Shopify Pop-Ups: 6 Best Practices + 7 Shopify Pop-Up Apps to Convert

Grégoire d'Aboville
Grégoire d'Aboville
Last updated on 
August 22, 2019
April 2, 2020
Shopify Pop-Ups: 6 Best Practices + 7 Shopify Pop-Up Apps to Convert

We reviewed 300 Shopify store owners and discovered that 50% of them used website pop-ups as their preferred customer engagement tool. This isn’t surprising since pop-ups can yield a conversion rate of between 3% and 11%, compared to the standard rate of around 2%.

But using pop-ups to get more conversions for your website requires more than just slapping a newsletter email signup pop-up window on your website. High-converting pop-ups are built on some of the best apps and tick all the boxes on our pop-up checklist. Below, we’ll dive deeper into this checklist and provide you with our top picks for pop-up app software.

Types of Shopify pop-ups

If you spend any time on the internet, you’ve likely encountered pop-ups at some point. You may have even seen one on your journey to this page! But pop-ups have come a long way over the last decade: Whereas they used to be aggressive annoyances, they are now significantly subtler and operate as invaluable sales and marketing tools. Here are some of the most popular types of pop-ups you can implement within your Shopify store:

Sign-up forms

Depending on your current marketing strategy, sign-ups can be useful for a number of goals. You can invite visitors to sign up for a newsletter, register for an event, or recieve an exclusive piece of content. This lets you collect valuable customer information like email addresses and phone numbers.

Special offers and discounts

Those glossy pop-ups that appear and offer free shipping for orders over $xx are a prime example. These can be tailored to just about any offering your ecommerce business wants to promote, and can even be turned into a game to attract more interest. Spin-the-wheel pop-ups that allow customers to “spin” to unlock their discount percentage is a fun way to interact with customers, and many enjoy the gamified experience.

Exit pop-ups

If you’ve ever visited an ecommerce store and moved your mouse to navigate to another tab, you may have seen one of these pop-ups. Exit pop-ups trigger when customers try to leave your website and are a great way to grab a customer’s attention.

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Shopify pop-up best practices checklist

At the most basic level, a Shopify pop-up provides a call-to-action that entices potential customers. The right type of pop-up can increase your ecommerce store’s conversion rate, but this is only possible if you check off all six items on the checklist below.

1) Entice buyers with a value add

The offer you present in your pop-up should be useful to your target buyers. But the only way for you to create the right offer is to truly get to know who your buyers are and what interests them.

Here’s an example from one of our clients, a luxury candle brand. Below is the pop-up they used to collect email addresses from web visitors. The pop-up didn't include an incentive — there was no appeal to the “what’s in it for me?” for the target buyer.

We recommended that the client use the pop-up to present the buyer with a chance to win something. They changed their pop-up to invite website visitors to enter their email address for the chance to win a free candle.

The results speak for themselves. The conversion rate increased by 4.5%, moving from 2.5% to 7%! The offer worked because it related to something that interested buyers and it invited them to participate in a challenge.

Challenges aren’t the only way to provide buyers with what interests them. There’s also the age-old tactic of using discount codes. Another one of our clients, a Shopify store that sells smart bottles, performed the following A/B/C/D test:

As the graph shows, the conversion rate increased proportionally with the discount.

In our experience, discount codes and sweepstakes work way better than freebies. Here’s a comparison of both options so you can choose the best for your brand:

2) Keep pop-ups short and sweet (like these pop-up examples)

The wording of your pop-up copy depends on both your offer and the type of pop-up you‘re using (exit pop-up, sales pop-up, discount pop-up, etc.). Regardless of the type of pop-up you use, it should follow what we call the SIP rule: short, impactful, and precise.

Here’s a fun example from United By Blue, a Shopify store that sells clothing and accessories. The pop-up is a wheel you can spin to get a special offer.

A Shopify pop-up from United by Blue offering a discount.
Source: United by Blue

We received a 15% off offer after spinning the wheel, but take a closer look at the wording on this pop-up.

The results of the pop-up wheel: 15% off!

The headline makes the offer clear:

  • The website visitor can then choose men’s clothing, women’s clothing, or both. Giving website visitors this choice helps with audience segmentation so that future offers are relevant to the user.
  • There’s a prompt to input an email address which is followed by a clear CTA that once again reminds the website visitor of the precise offer.

Here’s another example from BLK & Bold, a Shopify store that sells specialty coffee.

A Shopify pop-up from BLK & Bold offering 15% off the shopper's first order.
Source: BLK & Bold
  • The headline clearly states the value of the offer — a 15% discount on the buyer’s first order.
  • The short text that follows further explains the value of signing up for their email list — the buyer will receive exclusive offers via email.

