Can Exit-Intent Technology Really Increase Your Conversion Rates?

For anyone who owns or operates an ecommerce site, the crux of your success lies in increasing conversion rates. Finding and implementing strategies to convert more visitors into customers helps you get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of your traffic-driving expenditures. Basically, improving conversion rates yields higher ROIs.

Unfortunately, however, the world of online shopping is plagued by the frequent practice of “visitor abandonment,” which occurs when visitors arrive at your site, browse for a bit—perhaps even adding a few items to their shopping carts—but ultimately navigate away without purchasing anything. According to the Baymard Institute, an average of 68% of visitors leaves ecommerce sites right before the checkout page, which is a pretty glum statistic.

But don’t feel too disheartened. By using Exit Intent, “one of the most powerful technologies for today’s ecommerce,” you can improve your site’s conversion rates by up to 10%. Plus, as the cherry, nuts, and whipped cream on top of this delicious conversion sundae, Exit-Intent technology is inexpensive, easy to set up, and the results are almost immediate.

What Is Exit Intent Technology And How Does It Work?

Exit Intent technology provides your visitors with a final message or incentive to convert just as they are about to back away from your site, switch to another open tab, or close the active window. Perhaps your fleeing visitors intend to return at a later date, but maybe they’re gone for good—there’s no way to know.  But Exit-Intent technology gives you another opportunity to work your conversion magic and turn those visitors into customers right then and there.

According to, “Exit-Intent technology aims to:

It works based on an advanced predictive algorithm, which detects visitors’ activity, through mouse movements and velocity, and hook them back to your store in time.”

Wait, Doesn’t Everyone Hate Popups?

Sure, no one likes being bombarded with popups when they’re visiting a web page. You might not even know what the site is about yet when you’re flooded with messages like the one below:


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And while Exit Intent Technology operates in a strikingly similar fashion to exit popups, which were popularized in the early 2000s, the term “popup” is no longer totally accurate. “The strategy now relies on lightbox triggers or page overlays, so nothing is technically popping up,” explains Emily Brown of MaxTraffic.  “They’re also far less annoying than in the past, and no longer considered to be below-the-waist marketing tools.”

Plus, there’s the undeniable fact that they work. The folks at WP Beginner, a beginner’s guide to WordPress, started using Exit Intent popups—or overlays, to be more precise—on single posts and they achieved a 600% increase in signups!

And they’re not the only ones achieving high success rates. Tons of case studies exist like the one above, touting the effectiveness of Exit-Intent technology.

How Exit-Intent Technology Can Improve Your Conversion Rates

More and more ecommerce sites are turning to Exit-Intent technology to convert visitors into customers. Catalin Zorzini reports that “30% of the Top 1,000 US ecommerce sites use popups—22% are using entry popups, 14% are using exit popups, [and] 6% are using both!”

And if you haven’t yet begun using Exit-Intent technology on your website, you may be missing out on opportunities to convert a greater percentage of your site’s visitors. Remember, 68% of your visitors leave without making a purchase. That’s a pretty sizeable amount of potential conversions being left on the table.

That said, here are 5 ways that Exit-Intent technology can improve your conversion rates, sales numbers, and total revenue:

You Get A Conversion Do-Over

When your Exit-Intent technology engages, it means someone is trying to leave your site. In other words, your first attempt at a conversion has failed. But with Exit-Intent technology in place you get one more opportunity to get in there and convince that visitor to stay.

Csaba Zajdo 2

Csaba Zajdo: “You can approach this second chance in a few different ways:

  • Reinforce your original sales message and call to action
  • Change to a different message or offer
  • Capture contact information

If you choose the first approach, you can restate your original message in different terms. Hopefully, by explaining your offer in a different way, you can convince your visitors to rethink their decision to leave.

Using the second approach, you change the message entirely. The thinking here is that the original method failed to convert this visitor, so a different approach might work. For example, if your original message focused on price, your ‘second-chance message’ might focus on the benefits of the product.

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The third approach is often the most effective. By capturing your visitors’ email address or other contact information, you now have the opportunity to market to your visitor over the long-term at little or no cost.”

