Case studies

overstockArt.com: Building an Email List to Jumpstart Sales

We had a chat with Amitai Sasson, the VP of eCommerce at overstockArt.com, about how he tripled an active list of leads with popup campaigns. Let’s hear how this team helped bring art to thousands of homes across the world.

“We are art lovers serving art lovers.”

This is how the founders of overstockArt.com describe themselves. Their business began as a part-time hustle but now is a booming online art gallery.

The story of how overstockArt.com became the go-to destination in the online art market is remarkable. As you might imagine, entering a crowded market with 35,000+ art galleries and 4+ million artists selling on marketplaces isn’t easy.

In this case study, you’ll find fascinating insights from our conversation with Amitai about his experience of acquiring and retaining customers as an online art gallery.

Click to jump to content sections:

overstockArt.com: A Short Story

overstockArt.com was founded in 2002 by David and Stacy Sasson. It was one of the earliest online galleries of hand-painted oil paintings. The new business was also the first to sell painted reproductions of Van Gogh, Monet, and Gustav Klimt.

The name “overstockArt.com” was chosen to convey that customers can get art at considerably lower prices compared to galleries. At the same time, the products would be of high quality, as the company reproduces them by hand.

The intimate knowledge of the industry as well as a genuine love for art helped overstockArt.com become one of the go-to sellers of wall decor.

What was once a small home-based business is now an online store with:

  • 4,000+ daily visitors
  • 120,000 regular customers
  • 20+ employees in three continents
  • Inventory of 10,000 paintings and 400,000 wall decor combinations
overstockArt.com homepage

overstockArt.com’s Business Strategy

overstockArt.com established a comprehensive business strategy to grow and maintain their ecommerce business. Here are the basic ideas behind the strategy:

  • Target demographic. Key characteristics: 1) 60% women and 40% men, 2) college graduates, 3) homeowners, 4) age range 25-65, 5) art lovers who want to keep abreast of the latest trends.
  • Customer acquisition. Besides the website, other important channels include organic traffic, Google Ads, Bing ads, Facebook ads, and Pinterest ads.
  • Simple buying process. overstockArt.com’s website makes the process of finding and buying a piece of art simple—it takes just several clicks.
  • Genuine love for art. overstockArt.com is a company where every member is either an artist or an art lover, which helps them understand customers’ needs.
  • Community building. overstockArt.com appreciates and celebrates art with an inspiring blog, where authors (including Amitai) explore art and share advice with readers.

Thanks to this business strategy…

  • The company’s sales roughly doubled year over year
  • overstockArt.com has moved to a new state-of-the-art 20,000 square ft. facility in Wichita Kasnas.
  • David Sasson was named Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year from Kansas.

That’s a huge success!

Consistent generation of quality leads was one of their major success factors. So how did they do it?

Challenge: Website Lead Generation

Most people who visit online stores aren’t ready to buy immediately. On average, it takes almost two to three touchpoints for customers to commit to buying clothing and electronics, for example.

In the case of overstockArt.com, it also takes multiple touchpoints to complete a purchase of a framed oil painting that costs $200. But 98% of website visitors typically leave without buying so overstockArt.com needed a way to capture emails and nurture leads.

Challenge: Capture website visitors’ emails to engage and educate potential buyers.

Here’s how Amitai describes the challenge:

Since many potential customers visit overstockArt.com on mobile, Amitai also needed a tool that would enable him to convert mobile traffic, too.

Another requirement was integration with the company’s email provider (Sailthru). Amitai needed a solution that would make it easy to communicate with the growing list of potential customers. Amitai found his solution: email signup popups.

He knew that website popups can allow businesses to collect emails and “spark the conversation” later. Let’s take a look at how this lead generation strategy has helped overstockArt.com grow.

How overstockArt.com Uses Wisepops to Convert Website Visitors

Since overstockArt.com needed to build an email list, Amitai developed various different email popup campaigns to convert traffic. Let’s look at some of the campaigns that generated strong results.

Campaign #1: Converting desktop traffic with an email popup

overstockArt.com created an exit intent email popup. It was displayed to visitors who viewed at least three pages on the website. The campaign offers a $100 coupon on a $200+ purchase in exchange for their email. That’s a good offer for art fans and a great way to convert window shoppers into customers.

Email popup on overstockArt.com

The discount offer was a smart strategy to use, since coupons are the top reason to buy for 41% of online customers.  And, as we’ll see in the next section, it was the right one.

Campaign #2: Converting mobile traffic

A variation of the first campaign was created to convert mobile visitors. This time, it was also an exit intent popup with the same strong offer: a $100 coupon. Visitors are prompted to sign up and redeem their offer just before they leave the site. Such exit intent popups are a great way to keep the conversation going with potential customers.

A mobile popup on overstockArt.com

Campaign #3: Getting more newsletter subscribers from the blog

As mentioned, overstockArt.com publishes blog content to grow organic traffic and connect with more art fans.

To convert that traffic, the company uses this simple newsletter signup popup that invites blog visitors to subscribe. This time, the customers are getting valuable content relevant to their interests in exchange for their email.

Email popup example on overstockArt.com

All three popup campaigns offer value to website visitors. Visitors who are close to purchasing receive discounts to encourage their purchase. While blog visitors get excellent content and develop a relationship with the brand. Each campaign generated a positive addition to visitors’ website experience, which was a major goal of Amitai’s.

