How Ecom Innovators Drove 12,000 Coupon Clips Online, Packing Its Client’s Furniture Stores With Foot Traffic

In this guest post by Barry Buckman of Ecommerce Innovators, Barry shares how they used a geographically-targeted popup to offer a coupon, and the incredible results they got for their client.  

No matter how engrossed we are with our computers, smartphones, Google Glass (hey, it’s making a comeback), and other tech, there are still going to be certain products that we as a society will prefer to purchase in person. In a real, honest to goodness store. Just like our ancestors did a million years ago, in the 1980s.

One obvious example of this is home furniture. Before you lay out hundreds of dollars on a new couch, there’s a good chance you’ll want to actually sit on it for a minute or two to make sure it’s comfortable.

The challenge the client brought to them: There was nothing at all which triggered users to get up and go visit the store.

We were recently approached by a regional furniture store chain who wanted to use digital marketing to drive traffic to their physical stores. They are an established brand, and already had  decent web traffic, but a simple look at their website made one thing clear: This was an ecommerce site, through and through. Home page leads to category page. Category page leads to product page. Product page leads to shopping cart. 

How We Solved The Problem

Step 1: Check if the existing web traffic is qualified

First off, we wanted to see if site visitors were in fact interested in making an in-store purchase. We determined this by using Hotjar to run an on-site poll, asking users if they preferred to make their purchase online, in a store, or either way. The results showed that only 16.5% of users specifically wanted to purchase online, and not in a store. (see image below)

survey shows visitors would be happy to buy offline, too

In other words, we were getting the right type of traffic to generate in-store visits. We just needed to get the website to encourage them to do so.

Step 2: Craft the offer and its delivery aka the call to action

Now that we knew that our site visitors were in fact interested in making an in-store purchase, we looked for a way to drive them to take that action. We came up with a simple solution which turned out to be extremely successful – a popup (aka lightbox) which offers a 10% coupon, good for in-store purchases only.  

geo-targeted popup / lightbox offering in store coupon

We used the 40Nuggets tool to create these lightboxes, and obviously benefited from their geo-targeting feature, so that visitors from outside the region served by the stores wouldn’t be shown the popup. (Instead, out-of-region visitors got an online-shopping popup offer.)

Did this work?

You bet! We saw immediate results. 13.44% of users who saw this popup converted!

If you’re enjoying this case study, you may also want to check out my video interview with Barry (and Ecom Innovators’ CEO, Fran Jakubowitz) in which we discuss this and three other case studies where they got killer ROI for their clients. 

Step 3: Iterate aka Optimize to Better Results

Good results? Yes. Good enough? No. We wanted to push the envelope a little further, so we created a test variant which we lovingly refer to as a “Passive-aggressive popup”. You’ve probably seen these. Instead of an X button which allows you to close the popup, these require you to click on a line of text which tells you what you’re missing out on by not converting. In this case, we made users click the words “No thanks. I prefer to pay full price”.

passive agressive popup aka lightbox for targeted foot traffic

The result? Conversion rates jumped all the way to 22.2%. That’s a 65.17% conversion rate lift!


Then, when the holiday season came around, we stopped promoting the 10% coupon, and instead promoted holiday deals where you could save “Up to 75%”. This temporary change has resulted in conversion rates jumping jump to 28.67%, which is a 29.14% lift relative to the second popup, and a 113% improvement over the original! 



  1. Popups have gotten a bad rap, but they work really, really well. Their bad reputation is based on dot-com-bubble-era annoying popup ads that came up randomly and offered no value. But if you’re giving people what they want (and hey, who doesn’t want a discount?), your audience will respond positively.
  2. You can use on-site actions to drive off-site behavior. But if you want to drive foot traffic to your store, make sure your website triggers people to do just that. Don’t assume that they will without your encouragement. Without an incentive to do so, they probably won’t.
  3. Passive-aggressive popups (I would love it if this becomes an industry term!) work….if you tangibly explain what users would be missing out on by not converting. . In this case, the dismissal text made that painfully clear: “No thanks. I prefer to pay full price.” But I’ve seen cases where the dismissal text on a whitepaper-download popup is “I don’t want to learn more”, and that’s obviously less compelling copy.

Barry Buckman works for Ecommerce Innovators, who offer a full suite of digital marketing services, amongst which relevant ones to the above case study are conversion rate optimization and local SEO.

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2 thoughts on “How Ecom Innovators Drove 12,000 Coupon Clips Online, Packing Its Client’s Furniture Stores With Foot Traffic

  1. Passive Aggression only works if the message is clear and the motive true and expected.

    I have blacklisted sites for these ads that are out of context. They are always suspect to me because, as a developer, I know that “forcing” me to blind-click on a link with a completely unknown destination is a horrible choice. All kinds of damage can happen when you do that. It will usually be more likely to make me kill the browser window instead (as opposed to no other way to get rid of that popup).

    The conclusion is that
    1. Your site should have notices that promise no malware (where people are expected to see them.) Not necessarily an easy thing.
    2. Your site should already have a strong reputation and customers should feel safe clicking on your promotions.
    3. Simply leaving another “out” for the truely worried is not a bad idea. The back button on the browser that only removes the ad but doesn’t navigate completely from the page is a good idea. Most people who are reluctant to click on an ad will try that option first. The escape key (from a desktop) would be second. Third they would try to close the browser window. All of those are bad answers. If they have tried those things and none of them have made the ad go away? A closed browser (along with any other open tabs or sites) will simply guarantee they won’t be back.
    The moral here is that any click on a page (even the ‘x’ to close a window) is an avenue for unscrupulous developers to attack you (identity theft, bank information, install malware, use your computer to help attack other computers). You get the point. We click on things because we trust the source. When we erode that trust it’s hard to get it back.

    I’m not saying that these ads are all evil. A backout of an add can be tracked, the same as the text clicks in the add. If you get many of them on your site, be less agressive. If your sure your users won’t mind, by all means, do it. But don’t risk driving customers away over a security concern that you can easily avoid.

    Final thought: If someone backs out of your site because they are uneasy about a business’ practice. They won’t forget to tell their friends. If they were interested in your site, their friends WOULD HAVE BEEN too.

    1. hey Emert,

      Great points here and of course you’re right that trust is a key consideration. My impression is that the average person is less sensitive to this stuff and doesn’t consider all the security issues you’ve raised. That’s not to say they shouldn’t – a whole separate issue where you may be very right that we’re not sufficiently cautious online – only that I haven’t observed such behaviour. And you’re right that buttons do better when they indicate the destination they lead to.

      Thanks for sharing a really thought out, insightful comment! Would you like me to link to your site?

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