Tell me if this sounds familiar: You visit an e-commerce site and see a newsletter popup asking you to join an email list that you’re already on.

Next, you’re notified about a sale in women’s shoes, even though you were heading towards men’s clothing. And when you’re about to exit, you’re offered free shipping on purchases over $100 when your empty cart is nowhere near that amount.

That’s what your average e-commerce popup experience looks like, and it likely results in you leaving a store empty-handed, never to return.

While spending a lot of time and resources on email flows, automations, and ad sequences, most e-commerce marketers fail to align their website popups with the buyer’s journey.

But that changes today.

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a popup for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

From a first-time visitor to a returning customer, you’ll learn how to create a popup that nudges each user down the funnel. That way, you can get more subscribers and buyers, without annoying your website visitors.

Part 1: First-Time Visitors

Most website visitors fail to convert on their first visit. This isn’t new knowledge.

With the ever-rising number of e-commerce sites, today’s online shoppers have endless options. They need time to look into your return policy, examine if your store is trustworthy, and compare your prices with others.

But this doesn’t mean that they’ll forget about your store after their first visit. Not if you keep yourself top-of-mind with remarkable emails and irresistible offers.

To do that, you need to capture your visitors’ emails with relevant popups. There are three foolproof ways to do that.

Choose the one that best fits you, run them for different periods, or test them against each other.

1. Giveaway Popups

One of the most effective list building techniques is on-site giveaways. When done correctly, giveaways help you get email subscribers who are interested in your products and want to hear about your future offers.

If you don’t want to offer discounts on every signup, giveaway popups should be your go-to email capture tool.

For your giveaway to be effective and to avoid attracting freebie-seekers, offer a relevant prize such as store credit or one of your top products.

Here’s how your giveaway popup might look:

Notice a few key elements in this popup:

  • A benefit-driven headline focusing on your chance to win a bestseller (read: social proof);
  • A product image to make the prize more appealing;
  • Clear instructions on how to join the giveaway; and
  • One input field that increases your chances of signing up.

While the points above make the perfect recipe for creating a high-performing giveaway popup, the star of this popup is the countdown timer.

By using a countdown timer in your giveaway popups, you not only state when the competition ends, but you also drive urgency. This way, your visitors know that they need to sign up before the time runs out, or else they’ll miss out on a chance to win this amazing prize.


If you’re a Sleeknote insider, adding a countdown timer to your popups is as easy as dragging-and-dropping an element. Watch my colleague, Sofie, showing you how (along with a jaw-dropping result):

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2. Lead Magnet Popups

Many e-commerce brands refrain from content marketing, thinking that it’s time-consuming or irrelevant. That’s why the word “lead magnet” is almost exclusively associated with SaaS companies and bloggers. (Psst: We use them, too.)

To create valuable e-commerce lead magnets, however, you don’t necessarily need to start a blog or a YouTube channel.

Simply put together your expertise in a PDF file or, even better, collaborate with an expert to create a small guide. Next, use this free, valuable resource as a lead magnet in your popups and show them on relevant product pages.

Check out this example:

If I had a health and beauty store, I could, for example, create a free eBook on skincare (or work with an expert on it) and show this lead magnet popup only on relevant product pages. In this case, it could be organic or nature-based skincare product categories.

For apparel brands, a lead magnet can be a short guide on “how to find the perfect pair of jeans,” while for food and kitchenware stores, a “recipes for busy weekdays” PDF would work like a charm.

As long as you’re offering something valuable and relevant for your visitors, they’ll be willing to give their email address in exchange for it, and you’ll grow your email list with quality leads.

Pro Tip:

No matter what your incentive is, make sure to hide your email popups from your existing subscribers. With Sleeknote, it takes one click to do that.

3. Discount Popups

Discounting is a dangerous game. Offer it too often and your visitors will expect it all the time. But don’t use an incentive at all, and your signups will likely take a hit.

While many e-tailers choose to give an immediate discount code upon signup, that’s not your only option.

If you don’t want to discount your products or can’t afford to offer vouchers that’ll hurt your profit margins, you can collect emails with the promise of something more exclusive.

