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I want to understand better why the user is not converting, thus when he arrives at my page, why he does not buy anything. I was thinking to show a modal with a couple of pre-defined quick answers such as:

  • I didnt find what I was looking for
  • prices are too high
  • not clear what to expect from the products
  • will come back later
  • other

The question is, when is the best time to ask this? Ideally you would like to do this when the user leaves the page (and he has not purchased anything), but this tends to be considered as annoying (many posts on this topic disapprove doing it this way).

As a counter-solution I thought to:

  • either offer a discount or free purchase if the user leaves a reply
  • to time it such that the modal shows after x seconds (but then you risk that the user leaves before asking.. or he might actually be in the middle of a purchase)

What are some other ways to understand why my users are not buying?

  • I'm against the idea of asking when they are in the middle of a purchase. You run the risk of annoying prospective customers. There are ways which are not so intrusive, you could use analytical tools such as google analytics, mixpanel to measure and understand why users are not converting. You could also do this together with a one off survey asking more generic questions as oppose to asking feedback everytime they leave a purchase. – adamsoh Jan 21 '16 at 2:46
4

Don't do this.

An unsolicited modal popping up and asking the user a question is just plain annoying, no matter when you do it.

Asking why the user didn't purchase, in particular, is also an annoying question. It will come across as overly aggressive marketing.

This modal would drive customers away.

Also, as your question highlights, there is no good time to pop up the modal. Even the user leaving the page (the most obvious point at which to do it) doesn't mean they have decided not to purchase. Perhaps they plan to come back later. This limits the usefulness of the results, as well as further annoying customers who actually did plan to buy something.

The desire to know why users aren't buying is understandable. Here are a few possible alternative approaches:

  • Test different approaches on your site. For example, if you think users might not be buying because prices are high, temporarily lower prices and see what that does to the convert rate. If you think it might be insufficient information, add more information to some products and measure the effect.
  • Use web analytics to see what users are looking at and when they leave (as suggested by adamsoh). This can uncover certain kinds of problems. For example, if many users start the checkout process, then abandon it at a certain page, it may indicate a site design problem.
  • Have test users evaluate your site and provide feedback. Again, this can uncover certain types of problems, but not all. It might highlight that users don't understand how to do something on your site, for example, but if the problem is price it probably wouldn't uncover this, since the test users aren't making real purchases.
  • Investigate competitors. This is kind of obvious, but: when you search other sites for the same product, do you find lower prices? Do their sites look nicer, have more information than yours, etc.? Put yourself in the customer's shoes and try to consider why someone might prefer another seller to you.
  • Provide a more voluntary method of taking a survey. For example, have a button on your site that offers a user an incentive (such as a chance to win something) if they agree to take a survey. Collect email address and send the survey later, when you are sure whether or not they purchased anything.
2

I agree with @dan1111's answer; asking users to tell you why they are leaving is annoying and a bad practice. I think you have 2 choices that can actually help you make improvements that will result in higher conversions rates. (Pop-ups asking 'what did we do wrong' wont provide useful info.)

  1. A,B and C testing. Make several versions of your page that are different and see which one converts best. This can take some time and requires a good number of site visits.

  2. Realize that the information you are looking for is valuable and pay for it. Web applications like feedbackerr.com, usibila, usertesting.com and others will let you question your users about why they aren't buying from you. You will have to pay for the information, but you probably should pay if you expect actionable information.

  • Welcome to the site, @Jim. +1 for suggesting a viable alternative. Both of your posts so far link to the same sites. Best not to keep linking to the same ones or you'll end up flagged as spam. – Graham Herrli Jul 15 '16 at 0:48
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While there are alternative and better methods to increase conversion, there’s also the fact that obtaining qualitative data is important (as important as quantitative data via google analytics etc) and this type of information is essential to be used to do an UX review and craft a potential A/B plan.

While user testing tools provide you with great insights about potential customers based on demographics, I believe that acquiring qualitative date in real time and from a real customer is valuable too.

With that being said, there are more user friendly ways (and less invasive) to integrate a survey on your website rather than a pop up. A good example of this is hotjar’s survey box that can sit on the bottom corner and be expandable upon user’s interest in answering the survey.

example

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