Visitor retention... is a nag screen a bad idea?

Hi all,

It’s been a while since I last posted here, but I’ve come across a situation that requires some community input.

I have a client with an ecommerce site that would like to improve visitor retention. They would like to keep them on the site longer and have them explore their products more thoroughly in case they miss what they were looking for initially.

This is my client’s exact request:

When a customer navigates away from this page, a popup Java script must say “Leaving so soon? Tell us what you were looking for and we will get back to you?” They must have 2 buttons with the option to click No thanks in which case they will be allowed to leave or Yes please in which case they will be directed to a contact form.

In your experience, do you feel this practice is going to cause more harm than good, or would you suggest we to what he’s asking here?

Thanks in advance for your reply,

as a visitor to a website, if I got that popup when I was leaving their site it would really annoy me and I would take the option to go to their contact form and fill it with garbage and/or send them an abusive message telling them I don’t need to tell them anything.

imho a better option would be to have a button, or whatever, with something like “Can’t find what you’re looking for?” on it on relevent pages.

the users can then click it if they can’t find what they’re looking for and then be taken to a contact form or whatever.

I wouldn’t make them have to click an extra button to leave the page.

but at the end of the day, if that is what the client insists on, then I would give them the popup.

I, and I assume 99% of the web browsing people with me, really hate popups.
It seems to me this popup will -like Kalon said- do your client more harm than good.
A nice technique that it starting to be more common these days is a peeled away corner of the page with a message behind it. You could integrate a message like “can’t find what you’re looking for?” in such a peel (simple tutorial:

This pretty much sums up the problem here:

in which case they will be allowed to leave

Why should your client have the right to decide whether a visitor is allowed to leave the site or not? There’s no difference between this method, and having a security guard in a real-life store block the exit for any customer trying to leave. This would be both imposing and intimidating. The problem on the web is even bigger than in stores: On the web, a lot of visitors will browse through a site, and come back to buy later. If you give the visitor a bad experience the first time (and a pop-up is always a bad (and unnecessary) experience), the chances of them coming back is poor.

you might be slightly better off adding a “would you like to complete a survey” box. Then you can ask the question did you manage to find everything.

I think it annoys peoples and don’t like to use.
By the way, many advertising service do not allow these types of pop-ups

It’s a common request, but annoying as hell. I’m not sure what the hesitation is, however. This is your client. (Paying client) Give your client what s/he’s paying for and then call it a day.

You could try to go with a pop under, which opens the contact form, so that his visitors will have another window open in the background, so they will be faced with the contact form at some point when they close their browser.

Has any of you ever clicked on a pop-up? From experience, even if it’s an useful product, users will navigate away simply because everyone has a negative reaction to pop-ups.

I’ve learned one thing is not to base my thinking on my own use of internet/computers, most people are different than me. If everybody was like me for instance, they would never click on adsense ads for a start, then would never click on a pop up or pop under, never download any file they didn’t initiate transfert, never click on link in spam/phishing mails, etc.

Could you not try some form of A/B Testing over a limited space of time to see how it works out for you?

Have you got a script that shows the user related products?

IF you absolutely must have a nag screen (which as the name suggests is something your user doesn’t want) make sure that it gives them something they want.

Why would the user want you to get back to them? In their mind that’s more spam in their inbox.

If your screen offer a discount for example, that might work better.

As ULTiMATE suggests, the only way you will find out what works is by testing.

They would like to keep them on the site longer and have them explore their products more thoroughly in case they miss what they were looking for initially.

The missing information is so much, it begs a “reading between the lines” answer.

My nose tells me the missing part of the paragraph was “…And is there a quick fix slap-dash gimmick we can just throw up there without all this ‘user testing stuff.’ Our site is just the way we want it, the only problem is that’s not how our users want it.”

There are certain things which reduce bouce rate. There are certain things which reduce exit rate. With some overlap, which to use differ for each.

Barring any real information, my guess is the whole site was built around buying – not shopping behavior. People get to the site, get exactly what they are looking for (or not), then leave.

Congratulations, your clients have a standard, general, that’s-only-way-we-know-how-to-build-'em web site. A site which soothes the programmer’s zero or one binary sensibilities. And that’s the problem.

You may not have built it. But you’re charged with fixing it.

Your client wants people to shop. The site only supports buying. In other words, it’s set up like a vending machine. And you’re all looking for what to write on a Post-It to slap up on the vending machine to cure it from being treated as a vending machine by the users your client doesn’t want to interact with. (Hence a zero information forum post rather than a conclusive user test)

In other words, you’re looking for cough syrup to cure emphysema, my nose tells me.

One, understand why this is a user test problem. Not an “answer from the back of the book” problem. Suggestions on which widget to drop into a site may not help. Certainly not based on what little there is to go on here.

Next, its a problem of what actually gets executed. Were a “nag” screen helpful, the same mindset that forged the current bounce/exit rate will result in a fail. Even if you’re not the dev for the site, my guess is you’ll have to pry control out of the client’s cold, dead, hands.

You’re at the next stage from tacking on a cart – visual merchandising design versus PHP programing. Understanding users rather than nagging them.

I mean, seriously, “should I put up a NAG screen” doesn’t send up foreshadowning red flags? I don’t care if this is the best thing you could ever do, what meager, pitiful scraps I have to go on bodes ill for the way it gets accomplished.

This is like guessing how many jelly beans in a jar …when you aren’t shown the jar, and not told what’s in it – just to guess. My guess will be 12,354 jelly beans or a REALIGN (not a redesign).

When (if) it is a mind set problem, a redesign won’t help. You’d get the same site with more modern look and gimmickry. You have to do a realign, from the client-as-customer to the client’s actual real life customers.

I think it will cause more harm than good. If you want people to be longer on a site, give them good content and make it super clear for the user how to find the content and what the content is. Exit pop-ups are annoying and many times they are used by grade F sites…

I’ve saw many websites with exit pop ups and it’s kinda annoying especially when you’ve accidentally clicked it. Sometimes it makes your computer hang. Anyways, it’s not a good tactic in my opinion. Giving customers option to leave or stay like it’s mandatory is not a good idea.

The overall verdict seems to be that it’s a Bad Idea ™. No need for more replies.

Thread closed.