For ecommerce sites, improving conversion rates is the name of the game. Finding more ways to convert visitors to buyers helps you make the most of the money you spend on driving traffic to your site. By improving your conversion rates, you spend less to make each sale.

Increasingly ecommerce sites are turning to popups as a way of converting visitors into buyers. According to 30% of the Top 1000 US ecommerce sites uses popups – 22% are using entry popups, 14% are using exit popups, 6% are using both!

At OptiMonk we’re pioneering the use of exit-intent technology in ecommerce. Exit-intent technology is an innovative tool that allows you to target customers right as they are leaving your site. Here’s how it works:

When your visitors try to back out of your site, close the window, or click on a link in their favorites, a popup shows at just the right moment. This exit intent popup gives you one more chance to convert your visitors into buyers. You can display a special offer or give your visitors an incentive to complete their purchase.

Let’s take a closer look at how exit-intent technology can improve conversion rates on your ecommerce site.

1. You Get a Second Chance to Convert

When the exit-intent popup engages, it means your visitor is trying to leave your site. Unfortunately, someone is leaving your site because your initial attempt at conversion has failed. Without exit-intent technology, your visitor would leave without signing up for your email list or buying your product.

Of course, he or she might return sometime in the future. That is true. However, it’s more likely that you have spent money on marketing to bring this visitor to your site and they are leaving without making a purchase. Your chance to convert this prospect into a customer has vanished.

On the other hand, exit-intent technology gives you a second chance to convert fleeing prospects.

You can approach this second chance in a few different ways:

  1. Reinforce your original sales message and call to action
  2. Change to a different message or offer
  3. Capture contact information

If you choose the first approach, you can restate your original message in different terms. Hopefully, by explaining your offer in a different way, you can convince your visitors to rethink their decision to leave.

Using the second approach, you change the message entirely. The thinking here is that the original method failed to convert this visitor, so a different approach might work. For example, if your original message focused on price, your “second-chance message” might focus on the benefits of your product.


The third approach is often the most effective. By capturing your visitor’s email address or other contact information, you now have the opportunity to market to your visitor over the long-term at little or no cost. This approach is worth exploring on its own in our next section.

2. You Can Build Your Subscriber List

Email marketing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing strategies for ecommerce sites. Customers who give you permission to email them information are an important asset. A strong email list gives you the opportunity to market every month to people who have already showed an interest in your products. This is a win-win, you get low cost marketing over the long-term, and your customers get information about products and offers that interest them.

From our research, asking a visitor to signup for your list before they are about to leave your site is highly effective. On the average ecommerce site, exit-intent technology can:

  • Achieve signup rates of between 3% and 5%
  • Boost this to 10% or more by offering a free e-book, special report, or coupon
  • Convert between 9% and 10% by offering incentives

This is a considerable improvement in conversion rate when you consider how little time it takes to get started with exit-intent technology. You can get exit-intent software up and running on your ecommerce site in almost no time. Beyond the immediate boost in conversion rates, building your subscriber list gives you the chance to convert more visitors to buyers over the long run.


3. You Can Instantly Recover an Abandoned Shopping Cart

A big problem these days in ecommerce is cart abandonment. The most frustrating figures to review are the number of visitors who add items to their cart but don’t complete checkout on your site. Using exit-intent technology to recover abandoned carts is another way you can improve your conversion rates.

The moment a visitor tries to leave your site and abandon a shopping cart without completing checkout, you get a chance to convince them to complete their purchase. The best way to do this is by offering some type of incentive or discount to complete checkout. This could be free shipping or a discount coupon. We’ve seen examples where popups of this type are successful about 10% of the time. However, by not requiring buyers to input an email address, you can see rates as high as 15%.


4. You Can Recommend Other Products

When a visitor leaves your site without converting, most likely they have not found what they are looking for, and plan to look somewhere else. Exit-intent technology gives you a great opportunity to redirect these visitors to additional content or a featured product. The featured product could be a best seller that’s popular with a wide-range of your customers, or a new product offering you want people to see.

“Oh, I see you are about to leave,” your popup can say. “If this product doesn’t stir your hot cocoa, perhaps you’d like to learn more about THIS….” Then you can redirect your visitor to another sales offer or to your featured product. This is a great way to keep visitors on your site and make sure that everyone who visits your site sees a featured product or new offering.

5. You Can Test Your Messages

Exit-intent technology can also help you improve your conversion rates by understanding which messages work best for your customers. Running A/B tests using exit-intent popups is a quick and effective way to test your existing marketing messages and new ways of connecting with your customers.

Traditional methods of A/B testing are time-consuming and expensive. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to build different landing pages and drive traffic to those pages. That’s all before the most important part, checking the results to see the relative effectiveness of the messages on each page.


A/B testing with exit-intent popups lets you discover which of your marketing messages is most effective, and thereby improve your conversion rates, with very little effort or preparation. You can think of popups as mini landing pages on your site. Use them to test new product offerings, discount offers, rewards, and more.

With the OptiMonk platform we’ve developed, you don’t need separate software for A/B testing! We’ve built this feature into our exit-intent technology for ecommerce site owners. It’s easy to create a variant and start A/B testing after you’ve created your first popup. We make it easy to A/B test, so you get to focus on measuring the results, the most important part of the process.

Exit-intent technology is part of an innovative set of tools used by ecommerce sites to increase their conversion rates. With five different ways to boost your conversion rates, and proven results, it’s a great way to make more sales now and in the long-term.

Author bio: Csaba Zajdo is the founder of OptiMonk and several other projects specializing in conversion. OptiMonk is one of the most powerful lead generation tools in the world, leveraging the power of Exit Intent Popups.