How to create Pop-up ideas that are not discounts?


When you go to an online store website, what is the worst thing that you can see there? Most people will say a pop-up, they're so annoying, right? Most of them are, and 9 out of 10 times it's always the same "Here's a discount. Now give me your email address" it always goes something like, "Save 10% on your first order when you subscribe." And yes, this approach works, but most brands with this type of pop-up get a 3 percent subscribe rate, if they're lucky, oftentimes lower. So if you want more people opting into your list, you have to be a bit more creative than that, there's some pop-up ideas that are not just a simple discount, you can start using today.

1. Yes/No pop-ups

Before I was in e-commerce, I actually used to see and use this type of pop-up a lot and I think it's less common in e-commerce because for a long time, the pop-up tools that e-commerce stores used didn't support this functionality, but nowadays, you can totally make it happen with a lot of out of the box solutions out there and this approach converts really really well. 

So what you do is instead of asking people for their email right away, you'd ask them a Yes or No question first, and the reason this converts higher is because you're getting a micro-commitment. The person, first after they've said YES to your simple question, they're more likely to complete the next action when you're asking them for their email address. 

Here are some examples of Yes/No questions that you can ask: "Do you want access to a secret sale?" "Do you want a free gift with your purchase?" And it's more effective if you include the value of the free gift in your copy as well "Want free shipping on your order?" When people press yes, then you ask them to provide their email address.

2. Gamification pop-up

The most common example of a gamification pop-up is that fortune wheel. At some point, it was pretty popular on e-commerce stores, you don't have to do a wheel, though. There are lots of ways that you can adopt that idea:

  • Spin the wheel to get gift
  • Scratch card to reveal the prize hidden behind it
  • Slot machine play slot machines for a chance to win prizes.
  • Trivia quizzes are like answering trivia questions related to your product to get points

So if you implement this, test to see if the increase in the engagement offsets the lower conversion rates from your leads.

3. Free gift with purchase

If you don't want to offer a discount, then you can offer a gift with a purchase. It doesn't have to be anything expensive, but rather something sweet and memorable for your customers. Some sample products also work well, we have run lots of tests testing the free gift with purchase versus a discount in pop-ups and to be honest, the results are always different depending on the brand, that means that it's super important to test what works for your audience. A/B testing pop-ups is one of the highest leverage tests that you can do in e-commerce, so make sure that you utilize your pop-up platform for that.

4. Free digital content

Free gifts don't have to come as physical products but free digital content is great because it doesn't cut into your margin. If you run an A/B test and test the free digital gift with a free actual gift or a discount, and the free digital gift converts as well as the discount or better, then it's a win on all fronts, and it provides an opportunity to educate your audience. 

Take the beginner guide idea related to your brand and offer it to your customers, for example, if you own a clothing brand write instructions on how to launder clothes by fabric type or a guide on how to care for the clothes in a more sustainable way. If you sell food or drink, a recipe book is a great idea and when it comes to pregnancy or baby products, there's a ton of helpful guides and eBooks that you can come up with. The main thing is to provide your customers with valuable information and that will help you grow your email list.

5. Free shipping

Free shipping is practically offering a discount without offering a straight discount, you take the delivery expenses on yourself. I personally don't love this approach because at this point most shoppers have come to expect free shipping and they don't perceive it as additional value and I prefer to have a minimum purchase required for free shipping anyway to keep my average order value high, but it's still an option to try, it might work well for your brand, you never know until you try and test.

6. Full-screen pop-up

These are also sometimes called Welcome mats and yeah, they can be a little bit annoying and they can lead to higher bounce rates on your website but with the pop-up taking up the whole screen, visitors don't have the choice to simply ignore it, so this can also lead to higher engagement rate. 

If you do choose to try welcome mats, I recommend adding a sufficient time delay and perhaps also other display rules so that the pop-up doesn't appear immediately upon load. If you show it to visitors who are ready to engage with something like a full-screen pop-up, your submit rate will go up.

I've tested this type of pop-up with a couple of e-commerce brands and the conversion rates were actually pretty high, so before using it make sure you have tested it first.