How to Grow Your Email List from Your Shopping Cart

I recently posted How Much is Your Coupon Code Box Costing You? which addressed the problem of customers searching for coupon codes when they see a coupon box in the checkout. If the customer grabs an affiliate code, not only do you have to discount the product or shipping cost, but you also have to pay your affiliate a commission for a sale that really wasn’t initiated by that affiliate.

Office Max takes another approach – show the coupon box with a link “How do I get these?”

When you roll over the box, you see this:

Promo codes are available to email subscribers – an incentive to opt in to the email list, whoopee! I think this is rather brilliant.

Unfortunately, Office Max doesn’t link to the email sign up in the box. Fair enough, you want the customer to complete the transaction. You could add an opt-in checkbox on the cart summary page that doesn’t hijack the customer out of the checkout process.

Another hiccup is the email sign up is only accessible from the home page. Perhaps putting it in the header or footer would make it easier to find, or would increase sign ups when people land on the site on a product page.

There’s also no way for the customer to enter a promo code right away without signing up for email and waiting for the first code. Worst case scenario, customer defers the purchase until they can get a promo code and abandons cart.

Hat tip to Jason Billingsley for spotting this.


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12 Responses to “How to Grow Your Email List from Your Shopping Cart”

  1. What a brilliant find!!

  2. Nice blog post. Another great way to build the e-mail list is to offer to save the cart or e-mail the cart, requiring people to create an account. It’s not a direct a solution, but it works.

  3. I cannot believe I missed that one. We have a unobtrusive pop-under when you’re on a product page for over 10 seconds that prompts you to sign up and get £5 off your first order (it doesn’t popup again after that). We could simply put a link to show that popup under the voucher code box, easy. Might cost in promotions but well get one hell of an email list! Great tip.

  4. Great blog – just think about this one more time. When the users are landing in the shopping cart they are most likely interested in buying right now.

    A newsletter signup is a great thing, but a sale is better. Do not write about the discount codes directly, then you will disturb them in the flow and let them wait until they are receiving the e-mail.

    You could alternatively give the discount right away if they are signing up – this would be a much better feature! In general I don’t like promotional codes in a checkout progress – there are better solutions.

  5. John Hyde says:

    They should test several solutions.

    A good starter would be to have a checkbox on the dark blue popup so the shopper can sign up during checkout:

    “Get a free introductory XYZ and get regular promotions by email.
    [x] Yes, I want to get promotions by email.”

    If the visitor checks the box then a promo code gets written into the field.

    Like Jesper above I don’t like promo codes – there are much better ways of giving special offers by email. They can, of course, help with newspaper deals or radio/TV ads.

  6. Wow something so simple. This site is a great find! Trust that I’ll be here more often.

  7. BMW Gt1 says:

    This is quite useful to me, I will collect more email address with your guide.

  8. Do Cats Eat Bats says:

    who’d have thought!! i think this is a GREAT idea.

    I just came back from a big conference of online-retailers where it was suggested that no promo code option should appear on the form because it makes shoppers feel like they’re missing out on a better deal.

    Part of my own shopping process is to actually open another tab to just before I hit purchase…

    I do agree though, ppl would delay their purchase until their code arrives in their inbox. but if it’s immediate, it shouldn’t be a problem. i guess the ideal situation would be once you’ve successfully subscribed to the mailing list, a promo code appears in the box.

    Regardless, I like the concept.

  9. Donna says:

    That’s a great idea. We always tell our clients to keep the email signup in the shell so it is visible from every page. Adding the “what is this” type of pop-ups or mouseovers only enhances the user experience. Believe it or not, some people are still new to shopping online and may not exactly know what the promo code means. I think highlighting that and offering sign-up there through a pop-up (so they don’t leave the page) is a great idea. It educates the consumer, but also can garner more qualified signups. Thanks for sharing this. I will certainly pass this along internally.

  10. [...] leave a comment » Get Elastic posted a fantastic example of how Office Max uses the checkout process to expand their email list.  You can read the whole article here. [...]

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