming to your website.

Target: The ideal target for these would be new customers or first-time customers, but you could also use these with existing customers if you were launching a new product, say.

When and Where: Considering you are giving something away for free, and not adding onto an existing sale, you can do this pretty-much anywhere. However, the best places are on your landing page, on product pages or even on your blog. You might want to consider gathering some data in exchange though – prime opportunity here!

Up-Sells or Cross-Sells

Remember all those “Customer who bought this (product) also bought these” followed by a string of other products – related or otherwise?

Well, that’s one kind of cross-selling!

Up-selling is when someone comes to buy one thing but you make them buy a better product or some add-ons!

You know, you went into the store to buy soap and ended up buying a body wash – that’s up-selling!

Target: Anyone who is buying something or came earlier but never bought anything – this is for them. You can also try this out on new customers coming to your website for the first time, because they might not have browser through the other goodies you offer.

When and Where: People tend to recommend “anywhere on the website” but we have a slightly different view. Ideally, you should have this appear once the customer adds something to the cart. Alternately, it can appear when they reach their cart or are on a product page.

Incomplete Sales

There’s nothing worse than have something place products in their cart and then leave.

Now, we don’t know why they left but we do know what we can do once they come back.

That’s right – point them to the things they already have in their cart!

Target: Users who abandoned sales

When and Where: You can have this all over the website but one of the key things here is that you need to pop this message up only when they are about to browse away from your site. So if the mouse-cursor goes out of the window – POP!

Time-Bound Offers

Nothing sells better than… you guessed it… Panic!

If people think they are going to miss out on an opportunity, they might go ahead and buy something that they didn’t want in the first place – just because of the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

FOMO is considered to be a major motivation amongst consumers and is nicely exploited by pop-ups that tell them time is running out!

Offers that tell you “Order in the next 15-minutes and…” or “Order before 10pm for free delivery…” and other similar time-bound offers create that tense environment that prompts poor decisions.

We aren’t saying that your product’s a bad decision – we’re just saying that people might make decisions they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Maybe they decide to go over-budget or buy something they didn’t really want – either way, time-bound offers on pop-ups can be extremely effective.

Target: Returning customers, browsing customers and almost everyone else.

When and Where: Pretty much anywhere on the website but pop-ups should be along the same lines of what they are looking for. A pop-up for men’s underwear in women’s shoes might not get customers lining up.


Well, I think we may be contradicting ourselves here but… nothing sells better than… you guessed it… Discounts!

If people think they are going to save money, they will buy it!

Of course, the real “saving” money would happen if they didn’t buy it at all, but shhh… don’t say that out loud!

Target: Returning customers, first time visitors

When and Where: Landing page, entry pages, and almost on all other pages where visitors are likely to spend some time browsing.

Finally, Free Shipping

Now you might say, this is just a sub-form of discount because free shipping essentially means that the customer doesn’t have to pay as much as they would have to originally.

You might think this isn’t that big of a deal but you have no idea!

Customers buying online don’t like two things – waiting for their products and paying for shipping!

Shipping is a problem for lower-cost products and a 2013 study by Compete had even shown that 3 out of 5 people wouldn’t have made their most recent online purchase if shipping hadn’t been free.

In fact, if shipping is free, customers are willing to wait a couple of days more for their package to arrive!

Finally, the Boston Consulting Group found that 74% of consumers considered free shipping a top-priority when it came to improving their online shopping experience.

Target: Every single customer

When and Where: On your Cart, on the landing page (if shipping was charged previously) and sign-up pages.

The biggest mistake a brand can make is driving away a customer by annoying them.

And believe it when we say – Pop-ups can be an annoyance!

Unless you use them properly, and that is where this series of articles comes in.

We hope that this article will give you some insight on how you need to adjust your pop-up strategy to drive sales.

In the next article, we will address the non-sales part of pop-ups – Lead Generation – don’t miss it!

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