Here’s his advice to businesses considering popups:

Here are the best popup practices for businesses based on overstockArt.com’s campaigns:

  • Relevance and value. All popups appear only once per website session (to those who haven’t converted) and provide something useful.
  • Original background images. Design and imagery are important to Amitai because, after all, that is what they’re selling.
  • Clear, benefit-oriented headlines. “Join & Save,” “Unlock 20% off your order,” or “Your weekly dose of oil paintings, artists & decor” make it easy to understand how visitors will benefit from subscribing.

By following these best practices, popups can improve customer experience, not interrupt it.

It will come as no surprise that Amitai was able to achieve impressive results with these campaigns. Let’s take a look at them.

Results of Lead Generation Campaigns With Wisepops

Since becoming a Wisepops user, overstockArt.com has achieved strong results. The three campaigns we’ve looked at increased the size of the overstockArt.com email list, which was a major goal.

In January 2020, overstockArt.com began running popup campaigns.

As this Wisepops dashboard image below shows, the company started getting more leads from day one. In late April, the campaigns were bringing in thousands of leads monthly, as more people turned to online shops because of lockdowns.

The number of new leads peaked at a whopping 3,800+ in May. Since then, the company has been generating around 1,000 leads per month. That’s a huge increase in potential business!

Chart tracking overstockArt.com's success using popups

The dashboard image also shows that overstockArt.com has been able to achieve impressive click-through rates (CTR) throughout all campaigns (between 10.92% and 54.55%).

Using popups to get emails keeps paying overstockArt.com dividends in 2021. The quality of leads increased, too, as high-intent visitors started to interact with popups more.

Here’s what Amitai had to say about this.

Another important benefit that Amitai described was easy integration with the company’s email service provider (Sailthru) and CRM (HubSpot). The data from Wisepops campaigns go right to these apps. As a result, the marketing team at overstockArt.com doesn’t have to perform any manual data entry.

Tutorial: How to Replicate overstockArt.com’s Success

Now, wouldn’t you like to enhance lead generation the way Amitai did?

If yes, let me show you how to create the best-performing campaign from overstockArt.com. We’ll replicate this popup, which is shown to mobile visitors and has an impressive 10.4% CTR.

Mobile popup campaign on overstockart.com

To be more specific, the popup generated 10,731 leads for overstockArt.com so far, and still counting! Here’s the full campaign performance data from Wisepops.

Mobile popup campaign performance

And now, let’s build this campaign! (You can get Wisepops for free to start creating).

Step 1: Choose popup style

Since we’re creating a campaign for mobile, we need to click Custom size in Style tab inside Wisepops dashboard. Then, tap the Use overlay toggle switch to turn it on.

Wisepops popup builder

Step 2: Write engaging copy

Encourage visitors to convert with short and sweet copy. Our goal is to mention the chosen incentive (in this case, the coupon) and be as clear as possible.

Copy elements to write:

  • Headline: overstockArt.com uses a very good option “Hey, wait!”, but we can use other attention-grabbing headlines like “Want a discount?” or “Don’t leave just yet.”
  • Body text: Describe the main point of the campaign, e.g. “Sign up to get a $100 coupon for your next purchase over $200.”
  • CTA buttons: Write action-oriented text for the “Yes” button, like  “Yes, give me the coupon.” “Thanks, maybe next time” or another neutral phrase like this should work well for the “No” button.

Step 3: Sync with Zapier

overstockArt.com synced Wisepops with Zapier. This enabled them to transfer the collected emails to their email marketing app and CRM automatically. To do the same, go to Blocks in the main menu and choose Zapier from the submenu.

Wisepops integration with Zapier
More about Zapier integration with Wisepops and processes it helps automate: Wisepops Integrations.

Step 4: Set up a trigger

The campaign is going to be displayed when visitors leave the page. To set this up, go to Display in the main menu and choose the On Exit option in the Trigger tab.

Next, let’s do one cool customization. As mentioned, overstockArt.com showed this campaign to visitors who viewed at least three pages. Customers who have explored the site are likely to be more interested. This setting contributed to the campaign’s success.

To do the same, type in “3” in the “Show only after” setting. Make sure the setting also shows “Page views” (see below).

Wisepops campaign triggers

Step 5: Exclude specific pages

Excluding pages is necessary to avoid showing the campaign to visitors during the checkout or who made a purchase using the coupon. overstockArt.com removed these pages. The blog was also excluded because they have a newsletter signup campaign running there.

To exclude pages, go to Display in the main menu and choose the Pages submenu. There, click the Select URLs button to see the rules (see below). Setting the rule to “Does not contain” and typing in the URL removes that page from the campaign. Here’s how these settings appear in overstockArt.com’s dash.

Wisepops URL targeting

Step 6. Choose the audience

overstockArt.com displayed this campaign to mobile visitors only. Amitai runs it separately from the desktop campaign, which was a great decision because it enables them to collect more accurate data.

To set the campaign to be shown on mobile, go to the Audience tab and choose Display on mobiles in the Device setting.

Wisepops audience targeting

Also, note that overstockArt.com excluded users who came from their email marketing campaigns (utm_medium=email) and SMS marketing campaigns (utm_medium=sms). The SMS setting was especially since this campaign is made for mobile.

Pawel Lawrowski Pawel is a Head of Growth at Wisepops and a Lead Generation&Pop-up Expert.

Lastest posts