Say you’re planning to run a spring sale in a month or so. By using this upcoming sale as your anchor point, you can persuade your visitors with a VIP code that gives them an additional discount or early access to the sale.

This is what your discount popup could look like:

With a popup like the above, you can evoke a sense of exclusivity and grow an email list with subscribers who are ready to hear more about your offers.

If you want to segment your new subscribers, you could use a multistep popup, instead, and ask for more information in Step Two:

Once you ask for gender, location, interests, or skin type, as in the above example, you can target your new subscribers with more relevant offers and promote your products that fit their needs the best.

Pro Tip:

Multistep popups are ideal for collecting more visitor information without hurting your conversion rates. Plus, they’re super easy to set up. See this video where Morten shows how multistep works and shares a surprising fact:

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Part 2: Returning Subscribers

Now that you got the visitor’s email address, you can market to them with your emails. That’s why many e-commerce marketers assume that they’re done with popups from this point onward.

On the contrary, when a subscriber clicks a call-to-action (CTA) button in your emails and revisits your site, it’s only the beginning of a new stage in their buyer’s journey.

Since your goal is to nudge subscribers to make a purchase, your popups must help solve their problems, answer their questions, and guide them to the right products.

Here’s how.

4. Sales Announcement Popups

Whether you follow the VIP discount strategy from the previous section or not, your sales announcement popups should always highlight exclusivity when you’re showing them to existing subscribers.

With good popup copy and a subscriber-only discount code, you can nudge your returning subscribers to shop from your store even before your sales start. Just like this:

By giving early access to your subscribers, you not only appreciate and engage your email list, but also help them more easily complete their first purchase. This way, they can shop at a lower price without the risk of their favorites selling out. (And you manage to convert them into first-time buyers.)

If you’re already running subscriber-only email campaigns, make sure to support them with sales promotion popups and recreate that exclusivity in your copy.

Lastly, remember to set your popup to show only to existing subscribers, and you’re good to go.

Pro Tip:

Schedule your popups in advance while planning your seasonal sales. For instance, you can activate this subscriber-only popup ten days before the regular one goes live.

5. Contact Popups

Popups aren’t only for collecting emails or pushing discount codes to your visitors.

When used right, popups can help solve your visitors’ problems and remove obstacles to buying. With a well-timed contact popup, you can offer help when needed and guide your visitors to better buying decisions.

The problem with most contact popups, though, is they make promises stores can’t fulfill. If your popup invites visitors to reach out for help anytime (although your customer service team is done for the day), they’ll likely turn to a competitor that can offer better assistance.

By creating two contact popups, one to show during office hours and another for nights and weekends, you can easily solve this problem.

Since expert help is often needed for complex or high-end products, such as workout equipment, custom-made furniture, or software, you can create a simple popup like the one below and show them on relevant product pages:

While this popup invites visitors to call you during office hours, another one can guide prospects to leave their phone number and get a call once you’re back at the office:

It’s the perfect way to improve your visitors’ shopping experience and nudge your subscribers to move down your sales funnel.

Pro Tip:

Make sure to offer help at the right moment it’s needed. If a visitor scrolled down 35 percent of a product category page, they might need help choosing the best option. Add a scroll trigger to your popup and show it at the perfect moment.

6. Cart Abandonment Popups

You got a visitor’s email, given an incentive, and offered your help. Yet, the visitor is about to leave their cart without making a purchase. With cart abandonment rates hovering around 70 percent, you’re not the only one that experiences this.

When prospects are this close to making their first purchase, you can’t afford to let them go. And that’s when cart abandonment popups come into play.

For your cart abandonment popups to be persuasive, you need to pick a compelling incentive. If your message is simply “Don’t go, finish your order!” you may not sound convincing.

Since you already have the subscriber’s email address, your popup should focus on the incentive, be it a discount code, free shipping, or a giveaway entry to win their cart items.

Here’s an example of that:

With its FOMO-evoking copy and benefit-driven CTA, this popup invites visitors to stay on the site and complete their purchase.