You Can Disrupt a Pattern

Going through the motions of browsing for products and services online, your visitors’ brains are lulled into a familiar rhythm. But when something unexpected happens, such as an Exit-Intent overlay appearing, that pattern is broken through a persuasive technique called “pattern interrupt.”

Jeremy Wallace

Jeremy Wallace: “Pattern interrupt is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) technique that has been used by salespeople for many years.

The concept is straightforward: do or say something unexpected that disrupts a prospect from their normal pattern.

On a traditional cold call, pattern interrupt is used to divert prospects away from the normal path of 1) answering the phone, 2) realizing they’re dealing with a salesperson, and 3) throwing up a defense to get off the phone as soon as possible.

To interrupt the prospect’s expected pattern, the salesperson may say something unexpected, such as ‘On a scale of 1-10, how much do you love being called by a salesperson?’

Exit overlays are driving by a similar logic. Unexpectedly, they make an offer that sweetens the pot and convince the user to think twice about their predictable path towards the ‘Back’ button.

In both examples, the salesperson and the marketers have bought themselves a few extra valuable seconds in which they can engage the prospect.”

According to Ott Niggulis’ report on ConversionXL, Exit Intent popups are “particularly effective when the ‘interruption’ proposes to solve the problem that the reader has been tuned into, or programmed to expect given the nature of the service.”

You Counteract Analysis Paralysis And The Paradox Of Choice

Closely related to one another, analysis paralysis and the paradox of choice are two of the primary factors that impede on the performance of ecommerce websites.

Visitors experience analysis paralysis when they perceive decisions, even simple ones, to be overwhelmingly complicated or difficult. “Analysis paralysis can also make consumers feel pressured to make the perfect decision, and they often experience a deep fear of making the wrong decision,” says Jeremy Wallace.

Similarly, consumers who face an overload of options when making a purchasing decision can experience anxiety and stress owing to the paradox of choice, which explains why more is sometimes less.

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Consequently, when consumers experience analysis paralysis or the paradox of choice, they either freeze in their tracks or throw their hands up in the air and abandon the shopping process altogether, neither of which is good for business.

Exit Intent strategies can counteract both of these things, however, as they can simplify the decisions a consumer has to make and significantly decrease the amount of analysis that’s needed.

emily brown

Emily Brown: “Another psychological reason for why Exit Intent works is that the ability to make informed decisions gradually wears down, hitting rock bottom by the time the user has decided to navigate away from the page. If you sneak in a compelling offer right at this point, you’ll take the visitor by surprise just when they’ve let their guard down.”

You Can Build A Stronger Email List

An email marketing campaign is one of the most effective strategies marketers have at their disposal. Visitors giving you the thumbs up to email them presents you with enormous potential in terms of heralding your unique value proposition and increasing your conversion rates over the long-run.

Data indicates that an Exit-Intent popup asking for a visitor’s email address can “achieve signup rates of between three and five percent.” And that rate goes up even more if you offer a freebie, such as a coupon, eBook, special report, or other types of incentive.

Zoe of Beeketing: “A strong list of customers who are interested enough to give you their emails is the most important asset to your business, as from this list, you can develop cost-effective and customized email automation strategies.

So, why not kill two birds with one stone, by running an Exit-Intent popup on your store which asks customers to leave their email so they can receive updates [on] your amazing offers, like this:

amazing offers

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You will get them back [on] your site, and turn one more visitor into [a] potential paying customer. Now, you can move on to sending emails that are tailored to their preference and chances are they will buy your products.”

You Can Pitch Other Products Or Offer A Freebie

Whenever visitors leave your site, there is the possibility that they’ll return later on. Perhaps they had to take a phone call or run an errand or maybe they were binge-watching House of Cards and they had to step away to focus on a pivotal scene. More often than not, however, when visitors leave your site it’s because they haven’t found what they were looking for or your initial offer failed to entice.

Therefore, instead of simply bidding adieu to your fleeing visitors, you can use Exit-Intent technology to redirect them to other products, services, or content they may be interested in.

