Exit Intent Modal

Capture more shoppers before they abandon

You may have noticed in the past year or two a new feature that a lot of websites are using to capture website browsers before they leave a site – it’s generally referred to as an exit modal or exit intent modal.

Basically the way that it works is there is a javascript library that detects when a visitor is getting ready to leave your site (it detects when the mouse cursor moves up and out of the website itself towards the browser back button).

When the exit intent is detected, a modal (a.k.a lightbox) is launched with some kind of offer, usually to entice the visitor to leave an email address.

We’ve integrated a great open source library which handles the exit intent detection in order to further beef up the MageMail abandoned cart series, and also to boost newsletter signups.

Here’s how it works.

If the customer has something in their cart, but has not yet saved their email address (whether by being logged in or having entered it in the checkout), and they then begin to exit the website, the modal will launch, showing them their cart and prompting them to save their email address to have their cart mailed to them. Optionally you can incent them with a coupon as well.

If they don’t have any items in their cart, the modal will contain a call to action to sign up for the newsletter.

Now, whenever I talk about modals, I’m always sensitive to the fact that a lot of people have really strong opinions about them. Some people downright hate them – but I think the major reason that people have a problem with them is when they are really intrusive to the browsing experience.

You may have had this happen to you before – you land at a website – are reading for a few seconds, and then a modal pops up and it takes you a solid 15 seconds to figure out how to close it because they’ve obscured the close link to try and force a few extra seconds of your attention on the content within the modal.

I think that’s completely the wrong approach – you want to make it painless for them to close the modal if they’re not interested – we’re using a really nice modal library called Remodal that gets everything right basically out of the box:

  • You can click anywhere in the background of the modal to close it
  • There’s a little “X” icon in the top left right where you’d expect it
  • There’s also a “No Thanks” link at the bottom of the modal
  • It’s responsive and even if the modal content spans multiple screens it handles scrolling gracefully

All of these things basically serve to allow the visitor to quickly close the modal if they’re not interested.

The other thing that’s great about exit modals in particular, as opposed to a welcome modal for example, is that they’re not going to pop up on you when you first get to a site and are reading the content that you went to the site to read. They’re only going to pop up when you get ready to leave.

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