Personalization in e-commerce with exit intent overlays

personalization in e-commerce
Author: Haydar Yuece // 11min

Personalization in e-commerce encompasses all phases of your customer relationship. Even before the first sale is made, you can benefit from sending personalized messages to your target audience. In this case, exit intent overlays are an opportune format to use. They are often employed in the crucial moment between losing a customer and achieving a conversion.

Overlays intend to convince the user stay on your site, not scare them away or make them uncomfortable. The right exit intent overlays can help you improve the customer experience.

In this article, you’ll learn how to make the most of this personalization in e-commerce technique to engage with your customers. You will be able to create a personalized value proposition to reduce abandonment, increase sales and boost conversion rates.

What are exit intent overlays in a personalization e-commerce strategy?

Before we discuss personalization e-commerce strategies, it’s important to clarify what exit intent overlays are and how they work. These are the messages that are displayed to a website visitor when the system detects that they are about to leave the website.

While in the past these were annoying ads that overlapped the browser window with urgent calls to action, online stores have now refined not only the design but also the messages. Today, personalization in e-commerce is the guiding principle for digital customer communication.


How does an exit intent overlay work?

A software solution that tracks visitor behavior is used for the implementation of exit intent overlays. The program detects the movements of the cursor. It also monitors the duration of scrolling or idle time on the page, the user’s activity and their previous history.

Movement outside the active browser area may indicate the user’s intention to close the tab. Inactivity suggests the user has possibly lost interest, and their history allows conclusions to be drawn about abandonment. When the algorithm detects one of these signals, it automatically opens an overlay.


What about mobile devices?

When the user navigates from a mobile device, the detention system works differently. Because there is no cursor here, the scroll is the main indication of an intention to leave the page. For example, an exit intent overlay can be triggered when a visitor quickly returns to the top of the page after scrolling through the content. Likewise when the user presses “Back” to return to the previous window or is about to switch tabs.

Tracking is done in real time. Before leaving the page, the user receives a message encouraging them to stay on the page or in contact. This can then redirect them to a form or to another page on the same website with an attractive offer.

Why are exit intent overlays effective for personalization in e-commerce?

Why would a user intended to leave the site ultimately choose to stay? The advantage of exit intent overlays is that they reduce friction.

The visitor might be confused by or disappointed with the content of the website and want to leave it. However, the overlay aims to simplify the analysis process required by the user. It is a direct and concrete offer that is easily accessible. Lowering the barrier to entry reduces the potential buyer’s stress and improves their online experience.

The exit intent overlay reduces the friction associated with analytics and purchase decisions with an engaging and personalized message.

The function of the overlay is to interrupt the abandonment process and provide reasons to stay on the website. However, these results are only possible if an overlay is properly formulated and timed.

A well-designed exit intent overlay should show your potential customer that you understand them and know what they are seeking. Ideally, the suggestion given meets their desire or need. It offers something that fully meets their expectations.

The only way to implement this in your online shop is through personalization in e-commerce. The exit intent overlay message should therefore be personalized and highly attractive to your potential customer.

How to create personalized exit intent overlays?

Every action in personalized e-commerce starts with the right segmentation of your target group. Before you develop and outline your strategy, you should have a clear idea of who you are targeting and the action you want to perform.

The first step requires a thorough analysis of your visitors’ profile and subsequent segmentation. There are different approaches to this: by context, behavior or demographics. Choose the model that best fits the characteristics of your website and your target audience. Try to go a step further and examine the purchase motives. This provides valuable information for personalization, as you can determine the appropriate value proposition.

Then link the needs of your target audience to your business goals to define the desired course of action. Specify what result you want to achieve with the exit intent overlays. Determine where you want to direct your visitors with the overlay.

Often, exit intent overlays redirect users to a form that allows them to receive a benefit. This may be, for example, a subscription to an e-newsletter or a loyalty club. They are also often redirected to other pages on the site where they can explore more items.

How to personalize an exit intent overlay for e-commerce?

The use of dynamic variables enables personalization in e-commerce, including exit intent overlays. Define parameters that allow you to create messages tailored to the interests and behavior of individual users on the site. Some effective criteria are:

  • User name
  • Product affinity
  • Customer subscription status
  • Purchase intention

This degree of personalization in e-commerce strengthens customer loyalty. You show your target group that you know them and understand their needs. This also creates more opportunities for interaction.


Consider the following recommendations when creating exit intent overlay messages:


Focus on the user

Undoubtedly, your primary interest is to generate a conversion. However, your commercial intentions should not come before customer expectations. Try to focus your offer on satisfying a need of your visitors. Explain how it will benefit your potential customer, but don’t pressure them into buying.