Short. Impactful. Precise.

Note: Your pop-ups should always provide a clear option for people to opt in to receive newsletters and promotional emails from your brand. Otherwise, you run the risk of breaching data protection laws such as the GDPR.

3) Create a compelling image

The team at Drip analyzed over 1 billion pop-ups and discovered that pop-ups with images convert better than pop-ups without images by 83.57%. Images used for online store pop-ups should either showcase the brand’s products in an interesting way or paint a picture of what the website visitor wants to achieve after using the product.

Let’s look at an example from Fresh Heritage, a Shopify store that sells grooming products and supplements.

A Shopify pop-up offering a discount for giving a phone number.
Source: Fresh Heritage

The image used here features a man with a well-groomed beard — something Fresh Heritage's customers would want to achieve for themselves.

Here’s another example of creative use of imagery:

Here, Mavi uses a pop-up bar with a visual that stands out and provides depth.

The bottom line is that relevant images make your pop-ups stand out more and entice potential buyers to sign up for your offer.

4) Time your pop-up so that it isn’t intrusive

The same Drip study referenced above finds that pop-ups that display after eight seconds convert better than those that display before or after. However, remember that the timing of the pop-up itself won’t necessarily boost conversions for your ecommerce store — that largely depends on how well you can check off the boxes on this list.

There are also pop-ups that appear based on scroll triggers. The Drip study reveals that using 35% of a page as a scroll trigger works best for increasing conversion rates.

You can use the suggestions that the Drip study provides as your baseline, but conversion rates depend heavily on the nuances of your brand and the customers you serve. It’s best to do A/B testing so that you can optimize your pop-ups based on what works for your business.

5) Make sure your pop-up works well on mobile

Pop-ups convert better on mobile devices than they do on desktop devices. In a study conducted by OptiMonk, the average conversion rate for desktop pop-ups was 9.69% while the average conversion rate for mobile pop-ups was 11.07%. But there’s a catch: Mobile pop-ups only convert well when they’re optimized for use on those devices.

Here are some tips to optimize your pop-ups for mobile devices:

  • Ensure the pop-up doesn’t cover more than 30% of the page.
  • Use only one or two pop-up form fields.
  • Use the best types of pop-ups for mobile devices. Three of the best options are the floating pop-up, slidebox pop-up, and featured pop-up.
  • Make it easy for the website visitor to close the pop-up.
  • Ensure the CTA button and exit button are easy to click.
  • Limit image sizes to less than 100KB (or don’t use images at all).

Here’s an example of a mobile-friendly pop-up from Romwe that incorporates these principles:

6) Create different pop-ups for different actions and events

Don’t limit yourself to one type of pop-up. It’s best to strategically use pop-ups throughout your website so that you can better capture your website visitors’ data. A typical shopping experience includes multiple opportunities to display pop-ups. Here are a few examples:

  • Display a simple email bar on the homepage.
  • Create a specific exit-intent pop-up for visitors exiting a product page that offers a discount.
  • Create a pop-up that appears only on out-of-stock items to encourage your visitors to subscribe to your restock alerts.
  • Create a cart abandonment pop-up on the cart page.

Here’s an example of this strategy in action on the Christy Dawn website. Notice that the website displays an email bar on the first page a visitor views.

original And if this visitor doesn’t subscribe, the store displays this complementary pop-up (you’ll notice the different wording) on out-of-stock product pages.

Note: Be sure not to display pop-ups on every page of your website. This creates an intrusive experience for website visitors — and that‘s something that search engines will penalize you for.

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Related: Learn how to climb search results with our Shopify SEO guide.

The 7 best Shopify pop-up apps

The pop-up checklist described above is only as good as the app used to create the pop-ups. Here are our picks for some of the best pop-up builder apps on the market to add to your ecommerce tech stack — all available in the Shopify app store.

1) SmartPopup: Promotion Popup

SmartPopup is a user-friendly pop-up builder designed to help ecommerce store owners connect with website visitors, collect leads, and increase sales. The tool has a great collection of prebuilt pop-up templates that make the setup process easy: newsletters, videos, coupons, product-specific, countdown timers, and automatic discounts.

Pros

  • Offers a truly free plan with basic features
  • Fast setup
  • Customizable for those familiar with code

Cons

  • Some reports of problems with the tool’s mobile version
  • Free plan features are limited
  • Reported issues with late or unhelpful responses from support

2) Pixelpop Popups & Banners

Pixelpop is a tool built by Orbit. Like other email pop-up tools, Pixelpop helps brands collect email addresses from leads so they can be nurtured through your brand’s email marketing campaigns.

