Reducing Bounce Rates with Smart Exit Intent Messaging

November 6, 2023
Rene Emery

Make sure your exit intent pop-up messaging is on point by understanding user behavior.

In a perfect world, every shopper who lands on your site finds their ideal product, makes a purchase, and becomes a lifelong customer. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an e-commerce utopia. The reality is that 43% of shoppers will leave your site before buying anything.

How can you entice those shoppers to come back and make a purchase? Exit intent popups.

Displaying a pop-up just as customers are about to leave gives you one last opportunity to change their minds.

exit-intent pop-up on moon juice site with $10 off and free shipping

Exit intent pop-ups can:

  • Increase conversion rates by 20%
  • Reduce cart abandonment 
  • Boost email subscriptions
  • Increase engagement

But to truly harness their power, you have to personalize your messaging based on the shopper’s behavior.

How do we do that? Let’s look at some common user behaviors and exit intent pop-up examples to use in these scenarios.

1. They’re Spending A Lot of Time on Product Pages, But Not Adding Anything to Their Carts

The beauty of e-commerce is that customers have more options than ever – but options can also be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, choice overload becomes a problem, or customers just don’t know what they want or need.

If a shopper is spending a lot of time on your product listing pages, hasn’t added anything to their cart, and intends to leave your site, there’s a good chance they’re having a hard time finding the right product.

What’s the solution? Invite them to take a quiz!

exit-intent pop-up that promotes a product recommendation quiz
An exit intent pop-up like this tells customers that you care about their experience and want to help them find the perfect product.

Show them a simple exit intent pop-up that connects to your quiz. Make sure your messaging:

  • Immediately conveys the value you offer – get straight to the point about what you’re offering (a quiz).
  • Is on-brand – use your brand’s voice and imagery.
  • Gives shoppers the option to say “No, thanks!”

Inviting customers to take your quiz is more effective than offering a discount code or free shipping. Why? 

Because your quiz addresses the real reason they’re not buying – indecisiveness. 

Product recommendation quizzes help shoppers find their perfect products based on their:

  • Personal preferences
  • Goals or needs
  • Sizes 
  • Budget

All they have to do is answer a few simple questions, and your quiz results page will show them a personalized list of product recommendations.

If a shopper has already spent a lot of time on your site looking for products, there’s a good chance they’ll invest a little more time in taking your quiz to find their ideal solution. And they’re highly likely to make a purchase once they get their results.

2. They’ve Added Items to Their Carts, BUT They’re Looking for Products to Meet the Free Shipping Threshold

Customers love free shipping, but the cost of offering this perk is a major challenge for merchants.

Adding a free shipping threshold can help offset these costs. Customers spend X amount of dollars, and shipping costs are waived.

Even customers are on board with this solution. An estimated 47% of consumers are willing to add products to their carts to meet free shipping thresholds.

The biggest challenge for customers? Finding the right products to meet the free shipping threshold.

If a shopper’s cart value is close to the free shipping threshold but they haven’t checked out, they may be looking for another product to score that shipping perk.

What’s the solution?

Make it as easy as possible to find the right product by:

  • Showing them how close they are to reaching the threshold
  • Displaying products that would help them get there

Here’s a great example of this type of exit intent messaging:

a pop-up with exit-intent messaging that promotes a free shipping threshold
This exit intent popup tells shoppers how much more they need to spend for free shipping and products that will help them qualify.

Make sure your messaging creates urgency and entices customers to continue their journey.

3. They’re Abandoning Their Carts

Shoppers spend time browsing your products, comparing items and going as far as adding items to their carts. But something happens along the way, and they never complete the purchase.

Worldwide cart abandonment was 69.82% in 2021, so in many cases, it’s not your fault a visitor clicked “X” and never completed their purchase.

So, what’s the issue?

Frugal Customers are Searching for a Coupon

Coupons generate sales. In fact, 86% of shoppers will try a new business just because they offered a coupon. Almost the same percentage of people (85%) will even give you their personal data if it means they’ll receive a discount in return.

It’s a win-win for you.

Coupons can help you:

  • Generate more sales
  • Build your email list

Hey, you: Worried about coupons impacting your profit margins? 38% of consumers spend more than expected when they use a coupon.

Solution: Offer a Coupon!

exit-intent pop-up with a coupon code for free shipping
This exit intent pop-up creates urgency and gives customers the discount they’re looking for.

