Popups have a bad reputation. They're often seen as an annoyance that gets in the way and disrupts the user experience. But used correctly, they can be a powerful tool for ecommerce brands to get customers to take action.

Popups are your gateway to more subscriber list growth, increased cart values, and more paying customers.

The key is to create popups for different customer segments instead of showing the same popup to everyone. That means personalizing popups to display relevant content based on shoppers' browsing history and customer status. For example, whether they're first-time visitors or returning customers. Or whether or not you have their contact information already.

So it's worth looking at the different types of popups ecommerce brands can use, the triggers that cause them to show up, and the goals they can help achieve.

What is an ecommerce popup?

An ecommerce popup is a type of marketing campaign that appears when a user visits your ecommerce website.

Typically, ecommerce popup campaigns appear on top of or adjacent to a website's content. And they're designed to capture attention and encourage visitors to take action, such as signing up for an email or SMS list or making a purchase.

Types of ecommerce popups

There are three primary types of ecommerce pop ups that brands can use to achieve their goals.


Overlay popups are one of the most common types of ecommerce pop up. They appear in the center of the screen and can either be full-screen or take up part of the center of the screen. Popups that take up part of the screen sometimes blur or darken the background. And the website visitor must dismiss the popup to use the website.


Hook popups are less intrusive than overlay pop ups. They appear at the bottom of the screen, much like you'd expect a chat window to pop up. It's usually a small rectangle that the customer can take action on or dismiss if they'd like but it still allows them to use the website without taking any action.


Slide-in popups are the least intrusive type of popup. They start as a small button or widget with some teaser text on the side or corner of the website. When a shopper clicks on it, the whole message slides into view.

For example, the widget copy might read "10% off." When the site visitor clicks on it, they're prompted to give their email address or phone number to obtain discount codes.

Ecommerce popup triggers

There are several kinds of triggers an ecommerce store can use to display their popups based on a customer's actions.

Entry popup

These popups appear immediately after a visitor arrives on your site. They're often used to welcome new customers with something like a discount on their first purchase or welcome back existing customers with personalized offers.

Timed delay trigger

Popups can be displayed based on a specific time interval, such as after 30 seconds on the website or a particular page. This can allow shoppers to take in a website's content before bombarding them with a message.

Scroll point trigger

Scroll point triggers are a great way to deliver a relevant popup based on the content a customer is viewing. Banana Republic has a great ecommerce popup example to illustrate this. Their add-to-cart popup appears when a customer reads the reviews section on a product page.

Click trigger

Popups can also be triggered when a customer clicks a specific link or button. This could be useful if you only want to show certain popups based on customer interest instead of all visitors.

Add to cart popup

Ecommerce brands can use add-to-cart triggers to display popups when a customer has added a product to their shopping cart. This could be used to encourage them to finalize their purchase with free shipping or discounts. Or it could be to increase cart value with cross-sell and upsell offers.

Exit intent popup

An exit intent trigger displays a popup when a customer moves their cursor toward the address bar of their browser window -- indicating that they might be about to close the window or switch tabs. This allows ecommerce brands to offer discounts or additional product information before a customer leaves the site.

Ecommerce popup examples by goal

There are six essential popups that can help brands achieve goals such as subscriber list and revenue growth.

Welcome survey popup

Welcome survey popups are a great way to get insight into new customers you still need to get information on. And they can give you the information you need to guide a customer to the right location on your website.

For example, you might ask a question like, "What brought you to the website today?" and list out some options:

  • Looking for a specific product

  • Want to purchase a gift for someone else

  • Just browsing

  • Contact customer service

Based on their response, you could send them to a product recommendation quiz, a collection of popular gift items, or to a page where they can contact your customer support team.

Email & SMS subscription popup

Subscriber list growth is essential to ecommerce success, and a subscriber signup popup is one of the most effective ways to build your email and SMS lists. Offer a discount, gift, or exclusive content as an incentive to earn that signup.

Grow your SMS and email lists fast with Emotive.

Quiz popup

Quizzes are a great way to learn about your customers' interests while helping them find a product that suits them. You can then use this information in future marketing campaigns to send personalized offers or product recommendations that match the shopper's preferences.

Cart abandonment popup

If you want to increase your ecommerce revenue, one of the best things you can do is recover lost sales. A cart abandonment popup can give customers an extra incentive to complete their purchase by offering a discount (perhaps with a countdown timer, so they know the offer is limited) or free shipping. Or it can highlight social proof to make a purchase more enticing.

Cross-sell & upsell popup

A cross-selling or upselling popup allows ecommerce brands to boost cart values. A cross-sell offer would include complementary products to what is already in a customer's cart. For example, if a customer is purchasing underwear with a unique pattern, you might offer them a matching pair of socks.

An upsell offer would showcase a premium version of an item in a shopper's cart. For example, if a customer is buying a mattress, you could highlight the benefits of upgrading to a higher-tier one.

Product recommendation popup

E-commerce brands can use product recommendation popups to offer a selection of relevant products that the customer may be interested in. Use customer data such as browsing history and past purchases to show products they're likely to enjoy.

Support on-site marketing with SMS

Popups are a great way to engage shoppers on your website. But nobody's going to hang out there all day! So it's essential to grow your email and SMS subscriber lists so you can reach customers proactively to build relationships.

Emotive's powerful automation tools help you grow your subscriber lists, segment your audience, and engage them through targeted messages and conversational texts.

Want to learn more about how Emotive's best-in-class SMS marketing software can boost your marketing efforts? Book a demo to talk to an SMS expert.