Pros

  • Pixel Union offers premium customer support
  • Easy-to-use promotional bar
  • Intuitive and customizable

Cons

  • Some reports of slow responses from customer support
  • Overly complicated for some users; support needed to use custom themes
  • Klaviyo integration doesn’t work for some users

Related: Our list of 150+ of the best tools for ecommerce.

3) Quick Announcement Bar

Quick Announcement Bar is a message bar app that Shopify store owners can use to quickly post announcements on their websites — no coding required. Broadcast a free shipping bar, or a bar that displays important information and special offers.

Pros

  • Bars can be set to display only on certain pages, or only to users from specific countries
  • Multiple bar rotation allows multiple bars to display every few seconds
  • Animated CTA button to grab user’s attention
  • Multiple language translations available

Cons

  • Only one pop-up option (the announcement bar)
  • Placement limitations

4) Pop! Sales & Live Activity Pop

Pop! Sales & Live Activity Pop creates automatic sales notification pop-up windows that make your store look busy without obstructing the customer experience. It’s great for building trust with prospects who are on the fence about purchasing a product — seeing that someone else recently purchased something triggers a fear of missing out (FOMO).

Pros

  • Shows real-time purchases to help boost conversion rates and social proof
  • Customizable designs and advanced CSS in paid plans for easy, consistent branding
  • Quick, smooth setup process

Cons

  • Not great for new sellers with low traffic (you will be charged if you go over 100 web visitors a month, whether it’s real people or bots)
  • Multiple reports of unauthorized charges
  • Slow responses from customer support

5) Promolayer

Promolayer doesn’t only offer basic pop-up templates — there’s a full suite of exciting options that will help your website stand out such as banners, spin-to-wins, full screen welcome mats, exit offers, and slide-ins.

Pros

  • Easy to customize
  • Ability to run A/B tests without affecting Google Optimize data
  • Built-in spellchecker to ensure your pop-ups are well represented

Cons

  • Reports of some minor glitches, but the main pop-ups work well

6) Email Pop Ups & Exit Popups

Email Pop Ups & Exit Popups by OptiMonk is a pop-up app that focuses on helping Shopify store owners grow and meet their goals. With this app, you can build intuitive and attractive pop-ups for web and mobile that help you convert more visitors and collect quality feedback along the way.

Pros

  • Quick and professional customer service
  • Over 30 intelligent targeting and triggering options
  • A/B testing
  • Free version available

Cons

  • Hard to customize without a developer, support, or coding experience
  • No customization options on spin-the-wheel function
  • Somewhat confusing setup process

Pricing

  • Free: Free
  • Essential: $29/month
  • Growth: $79/month
  • Premium: $199/month

7) Privy

Privy is an ecommerce marketing platform that helps ecommerce store owners manage their marketing with ease. One of the best features of this platform is that it incorporates both SMS and email marketing.

Pros

  • Simple to setup and track SMS marketing
  • Easily build automation triggers based on website visitor behavior
  • Great for sending messages to customers for abandoned cart recovery

Cons

  • Complaints of limited reporting capabilities
  • Have to export data to assess how email campaigns are performing
  • More complicated than some alternatives; users report a bit of a learning curve
  • Not many options for post-purchase emailing

Related: Our list of the best apps for Shopify merchants.

Chat campaigns: A less intrusive conversion tool

One major hangup that stops ecommerce owners from implementing pop-ups is that they can feel intrusive. While effective pop-ups can certainly be an art and a science, Gorgias’ pop-up chat campaigns can be a softer way to interact with customers — and they don’t feel as intrusive as full-screen pop-ups.

With Gorgias’ chat campaigns , you can reach out to customers to proactively ask for support: “What can I help you with?”

You can also set up campaigns that reach out to customers at key moments to incentivize a purchase. For example, if a customer lingers on a product page, you can send them a specialized discount code. If they linger with items in their cart, your chat pop-up could remind them that you have free shipping and a generous return policy. Here’s a page for more information.

Boost your Shopify conversions with Gorgias

There’s a lot of ways to improve your Shopify store’s conversion rate. Pop-ups are one of the best ways to make this possible — they’re like the carrot dangling in front of a rabbit and leading it to where you want it to go.

As your conversion rates increase through your pop-ups, you‘ll need a more robust customer support strategy. This is where Gorgias steps in. Our helpdesk and live chat features integrate well with Shopify stores and help you better organize and manage customer queries.

Learn more about how we can help you provide amazing customer experiences.

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