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  1. I run an e-commerce website.
  2. Of course I have a lot of abandoned carts (92%)
  3. I want to try to engage visitors more, asking for their email in a popover, offering a discount or a free buying guide to download.

When should I show the popover? I have seen other websites doing the following:

  • open immediately when visitor land on any page
  • open after 10/20 seconds from landing
  • open after 10/20 seconds after visitor land and mouse have been moved
  • open after a time a little shorter than average time spent on page

Is there any study or personal experience, or anything... To advice on best strategy about when to open the popover?

  • Should your 92% dropout be considered very high, or is it in line with the industry? Does it seem like the visitors come to the checkout and get turned-off by something or do they drop out before that? – Babossa May 17 '14 at 7:06
  • @Babossa as far as I know from googling on the matter 92% is not good, some report 67.91% as standard (source: baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate), albeit as far as I know my competitors are around 95%. These percentages are calculated as nr of visitors who performed add-to-cart vs orders-submitted. In other words they drop out on the cart page. – Max Favilli May 17 '14 at 9:03
  • Wait a minute. Do you know they visit the cart page? I mean, in general, items are added to cart from a product view and the cart page is visited either for a quick summary of content or when it's time for checkout, right? That means they could drop out either before even visiting the cart, from the cart page or from the checkout flow. Sorry if I'm driving this off-topic, but it feels like you need to know where they drop out to be able to amend it. – Babossa May 17 '14 at 10:36
  • The 92% is calculated among visitors who visited the cart page, simply because when a visitor add-to-cart is automatically redirected to the cart page. – Max Favilli May 17 '14 at 12:24
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    Wha-wha-wha-what :) Do you force your customers to the cart page every time they add a product to the cart? – Babossa May 18 '14 at 0:22
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Sorry to break the news for you, but assuming a task-based behaviour (meaning users enter your sites in order to do something), pop-overs are nothing but an annoying hurdle. If you create a task model for your users tasks, you'll notice there isn't a single place they need your popover.

Even with an explorer behaviour, pop-overs are just an annoying marketing plot that pretty much everyone in UX has abandon (unless, of course, the user really needs them to complete a task - like a deletion warning message).

Unfortunately, it goes like this:

open immediately when visitor land on any page

Will annoy users and they will close it straight away.

open after 10/20 seconds from landing

Will annoy users and they will close it straight away.

open after 10/20 seconds after visitor land and mouse have been moved

Will annoy users and they will close it straight away.

open after a time a little shorter than average time spent on page

Will annoy users and they will close it straight away.


I challenge you to try any of these options. My bet is that either will only reduce further your conversions.

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  • I agree a popover is probably always annoying. I am running a split test and monitoring bounce rate, I will let you know the results. But even with an increasing bounce rate, depending on the number of emails I collect and how much the abandoned cart rate is lowered thanks to the MKT I can do with those emails, it could at the end turn useful to annoy those visitors. – Max Favilli May 17 '14 at 8:56
  • The only time I might not close straight away is if there's something like 50% off in big letters – Toni Leigh May 18 '14 at 8:32
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    bounce rates were not horrible when compared to original, original = 15% bounce rate, popover = 22%; newsletter subscription was +400% thanks to the popover intrusion; but conversion rate was horrible -26%, so I removed the popover. – Max Favilli May 27 '14 at 21:51
  • It great to see that some people actually take this to the test. Such tests give you real answers as opposed to experts assumption, and are the essence of good UX practices. You now have a highly valuable data, that I'm sure other could use. Thanks for sharing. – Izhaki May 27 '14 at 22:13
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Why a pop-up at all?

When a shopper adds an item they will arrive on the "cart page". Within that page you can offer an engagement / inducement section in a natural or 'conversational' flow. e.g. "Thanks for browsing with us. Like your style! If you leave us your email we'll be in touch about great offers."

e.g. "Thanks for browsing with us. Nice choices! We'll give you 5% of the entire basket for next 15 minutes."

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