Pop-ups and popovers are a staple of website design. But many marketers have misgivings about using this feature on their eCommerce website. That’s understandable: In their awkward adolescent phase, pop-ups were often annoying, intrusive and random.
However, today’s popovers have evolved to enhance the customer experience with relevant offers, information and reminders. They can be used to identify customers with data capture, encourage micro conversions like newsletter subscribes, and recover revenue with cart and browse abandonment messages.
Keep reading for popover best practices, and our favorite examples to get you inspired.
What exactly is a popover?
Marketers’ apprehension about popovers stems from the days of cringe-inducing pop-ups. These were smaller windows that appeared on top of the webpage, that you needed to interact with in order to get rid of them. These colorful interruptions are the reason so many web users install pop-up blockers in their browser.
A well-timed popover is the pop-up’s better-behaved cousin. They often take the form of overlays that make up part of the webpage. You can normally dismiss them by clicking elsewhere on the screen. These are most effective when they are related to a visitor’s interests and behavior on your website.
Popover best practices
Before we dive into some examples, here’s how to make sure your popovers are as engaging as possible:
Timing: No one likes to be interrupted. A popover that seems to appear for no apparent reason could cause potential customers to leave your website. That’s where behavioral popovers come in…
Context: The best way to get the timing right is to serve popovers in response to browsers’ behavior. To work out whether to use a popover – and what content to include - consider the shopper’s interests, lifecycle stage, and place in the buying journey.
Content: Don’t let design be an afterthought. A great popover makes your brand look professional and trustworthy. To maximize engagement, include a compelling call to action and clearly show the value you’re offering. Don’t put shoppers off by asking for too much information – once you have a visitor’s email address, you can get to know them better.
Test, test, test: Ensure your popovers are doing a good job by continually testing and optimizing. Try out different timing, placement and content to find out what works best for your customers.
With those thoughts in mind, let’s look at some great examples of behavioral popover targeting.
Popover examples - and why they work
Identify new visitors
The easiest way to build a relationship with customers is by identifying them through their email address and tailoring your marketing to their behavior. When a new visitor comes to your website, you can present a popover offering a discount on their first order when they sign up. This serves two purposes: the visitor identifies themselves with their email address and is tempted to make a purchase.
Remember to be mindful of timing. Give shoppers enough time to view your website so they know what you have to offer.
Here’s an example from Vision Direct and Glasses Direct:
This popover is used to cross-market the company’s different brands. The message is tailored to visitors’ interests, as it only appears once you've browsed a related page. Content is big enough to get shoppers’ attention, but doesn’t feel intrusive as it can be easily collapsed.
Popovers don’t need to take center stage. This example from Feel Good Contacts sits at the bottom of the window as browsers move through the website. The message is clear: “When you’re ready to make an order, I’m here for you!”
Visitors can expand the popover when they’re ready, so their shopping journey is never interrupted. It's the perfect balance between email acquisition and customer service.
Engage with customers before they go
Popovers based on exit intent are a great tactic to keep shoppers engaged. These popovers can’t push a visitor away from your website (they’re already leaving), but might just persuade them to stay in touch.
Here’s an example from Pavers, which only appears when the visitor moves their cursor towards the top of the page. The data capture form works well because it doesn’t ask for a disproportionate amount of information: the shopper can provide their email address in order to keep up with the latest styles.
Welcoming back returning visitors
Some visitors leave without making a purchase, and return at a later date. This is an opportunity to help shoppers by letting them pick up where they left off.
Use a popover to remind visitors of their last viewed product. Shoppers will appreciate the gesture, as they don’t have to remember what they searched for last time.
Include an image of the product, and make it clear why the popover is appearing. This example from Cottages.com gives a helping hand to returning customers, without obscuring the rest of the information on the page.
Recover abandoned carts
Did you know that over half (54%) of shopping carts are abandoned? That’s a lot of potential purchases that are never completed.
Along with cart abandonment emails, exit intent popovers give marketers the power to recover this lost revenue. You can offer to take the customer back to the cart page to complete their purchase, or ask them to sign up for a reminder email.
Monica Vinader serves this popover when a visitor has items in their cart and is about to leave the website. An image of the product is included to remind shoppers what they wanted, and additional information is given to reduce purchase anxiety.
Here’s a really engaging example from pet insurance provider Pet Plan. The popover targets visitors who didn’t finish applying for a quote. It’s personalized with the pet’s name, and reminds visitors how quick and easy it is to complete the form.
Get the most out of popovers
To give shoppers a personalized experience across web and email, it’s important to identify as many visitors as possible.
As we’ve seen, that doesn’t mean harassing visitors with obtrusive data capture forms. You can use popovers to enhance consumers’ shopping experience, all the while growing your subscriber base and recovering revenue.
For more examples and advanced ways to personalize popovers, download the dedicated ebook: