Is it a good idea to ask visitors to subscribe for email when they land on your site? A lot of eCommerce sites do it and we are considering it for our site. However I need some input based on experience or data to help us decide if it is worth doing. Does it turn away potential customers or are they ok with just closing the invite and moving on? Any idea on the response rate to these invites?
Its ethical (and legal) to have a user opt-in voluntarily and then be able to opt-out if they want.
The best way to get experience or data for your application is to A/B test a prototype or ask user impressions with a cognitive walkthrough or think aloud exercise.
You raise a great question about how appropriate it is for an initial page. It depends on goals. Hypothetically, it is a bad idea to put an email sign-up in a sales funnel because it may siphon away from purchases. It might also turn an otherwise pointless page into an invaluable lead generating tool - making the ROI junkie salivate.
Good luck, Ken
I think the answer depends on your goals. In my experience working on ecommerce sites, prompting for an email address on a landing page increases the number of addresses you collect which (when coupled with effective email marketing) increases engagement and conversion. The downside is user aggravation and annoyance and of course, making your site feel more down-market.
A couple of suggestions:
Make sure that the button to close the invite is usable on phones and tablets - make the target big.
Consider showing the invite after the user has been on the site and browsed a few pages. "Would you like more of this great content?" is a lot better than "Give me your email address" before the user can see what you offer.
Only do it once.
I think you should add it at the end of the article the user was reading; because he was interested enough to finish the article and still stick around. Asking them to subscribe when they don't even know what you've written makes them trust you less and may result in increase in the bounce rate of your website(Because Pop-Ups scare people regardless of what they say).