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Guest post: How to recover abandoned carts with pop-ups

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The intelligent pop-up platform, Wisepops, takes a look at the struggle that is cart abandonment and suggests smart ways to use pop-ups to retain customers and increase lifetime value. 

If you’re like most merchants out there, you probably struggle with cart abandonment.

I also assume that you may have also heard that pop-ups can reduce it. If you haven’t, Loyaltylion published a post where you can learn about combating cart abandonment.

So, you know that, if done well, pop-ups could help you convince visitors that instead of leaving the cart they should complete the purchase. But I bet that it just sounds like a pipe dream to you, right? You have no idea how to make it happen for your store.

That’s exactly why I wrote this guide – to show you how to use popups to overcome shopping cart abandonment.

But first, let’s evaluate the full breadth of the problem.

The state of cart abandonment today

The cart abandonment data paints a rather bleak picture.

According to Statista, the overall worldwide shopping cart abandonment rate is at around 70% currently.

Statistica Graph 1
Granted, it has gone down a little since the peak of 2012. Yet, the rate has also been growing at a steady pace in the last three years.

When we break the rate down by sector, we discover that online retail struggles with approx. 75% abandonment rate. Airlines, on the other hand, face a rate of nearly 90%.

Again, hardly encouraging data.

Abandoned Carts Stats 2
Finally, according to VWO, cart abandonment amounts to $18Bn in lost revenue each year.

Yes, you read that right. It’s 18 billion dollars!

So, it goes without saying:

Without a clear strategy to combat it, cart abandonment will continue costing your store more and more sales and customers.

Which is exactly where pop-ups come in.

How pop-ups prevent cart abandonment

Let’s recap: 70% to 75% of online purchases get abandoned. For one reason or another, those customers decided not to buy whatever items they’ve added to their cart.

But it doesn’t mean that they’re not intending to purchase the product. Well, at least not some of them. Those people have just decided not to do it at your store.

Could you convince them otherwise? Absolutely! However, to do that, you need one, quite an important thing – their email address.

With it, you can send those customers what’s known as the retrieval campaign. This sequence of emails aims to re-engage the person and convince them to return and complete their purchase.

Enter pop-ups

Pop-ups help you capture those people’s emails as they’re about to abandon the cart.

Here’s how:

Offer customers free shipping or another offer to entice them to continue with the purchase.

Timberland Popup
Offer help to overcome their biggest challenges with the purchase.

Virgin Atlantic Popup
Provide the option to save the cart for later (perhaps with an additional discount.)

Tommy John Pop Up
Run a survey to find out more about the reasons for abandoning the cart.

Casper Labs Popup
(Check out more examples of pop-ups for Shopify that can inspire your cart abandonment campaign)

But, why do pop-ups work so well?

Well, it all comes down to something that’s called the exit intent technology.

You see, the most common behaviour tied to abandoning a cart is leaving the site. Customers exit the website, leaving items still in the cart, because they get distracted or choose to shop elsewhere.

Exit-intent technology can detect the intention to leave and trigger a popup at that very moment. Like this:
Exit Popup Demo

In short, the exit-intent allows you to display the relevant message at the very moment when a customer decides to leave the store.

But, of course, just triggering the pop-up isn’t enough to engage such a user. Below you’ll find three strategies that will help you attract their attention and encourage them to spend with you.

Strategy #1: The right timing

For the pop-up to work, you must display it at the exact moment when they’ve made the decision to abandon the cart. 

We’ve talked about one of them already – the exit intent. A person leaving the site from the checkout is, most likely, abandoning any items they’ve added there.

But there is another user behaviour that might suggest a similar intent – stalling in the cart.

A user who a.) has added items to the cart, and b.) is now stalling on the page, not progressing to the checkout is, most likely, debating the purchase:

  • Perhaps they have other websites opened in other browser tabs and are comparing their offering to yours
  • Or, they’re considering the idea of purchasing your competitors’ products

Luckily, most pop-up creators allow you to target both behaviours. You can launch an exit pop-up or set another pop-up up to display when someone lingers in the cart for a certain amount of time.
Popup Delays

Strategy #2: The right offer

The other element your pop-up needs is a compelling offer.

Remember, your goal is to either convince someone to complete the purchase or sign up for your site. You need to offer them something they’d find valuable enough to achieve either of those outcomes.

From experience, I can attest that two specific offers work best:

  • Discounts
  • Free shipping

Both could help entice someone to buy. But, you could also offer these benefits in return for signing up too. This way, you get a chance to engage with the person via email and convert them into a customer later.

Here’s an example of a popup using a discount to entice a visitor to buy.
Jewel Street Popup
This one aims to achieve the same effect by offering free shipping.
Free Shipping Popup
This pop-up, on the other hand, uses a discount to capture the person’s email address.
Simply Earth Popup

Strategy #3: The right way to engage visitors

Finally, you also need to capture a person’s attention. Because, even though the customer will notice the pop-up, there is no guarantee that he or she will engage with its message.

Luckily, there are ways to ensure that they do.

How? By writing engaging headlines and copy.

For the cart abandonment pop-up, I recommend that you use one of the three ways outlined below:

#1. Reference abandoning the cart in the headline

Doing so will help you relate to their current situation. They have decided to leave the site without buying, after all. Referencing that in the headline is practically guaranteed to capture the person’s attention.

#2. State the offer

Another way to do so is to intrigue leaving customers with a hefty offer. In this case, you target their intention to buy and overcome potential objections they might have by presenting an irresistible offer.

#3. Use urgency

Often, customers stall the buying decisions, delaying that moment further and further into the future.

Urgency is a strategy you can employ to push them into action by limiting the offer.

Of course, these aren’t the only ways to engage customers. From experience, however, I can attest that these deliver the best results.

Good luck!

About the author

Greg d’Aboville is Head of Growth at WisePops, a popup app. He’s helped major brands like Fender, Nissan, and Skechers maximize lead generation strategies and 10X their results.

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