How to use multiple popups on your Shopify site
Website popups wield a lot of power.
For one, they can be a huge boon to growing your email list — a major impetus to gathering ever-important first-party data.
What many Shopify owners fail to recognize is that popups can be much more than a tool for collecting subscribers. Want to offer free shipping on a special collection? Is your regionally focused brand a vendor at an upcoming festival? Website popups can magnify both, and much more.
You shouldn’t be afraid to use multiple popups on your website. But it’s got to be done judiciously. Cross a line and you won’t be in good graces with your visitors.
I’ll guide you through the process in strategizing a multi-popup plan, and help spark ideas with examples.
New to popups? Start by understanding the basics.
Create an experience with popups
Picture yourself walking into one of your favorite brick-and-mortar stores. Not a big-box store, but a more intimate shop with a smaller footprint, where you’re greeted by an employee.
What’s that experience like? Normally it’s something akin to, “Hey, how are you? Just so you’re aware, we’ve got a 50% off sale on all jeans.”
Different physical objects also help create a certain atmosphere that’s inviting, encouraging you to stick around. It’s why it’s one of your favorite shopping haunts.
Why not apply that same logic virtually? You want to emulate a one-to-one feel on your website as much as possible, without bombarding your visitors.
Develop a multi-popup plan
Viewing popups as just an add-on is a short-sighted view. When you see them as another avenue for your visitors to experience your brand, developing them takes a little extra care.
Follow these steps to get your multi-popup approach on the right track.
Step 1: Visualize the ideal experience
When imagining the experience you want to create, your current and potential customers’ needs should be at the forefront.
Use the questions below to evaluate how popups might serve both your visitors and your goals.
1. What problem am I trying to solve for my customers?
- My product is a one-of-a-kind, unique solution my customers crave
- My product is very in demand and my customers are eager, but price conscious
- My product adds joy and beauty to my customers
2. What friction points slow my customers down?
- The product might not “fit”
- The cost of shipping
- They won’t like the product
3. What motivates my customers most?
- How quickly they can get the product
- The products’ ingredients
Step 2: Pick from a list of website popup ideas
Thinking through your audience's needs helps you select the right website popup. Following is a list (not exhaustive) of popups other than the traditional email capture popup:
- Announcing a Shopify discount (free shipping, 10% off coupon)
- Promoting unique selling propositions, aka USPs (custom engraving, free returns)
- Touting events (sales, in-person events)
- Featuring a product (new product, limited-time product)
- Reducing abandonment (free shipping, 100% satisfaction guarantee)
Step 3: Map the journey
With needs and correlating website popups determined, let’s put it all together.
Think through the different pages on your website and what popups belong where. I don’t suggest a popup on each page. In fact, firing off as many as five website popups can be overwhelming and send your visitors fleeing.
Here are examples of popup types and their typical area of residence:
- Email popup → homepage
- USP reminder → product pages
- Exit intent → shopping cart
- Social media callout → about us
Be deliberate with popup timing and placement. Once you launch, check to ensure there are no overlaps or awkward experiences.
Sometimes you need a great example to understand how more than one website popup can go the extra mile. That’s why we searched for brands that are doing it.
I think these different journeys will help you visualize a path forward for your brand.
Email popup 1 + email popup 2
Perhaps the easiest way to implement multiple website popups is by creating one and then tweaking it. This is what Outdoor Voices does to grow its email list.
The initial email popup at left, plainly designed, promotes a 20% off discount when spending a minimal threshold of $100.
If you don’t respond and stay on the site for a while — I bounced around and visited a few pages — the second email popup (at right) appears. Inclusion of a colorful photo is definitely eye-grabbing. I can see how it might make the visitor think twice. (Extra points for the “no sweat” tie-in to the company’s workout essentials focus.)
Add some pop to your email popup by showing some personality! We found 7 examples that demonstrate how to do it.
Company news + email popup
When I visited Athletic Brewing Co.'s site for the first time, I expected an email signup popup to trigger somewhat immediately. Or at least after I scrolled down the homepage.
Not so. The first to appear was this small website popup, an announcement of their place within Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies list. That’s quite the accomplishment, so bravo to the brand for putting that front and center. I’m not sure you can establish a level of trust and authority any better way.
I poked around the site a little bit before I was welcomed by an attractive popup asking for my email. If you’re into cold brews by the pool — and saving money — then why would you not hand over your address?
Email popup + free shipping notice
After entering Glossier’s site, it doesn’t take long before you’re greeted with this look-at-me-now email signup popup. The photo certainly grabs your attention. I also like the bit of personality that shines through, thanks to emojis and the slipping in of a puppy mention.
Thereafter, I came across another website popup, but it was much smaller and simpler. This free shipping announcement may have been minimal, but it still caught my eye. Knowing about this offer could be the difference between landing a sale and not. One study shows 70% of consumers are willing to spend more to reach a deal on shipping.
Company communication + email + page guidance
Stay on bag maker Dagne Dover’s site long enough and you’ll experience a couple of different website popups.
Actually, two appeared almost immediately for me: a signup for their rewards program (an email popup promoting their newsletter) and a note about shipping delays.
I typically wouldn’t recommend this approach, as it can be off-putting. But the brand leaned on minimalism for essentially every popup aspect: design (extremely basic), sizing (on the smaller side), and positioning (in the upper right and lower right corners). It made for a relatively non-intrusive experience and therefore barely disrupted my site visit. But I still noticed them.
I encountered a larger website popup later. Now, this isn’t a typical popup in that it appeared only because I clicked on the “Almost Vintage” link within the site’s navigation bar, expecting to be taken to the section directly.
The thing about Almost Vintage is that it’s not a section, but a separate site housed on a different domain. So they tapped a website popup as the portal, using the real estate to explain their USP and pull at eco-friendly heartstrings. All the while, you knew you would be leaving Dagne Dover’s main site upon clicking.
Embrace more than one website popup
If you think more than one popup will put your visitors over the edge, I hope I’ve given you proof to reconsider that notion.
My general advice: be thoughtful about it. Think it through at a high level, focusing on what you want your visitors to experience and accounting for the needs they might have. At a minimum, email collection and exit-intent popups are a good place to start.
And remember that you should alter your website popups over time. Recall the beginning of this post when I asked you to imagine walking into your favorite store? The employee is going to greet you with the most relevant information, and the displays are going to change, to improve your shopping experience.
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