Once visitors click the CTA to qualify for free shipping, you can show them a success message including a coupon they can redeem at checkout:

Now that your visitor committed to finishing their order by taking action (clicking the CTA,) they’ll be more likely to use the coupon code.

Pro Tip:

You can’t think of cart abandonment popups without exit-intent. With our exit-intent trigger, you can show your popup the moment a visitor is about to leave your site. Here, Onno shows how you can set it up with one click (plus, some fascinating stats you need to hear):

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Part 3: Returning Customers


You’ve gently nudged a first-time visitor into becoming a subscriber, and, eventually, a buyer. Now is your chance to convince them for another purchase when they’re back on your site.

Now that your returning customers know you well, you can also collect valuable insights from this segment, and learn how you can keep them coming for more.

Here are three must-have popups you should show to your returning customers.

7. New Arrival Popups

There are a million different ways to use product recommendations for your store. You can use them in your emails to invite subscribers back to your site, and in your popups to increase sales.

While bestsellers are typically ideal for helping new visitors get started (thanks to social proof), your returning customers need something else.

When those visitors are back in your store, they’d like to see what’s new since their last visit. And, more importantly, they’d like to be treated differently.

Welcome and wow your returning visitors with a new arrival popup that highlights exclusivity, just like this:

If you want to re-engage your returning customers, you might even add a discount code to your new arrival popup and show it only to them.

The bottom line is, make sure to recognize your existing customers through cookies or URL queries, and welcome them with a handpicked product collection or an incentive they’d like to see.

Pro Tip:

If you have a Shopify store, you can create custom collections and add them directly to your Sleeknote popups. (If not, we integrate with your favorite recommendation engines, too.)

8. Upsell Popups

Upselling is a tricky business. Do it at the wrong time to the wrong visitor, you’ll end up losing them forever. But upsell the right people at the right time, and you’ll get more revenue out of each order.

Returning customers are the ideal targets for upselling since they’re familiar with your store and they’ve already bought from you. Now, you can get a bit more salesy and ask them to spend even more.

The perfect moment to upsell is, unsurprisingly, after the customer adds a product to their cart. However, the secret is to upsell with highly relevant recommendations based on what’s already in their basket.

For instance, when a customer has cart items from the kitchenware category, valued over, say, $75, you can recommend cheaper products from the same category:

Since they’ve already made a bigger commitment, they’ll be more likely to comply with your offer and add more products to their carts.

Pro Tip:

With Sleeknote’s SiteData feature, you can show personalized upsell popups to each visitor based on what’s in their basket, how much they’re about to spend, what brands they’re interested in, and much more. Check out this page where we explain how you can use SiteData.

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9. Survey Popups

It’s a common challenge among e-commerce marketers. You want to get more customer feedback, but don’t want to shift customers’ focus away from your products.

The best time to survey your customers is, in fact, when they just made a purchase. Not only because it’s the moment when they’re most excited about their new buy, but also because they’ll be more likely to answer your questions at this moment.

According to Cialdini’s liking principle, we tend to say yes to the requests made by people we know and like. If a customer has bought from you, not only once but twice, they probably like you enough to say yes to a small favor.

Plus, they have more information about your store than any first-time visitor, so they can give you more valuable feedback.

Here’s what your post-purchase survey popup might look like:

If you want to increase your survey conversions, consider promising a free gift or a discount code customers can use in their next order. That way, you can also make them return to your store once again.

Pro Tip:

Use page-level targeting to make sure that your popup shows only on the success page of your checkout flow.


Your visitors are not the same. They’re in different places in their buyer’s journey.

Your job is to help them move to the next stage by removing any friction and helping them out throughout the way. And, as you saw today, website popups are the best tool to achieve that.

Copy these nine must-have popups in your e-commerce site and create your own flow today.
Whenever you need help, feel free to book a free call with one of my talented colleagues, and they’ll help you use popups on your site the best way possible.

The post 9 of the Best E-Commerce Popup Examples You Can Copy appeared first on Sleeknote.