You can use exit intent popups to show a coupon and close the deal. We recommend personalizing the pop-up.


Personalized coupons are unique to the customer and convert at higher rates than generic ones. For example, which message would resonate more with you?

  1. 20% off of your purchase
  2. Tired of your feet hurting after a long run? Here’s 20% off your next pair of running shoes. 

Most people would prefer the second message. Why? Because it’s personal and touches on their (literal) pain points. And at 20% off, can they really afford not to buy these shoes?

Exit intent messaging can help you proactively prevent cart abandonment with dynamic coupon codes that boost conversions.

Customers Have Sticker Shock and Don’t Want to Pay for Shipping

Sticker shock is very real when shopping online. You see a super cute plush toy for $38, and click buy. It’s the perfect gift for your nephew, whom you love to death. But then you reach the checkout page and have to pay:

  • $5.99 for shipping
  • $2 in taxes

Now the toy is over $45. You second-guess your purchase. Your customers may be feeling the same way.

Shipping costs can be a sticking point for shoppers. If the product is fragile, heavy, or large, shipping can easily cost $20 or more.

48% of online shoppers will abandon their carts because shipping costs are too high. Consumers are so averse to shipping costs that 78% will spend more to avoid it.

Solution: Offer a Free Shipping Coupon

free shipping pop-up that shows up on exit intent
Giving shoppers a limited-time free shipping offer can eliminate that last obstacle preventing them from making a purchase.

It’s that simple! You‘ll close more deals with coupons. If you don’t like the idea of free shipping, especially for smaller items with low profit margins, create thresholds and tell customers about it with your exit intent pop-up.

A simple pop-up that says “Spend $75 and receive free shipping” may be the exit intent messaging you need to convert more sales.

Customers are Waiting for Payday 

You see an item you love. You add it to your cart and plan on buying it on payday. Seems reasonable, right? People do this all the time.

The problem is:

  • The initial excitement fades, and they never purchase
  • They forget about the purchase
  • Other bills get in the way

Life happens. The person may intend to buy now, but that same intent may notl be there later.

So, what can you do?

Solution: Offer Coupon Codes, Create a Sense of Urgency, or Add a “Save to Cart” Button

Add a sense of urgency with a countdown timer.

If a shopper is waiting until payday or to save a bit more before making a purchase, you can do three things to secure the sale:

  1. Offer a discount code
  2. Offer free shipping
  3. Create a “save my cart” button and send reminders

If a shopper doesn’t have the funds to buy right now or otherwise needs to wait, offer to save their cart and remind them about it in the future.

If you try to push the sale too much, you risk losing the shopper’s trust. Instead, you can create a “save my cart” button and request the person’s email address. That way, you can send their saved items to their inbox. Afterwards, you can nurture these leads further with coupons or recommendations for other items they may like.

5 Tips to Maximize Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Exit-intent popups should be highly customized to your store’s ideal customer. Your messaging should be unique, but you can also do other things to maximize your results, like:

  1. Ditch the email address requirement. Visitors will often exchange their email address for a coupon, but it may be better to focus on getting the sale. When the person is checking out, you can request their email address. The fewer steps shoppers have to take to buy products, the better.
  2. Add countdown timers. People have serious FOMO (fear of missing out), and if you add a timer, you’ll create a sense of urgency that pushes people on the fence about a purchase to make one.
  3. Clear and honest messaging. Exit intent messaging should be clear, concise and honest. You have just a few seconds to grab the person’s attention, so don’t waste it on fancy, confusing messaging.
  4. A/B test. Don’t know which messaging or offers are best? A/B test your exit intent popups and use the data you gather to strengthen your future messaging.
  5. Create a clear CTA. What’s the goal of your exit intent popups? Once you know your goal, create a clear CTA. Add action words, keep it simple, and ensure the CTA aligns with your brand.

You can even use examples from other brands who are killing it with exit intent popups (check them out here) as inspiration.

If you follow the tips above, create an on-brand design and test, test, test, you’ll find that exit intent messaging works exceptionally well to capture leads who want your product or service and aren’t pulling the trigger.

Plus, your personalized messaging can even build trust, help you forge relationships with long-term customers, and improve the shopper experience.

Rene Emery
Contributing Writer
Emery is a B2B/Finance/SaaS writer who focuses on clear, concise, and optimized content. Leveraging 12+ years of experience, she relies on her work with hundreds of companies worldwide to create content that speaks to readers and makes difficult topics easy to understand.

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