Therefore, make sure you do some research on your target audience’s needs and problems beforehand. You can look for satisfaction gaps in your competitors’ offers. Emphasize the superiority of your offer and present it as a solution to a problem.


Direct and responsive tone of voice

Avoid lofty and promotional wording in your overlays. Address your audience personally and communicate directly and simply. Think of it as a face-to-face conversation you conduct describing your value proposition to the customer.

Forget your business perspective for a moment and give honest, expert advice. Sometimes it’s good to appeal to the sense of loss. That is, explain what the customer would lose by turning down this offer.


Offer lower-risk alternatives

For complex decisions, it is advisable to present the customer with a less risky option, as they may balk at making a long-term commitment. Instead, offer a free demo version or trial period. In gaining a new contact, you have the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your offer.


Confidence-building reasoning

Consumers have every reason to be suspicious of overlays. For many years they have received spam messages from untrustworthy websites. Therefore, use all the means at your disposal to overcome your target group’s resistance.

Be sure to provide your credentials and present reasoning that builds trust with potential clients. Offer real value and back up your message with testimonials from existing customers. Case studies are very effective in overcoming initial reservations and attracting the interest of new users.


Personalization of your campaigns

Use segmentation to create personalization in e-commerce campaigns for different customer groups. Remember that users can find your website through different channels and with different motives. Design customized messages that address their specific needs.

A basic form of segmentation is to group your customers by demographic characteristics. For example, you can display a prompt with offers for women’s accessories to your female customers who visit clothing sites.

Specialized algorithms such as the uptain® ALGORITHM recognize the characteristics and needs of your customers and thus deliver personalized offers that have the greatest chance of success.

Frequent messages in exit intent overlays

Since the purpose of exit intent overlays is to keep the user on your site, you should include offers that promise to add value to them. These may offer the following:

  • Reduction of fees or prices
  • Special discounts that apply immediately or to future purchases
  • Reminders for products in the shopping cart
  • Free additional products or services
  • Suggestions for alternative items on the same website
  • Subscriptions to newsletters or loyalty clubs
  • Testimonials and reviews from other customers
  • Service offers (Email, Whatsapp, Telephone)

Evaluate the cost of these offers versus the benefits the customer can bring you. It makes sense to also offer services or products that do not compete with your company’s focus but also add value. These can be, for example, maintenance contracts or digital documents such as user manuals.

Uses of personalized exit intent overlays

A personalization e-commerce strategy targets the many situations in which personalized exit intent overlays can be critical to the profitability of your business. You can optimize them to improve customer interaction and experience.

These goals are usually pursued with an exit-intent-overlay strategy:


Mailing list creation

Exit intent overlays are a great tool to collect data from your target audience. Create an overlay with a form to subscribe to the mailing list that will ultimately provide you with basic data.


Lead generation

Not only do overlays prevent users from leaving your site, but they can also attract potential customers. Use this opportunity to provide valuable content that encourages users to stay in touch with your company.


Lower bounce rates

It is well known that the more your potential customer interacts with your brand, the more likely they are to convert. That’s why it’s advantageous to keep your audience on your site as long as possible, and exit intent overlays can help. By lowering the bounce rate and increasing the time a user stays on your page, you also gain SEO relevance. This also boosts organic traffic which positively impacts your sales.


Fewer shopping cart abandonments

This is crucial for an online store. German online stores lose up to €1 billion a year due to shopping cart abandonment. Exit intent overlays can help you stem those losses by offering incentives to the customer at the decisive moment.

Learn how to successfully prevent shopping cart abandonment in our Shopping Cart Abandoner Guide.

Automated and intelligent exit-intent overlays from uptain

With uptain, you choose an intelligent tool that significantly reduces shopping cart abandonment using exit intent overlays. The software handles the automatic segmentation of your customers and personalization. It uses a wide variety of data to detect not only when a visitor abandons a purchase but also why the purchase is abandoned.

The software then generates personalized overlays tailored to the individual visitor. If the customer cancels for price-sensitive reasons, a coupon code appears. However, if the customer abandons their cart, for example, for reasons that can be solved by the customer service, a service offer (e.g. e-mail or WhatsApp service) appears.

Prevent potential customers from leaving your website with personalization in e-commerce

If personalized exit intent overlays are successfully implemented, you achieve a significant increase in ROI and further profitability. So it’s no wonder they’re an important component in personalization e-commerce. Furthermore, the set-up technology is very accessible and user-friendly.

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