Csaba Zajdo

Csaba Zajdo: “’Oh, I see you are leaving,’ your popup can say. ‘If this topic doesn’t stir your Kool Aid, perhaps you’d like to learn more about THIS…’

Then you can suggest one or more alternative subjects or products. This is a fantastic way to keep visitors on your site and increase your chances of converting them later.”

Using an Exit Intent overlay to offer your visitors a free trial or report to learn more can be an especially useful tactic if your offer is quirky or a bit avant-garde. In these cases, those visitors who are curious but skeptical will be able to ease into what you have to offer and then hopefully realize the full value and turn into loyal, paying customers.

How XeroShoes Converts Hesitant Visitors Into Paying Customers

So far, we’ve covered what Exit-Intent technology is and how it can help increase your conversion rates by reducing the amount of visitor abandonment on your site. Now, let’s take a look at an unconventional shoe company that’s using Exit-Intent technology to convince visitors to take a walk on the wild side.

Marie Dean of ConversionLifters: “XeroShoes was founded in 2009 by Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix. Steven had experienced a series of injuries after revisiting his longtime passion for running. Subsequently, a friend suggested that he become familiar with the benefits of barefoot running.

And the XeroShoes line of barefootware was born.

Steven knew this wasn’t a concept that would be easy to sell to everyone and took this into account in his overall website design and strategy. When it was detected that visitors were just about to abandon his site, they were presented with a free research report that detailed the benefits of being barefoot.


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In Steven’s final attempt to re-engage and convince any skeptical visitors, this last-second offer prompted 2.5% of abandoning visitors to accept the barefoot benefits report. And, out of those who opted to receive it, 28.4% went on to make a purchase.

The Top Exit Intent Tools For Ecommerce

According to Angus Lynch of Unbounce, there are two components you need to consider when selecting an Exit Intent tool:
angus lynchAngus Lynch: “1. Targeting – Does the tool allow you to target specific users and specific pages. For example, does it allow you to target only people who have previously abandoned a cart on your checkout pages?

  1. App Functionality – Does the tool offer an app that gives you a dashboard for monitoring your results, and for updating/altering your exit overlay whenever you like?”

With those two factors in mind, let’s weigh in with a few industry experts to see which Exit Intent platforms they recommend:


Catalin ZorziniCatalin Zorzini: “OptinMonster is a premium lead generation app that allows you to quickly and easily [build] opt-in forms, perform A/B testing, and track your opt-in analytics.

The plugin is focused heavily on pop-up opt-in forms, with lots of available customization options for you to create professional-looking and high-converting lightbox forms.
Because the app tracks mouse movements to determine ‘exit-intent,’ popups will only appear when your visitor is about to leave your site, so you don’t have to worry about interrupting visitors when they’re still browsing the page.

Using the app, you can [build] not only pop-up forms but opt-in forms in sidebars, after posts, footers, etc.
It makes it easy to create a professional-looking opt-in form in just a few minutes, plus it allows you to optimize your conversion rates with built-in analytics and easy A/B split testing.

OptinMonster key features:

  • Create a professional opt-in form within 60 seconds
  • Target specific users, categories, or pages
  • Increase your subscriber growth by up to 600%
  • A/B test options.”

You can use OptinMonster with any type of website, including WordPress and Shopify, and it comes with three pricing options: Basic, which costs just $9/month; Plus, which costs $19/month; and you can get Pro for $29/month (get 40% off all three plan options when you choose the annual payment method).


Krisztina Heréb: “OptiMonk is an extremely customizable Exit Intent software that lets you interact with visitors during the very instant they try to navigate away from your site.
Why should you try it?

