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How to Use Exit Intent Technology to Convert Abandoning Visitors into Customers

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According to Baymard Institute an average of 65% of all shopping carts are abandoned without online shoppers ever completing their transaction. It’s also believed that overall website abandonment is right around 70%-90%.

Visitor abandonment is one of the most frustrating obstacles for online merchants.

Businesses spend a great deal of time and money building their online presence and bringing in traffic. In fact, the trend of spending more on online marketing continues to rise. This makes it even more discouraging to know that you’ve peaked visitor interest, paid to get them to your site, and persuaded them to add an item to their cart—only to have the cart abandoned and to never hear from the visitor again.

The numbers are staggering and a great deal of research is being done to better understand how, when, and why visitor abandonment occurs.

Other than using re-targeting techniques, it’s been very difficult for merchants to keep visitors from abandoning their websites or to get them back once they have.

The statistics are discouraging, but one technology is changing the game for merchants who are losing sales to visitor abandonment.

Introducing Exit Intent Technology

Exit-Intent is a relatively new technology that is able to detect the moment visitors are about to abandon a website. It detects mouse movements and the velocity of those mouse movements and presents a last moment incentive just as visitors are about to leave.

This last moment incentive gives merchants one final chance to re-engage abandoning visitors and to bring them back on board.

Without exit-intent in place, visitors disappear permanently.  With it, merchants get a second chance at closing a sale.

Even prominent names in online marketing understand the effectiveness of getting one last opportunity for a call to action in front of abandoning visitors. Neil Patel, for one, used a last moment exit-intent incentive and increased his contact conversions by 46%.

Neil Patel - Exit Intent Technology & Conversions

 

Without it in place he would have completely lost the opportunity to make contact with those visitors.

Rooster offers a multi-functional exit-intent solution that seems to be working well at re-engaging visitors and bringing tem back onboard.

Following is the success story of how it helped one emerging business reduce skepticism about it’s unique product.

Case Study:  XeroShoes Converts Abandoning Visitors Into Buyers

After experiencing a number of running injuries and heeding the advice from a friend regarding the benefits of barefoot running, Steven Sashen created a unique line of footware known as barefootware.

Barefootware simulates the experience of being barefoot with it’s special design. Being so unique, Steven suspected that visitors would be skeptical. So he implemented that fact into his website strategy. He decided to educate skeptical visitors that were in the process of abandoning.

Just as it was detected that visitors were abandoning his site, Steven presented them with the opportunity to download a special report that defined the benefits of being barefoot.

Xero Shoes - Exit Intent

 

The tactic worked, helping visitors to understand the medical benefits of being barefoot which turned abandoning visitors into buyers.

2.5% of those who were abandoning Steven’s site went on to download the report. Out of those who downloaded the report, 28.4% went on to make a purchase on the Xeroshoes website.

Exit-Intent can be used in multiple ways to re-engage abandoning visitors and to convert them into sales. Presenting discount codes, free ebooks and courses, social media sharing, and shopping cart reminders are just a few ways merchants are using the technology to keep visitors from leaving. Any creative idea you dream up can be used as a strategy to help re-engage visitors and to save the sale from being lost.

Conclusion

Before exit-intent, there was little online merchants could do to keep abandoning visitors from leaving.  Today, merchants have one last chance to re-engage abandoning visitors and to convert them into a sale.

With the increasing amount of money merchants are investing with their online marketing efforts to drive traffic, it only makes sense to try and retain these visitors because losing them forever is costly.

Rather than just watching a high percentage of visitors walk away, it’s definitely worth implementing exit-intent technology to keep visitors on your site a little bit longer in order to close more sales.

Do you have any questions about how to implement exit-intent technology to increase conversions on your site? Leave a comment, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

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  • Who can deploy exit intent for me ?

    • I’m not sure, but checking out BounceExchange and Rooster is a good start.

  • We have implemented a similar idea using a different product (Pudsys RDE, a real time recommendation engine) for a online fashion dealer here in Germany, recently. The result has been so overwhelming, that we double.checked all kinds of analytics. But it held true. 4% of the visitors have been offered an incentive (those who been estimated most critical to leave without buying). This group generated 25% of the turnover. Our client’s CTO and I have been presenting at this year’s internet world in London. The slides are on slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/berndburkert/internet-world-2014handout

  • I’ve been approached by similar companies offering to maximize my traffic exits, either offering to convert them on a commission, or a monthly service fee…

    What I don’t understand is how you get around Adwords and Bing’s guidelines for popups when using this tactic. My understanding is that you simply can’t.

    Are they only using these strategies on Organically-driven sites? Or have they found some work-a-round for Paid Traffic?

    • Hi Jakup, great question, and I’m not sure about the answer. I’ll ask around to see if anyone else knows. If not, hopefully a blog reader will be able to answer.

  • Hi Jakub,

    That’s a great question.

    If you look at the Google AdWords ToS you’ll see the following lines:

    Promotions or content that are unnecessarily difficult or frustrating to navigate
    Examples: Websites with pop-ups or interstitial ads that interfere with the user’s ability to see the content requested;…

    and further on:

    We consider a pop-up to be any window, regardless of content, that opens in addition to the original window. Here are some examples:
    * Timed pop-ups
    * Self-closing pop-ups
    * Intermittent pop-ups
    * Pop-ups generated from the ad itself
    * Download pop-ups
    * Pop-unders
    * Interstitial ads

    The key here is the phrase “any window … that opens in addition to the original window.” Most exit-intent popups (including Rooster’s) launch as an in-content overlay instead of creating a new window. By doing so we avoid making it unnecessarily difficult or frustrating to navigate and because the popup is only shown when the user is already abandoning the site we also don’t interfere with a user’s ability to see the site content.

    In fact Google goes on to describe content overlays and interstitials generated by tools like Rooster and Bounce Exchange and explicitly says they are acceptable.

    We allow interstitial pages without ads, as long as they don’t hinder a user from exiting a site. Though similar to a pop-up, an acceptable interstitial is a type of graphic that appears within the landing page instead of opening a new browser window, and it does not hinder a user exiting a site.

    Here’s a cool article on the science behind exit intent overlays and why they are actually useful for the user as opposed to the popups Google is worried about.

    Cheers,
    Yosem Sweet
    CTO – Rooster

    • Thanks for a thorough and helpful answer, Yosem.

  • visitlead

    Great tool!
    Also we from visitlead offer it, together with several other awesome features (CoBrowsing, Tracking, Live Chat, Dynamic Content, …)

    All features to increase website efficiency, reducing bounce rate and generating online leads.

    Check it out at https://visitlead.com

  • Sarah

    Ah controversial pop ups! Very interesting post. Recently, my live chat provider started offering an exit intent widget so I decided to give it a try and I have to say that they are very effective. A must have! https://visitlead.com/features

  • Juan Mendoza

    Nice article. Very insightful.

    I have to agree that visitor abandonment is one of the most frustrating obstacles for online merchants. Being an online seller since 2007, I know how hard it is to see people leaving your website without buying anything and even, with items added into the cart. It really hurts.

    I’ve been testing a couple of solutions lately. Now I use this exit intent technology (http://www.picreel.com). Not only that it lets you show killer offers at the last moment but exit intent is exceptionally awesome at collecting data from your customers (or even visitors) via surveys.

    Rooster is new for me though, I’d definitely check it out.