  1. It won’t bust your budget. OptiMonk is very reasonably priced…and it lets you create world-class quality campaigns like this quite recent one [from] Digital Marketer:

ultimate digital

  1. It is extremely easy to use. You need not field an entire IT team to get it working; anyone with any online experience can have it up and running within a matter of minutes. Here is a screenshot of the administration panel:

10 dollars off

  1. It is customizable. [OptiMonk offers] a set of templates to let you change the look and content quickly, and modification is as easy as editing a text document or slideshow file. Not only that, but you can adjust the timing, so you have complete control over when your message appears.
  2. You can use A/B tests…You can A/B test your message on the fly, without creating a whole series of landing pages. You can also access real-time analytics to see which messages work best.
  3. It’s not just a simple exit popup. You can also monitor your visitors’ engagement and act on it. For example, you can show your message after someone has stayed on the same page for 30 seconds. This may indicate they have a question.
  4. Last but not least: it’s constantly developing. Just to mention some of the greatest features released in the last couple of months:
  • The nanobar lets you [add] a sticky notification bar to your site that stays on the top or even bottom of your site, and is a constant reminder for your visitors to take action,
  • Geo targeting allows you to promote a special, ‘country-specific’ offer to your abandoning visitors, or to display an entry popup to your customers to inform them that you are actually shipping to their country,
  • Dynamic text replacement lets you alter the text in your popup based on any variable you wish. This way, you can display highly targeted messages to individual visitors using only one popup.”

Pay either monthly or annually with OptiMonk and choose from four pricing options: The Basic plan costs $29/month or $290/year; the Business plan costs $79/month or $790/year; the Professional plan costs $159/month or $1,590/year; and you can ask for a quote for the Enterprise plan.


Emily Brown: “This platform tracks mouse movement and velocity and determines visitors’ intention to leave. Within a millisecond, it can display a targeted offer to a visitor. The platform provides more than 20 on-site targeting options, such as targeting by countries, an amount of page views, time on a website, and much more.

Moreover, this platform provides not only Exit-Intent-based popups, but it’s appreciated for BounceBack scenario—[an] algorithm that makes [it] possible to interact with customers that came from a search engine and leave by clicking the ‘Back’ button.  Therefore, with BounceBack scenario MaxTraffic can also target abandon[ment] with mobile devices.

The average results of MaxTraffic popup campaigns are impressive too. The platform helps to increase sales by up to 15%; it can double newsletter [subscription] rates, and increase follower counts on social media.

Speaking of platform installation:

  • 2-minute installation – insert JavaScript codes for visitor and conversion tracking into a website and you are ready to create the first campaign
  • It works with all e-commerce platforms and even has a special integration with Shopify
  • Several pricing plans allow [you] to choose the most appropriate solution for your website.”

Try MaxTraffic for free during a 14-day unlimited trial. Then, choose from the following subscription options: Basic for $139/month; Standard for $349/month; Pro for $699/month; or Enterprise (ask for a quote).

What About Conversion Fanatics, What Platforms Does It Use?

Andres Lucero: “There are a few paid solutions we’ve used, including and Depending on the offer, you can recover 10%-20% of abandoned desktop users with these popups and those companies will split-test the design/copy for you to see what works best for your traffic.

We also like to use Ouibounce, which is a free Javascript library that allows you to display your own Exit-Intent popup. You have more control over the design and implementation, but it takes a little more development time, and you have to split-test the design/copy yourself.”

There is one pitfall to all of these platforms, however, and that’s their limitation when it comes to mobile usage. Andres Lucero weighs in again:

“The biggest catch for all of these [platforms] is that they can only be implemented for desktop browsers because the technology relies on detecting mouse movement; there’s no equivalent action on mobile.

An alternative for mobile browsers is to display the popup after a certain amount of time has elapsed on the page. Google Analytics will tell you the average time [spent on a] page for mobile visitors, and you can use that number to gauge how long you should wait before displaying the popup.”


Conversion rate optimization encompasses a wide array of factors and there are tons of techniques for you to try, and while Exit-Intent technology won’t get you perfect results—nothing will—it has been proven time and again to positively impact your conversion rates.

Exit-Intent technology has its limitations, of course, but it also can afford a number of advantages, such as boiling down the decision-making process, appealing to your visitors’ most basic psychological instincts, and getting one last-ditch chance to score the conversions you’re aiming for.

With a variety of effective platforms to choose from, Exit-Intent technology is an excellent strategy to incorporate and split-test in order to give your website the conversion boost it needs.

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