Wisepops logo

Last updated Mon Apr 22 2024

The State of Visitor Engagement on Shopify Stores [Original Study]

Success in ecommerce relies on the effectiveness of converting visitors into repeat customers.

But with an average onsite conversion rate of 3%, more effective strategies are required to convert more of those 97% of visitors who leave.

Our report analyzes 500 successful Shopify stores to identify the most effective methods for engaging visitors and retaining customers.

This report will help you to:

  • Find out the most popular onsite marketing strategies from high-earning Shopify stores

  • Discover more ways to maximize conversions by engaging more of their existing visitors

  • Learn increasing trends in customer engagement and conversion rate optimization in ecommerce for 2024

Key Takeaways

1. Website popups remain the most popular tool for growing a customer base

Popups are the top non-native visitor engagement tool used on Shopify stores (62% of businesses use them in 2023 vs 50% in 2018).

2. SMS marketing is still a viable strategy for increasing customer lifetime value

More than one-third of Shopify stores (38%) collect phone numbers from visitors for SMS marketing purposes.

3. Discounts remain the most popular initial hook to draw in new customers

More than two-thirds (70%) of Shopify stores use discounts to convert first-time shoppers.

4. The most widely used discount size stays moderate

Businesses are trying to protect their margins during the ongoing recession, as the most popular discount for first-time customers is 10%.

5. The adoption of TikTok as a sales channel might be taking off among Shopify businesses

About 10% of Shopify businesses are already using the official TikTok app for Shopify, and many more are expected to join them.

Start reading:


The results: How Shopify stores are engaging their visitors and customers


Customer engagement trends and predictions for Shopify stores for 2024


Opportunities for Shopify stores to increase customer engagement and conversions

Chapter I

Results: The top strategies and tools Shopify stores use to engage their visitors and customers

Sixty-two percent of Shopify stores use popups

We found that 62% of Shopify stores use popups, making them the most common “non-native” visitor engagement tool on Shopify websites. 

Our original 2018 study found that 50% of Shopify stores had popups, so the findings suggest that more businesses are using them in 2023 (and will be using in 2024).

Percentage of Shopify stores that use popups
Amitai Sasson
Merchant spotlight

“Use popups. They work! By not doing any popups on your website, you are leaving money on the table. Because those 98% of visitors that didn’t buy today left without leaving their email or phone.”

Amitai Sasson, VP of eCommerce, Overstockart

How Amitai uses popups

Twenty-nine percent of Shopify stores use more than one popup campaign (and for more than email list building)

The traditional use case for popups is lead generation. However, in our sample, 29% of Shopify stores used more than one popup campaign to engage visitors differently. 

Other use cases included:

Non-signup popup use cases on Shopify stores

Merchant spotlight

Stumptown Coffee Roasters drives traffic from the homepage to product pages with this small campaign (appears in the right bottom corner):

This way, the brand enables an easy product discovery experience for shoppers.

navigation popup

Thirty-eight percent of Shopify stores collect phone numbers for SMS marketing

More than one-third of Shopify stores (38%) had active campaigns (popups, signup forms, etc.) to collect phone numbers, which suggests that they use SMS marketing in their lead nurturing strategy.

Stores using phone number capture campaigns predominantly employed embedded signup forms (43%) and popups (29%) as the primary methods for collecting phone numbers.

How Shopify stores capture phone numbers

Merchant spotlight

Soko Glam collects phone numbers along with emails in one campaign:

See our analysis of 50+ website popup examples (includes best practices)

soko glam example

Only 15% of Shopify stores convert mobile visitors with popups

Only 15% of all the Shopify stores we checked used mobile popups (reminder: 62% of the sample had any type of popup). Consequently, this means that more businesses are channeling their efforts toward converting desktop visitors, overlooking mobile popups as a way to engage mobile shoppers.

Percentage of Shopify stores that use mobile popups
Expert tip:

"More than 60% of ecommerce traffic comes from mobile. Not optimizing onsite campaigns for this channel is a huge mistake and losing a great opportunity to increase revenue. Especially nowadays, when you can create Google-friendly, great looking mobile popups."

Pawel Lawrowski, digital marketing expert, Wisepops

How mobile popups can work together with desktop ones to generate a higher conversion rate

A mobile popup form got 600 emails more than the desktop one and generated a CTR of 50.8% during a flash sale: 

Charlotte BIO case study

Ten percent is the most common discount used by Shopify stores to convert first-time visitors

One thing remains constant: offering discounts is the most common method to turn first-time visitors into customers.

A whopping 70% of Shopify stores use discounts, whether in percentages or dollar values, to entice and encourage first-time shoppers to buy.

Out of those stores, the majority (28%) offered a 10% discount, closely followed by 22% of stores that offered 20% off. Also, 14% of stores welcomed newcomers with a 15% discount for first orders.

The most popular discount sizes in Shopify stores


Shopify stores that did not have discounts mainly offered free shipping for the first order (those primarily included luxury brands).

For stores that didn't offer discounts on first purchases, customers had the option to lower the cost by enrolling in a loyalty program and receiving a modest discount as a reward.

“Sales on selected items” are the most popular type of limited-time offers, employed by 39% of Shopify stores

When analyzing the use of limited-time offers, we found three standout favorites for engaging visitors. Topping the list is "sales on selected items," used by 39% of stores. Following closely are BOGO (Buy One, Get One) offers, a choice for 19% of stores. Also, giveaways and contests also proved to be an important strategy, used by 14% of Shopify stores.

Most popular email marketing apps used by Shopify stores
faguo logo
Merchant spotlight

When used for short periods, product and gift card giveaways can be a very effective tool for lead generation. The results depend on the existing traffic and customer bases, but it’s not rare for Shopify stores to generate up to 5,000 new emails every month.

Read a product giveaway case study

The usage of Instagram feeds by Shopify stores is low at 21%, TikTok ads at 10% but poised to surge

Less than one-fourth (21%) of Shopify stores had Instagram feeds embedded into the homepage (the most popular page) or other pages.

Meanwhile, the usage of the official TikTok app on Shopify may be on the rise. While currently being used on only 10% of Shopify sites, it’s noteworthy that over 5,000 reviews out of a total of 7,700 on its Shopify App Store page were submitted in 2023, indicating a substantial surge in adoption.

Usage of Instagram feeds and TikTok in Shopify stores

Forty-two percent of Shopify stores have live chat, only 16% adopted chatbots

Over one-third (42%) of Shopify stores used live chat, both for customer support and marketing purposes. This marks a substantial increase from our original study in 2018, where only 24% of stores had live chat. When we checked the adoption of chatbots, we found that only 16% of Shopify stores have embraced this engagement tool.

Percentage of Shopify stores that use live chat and chatbots

Popular content marketing types on Shopify include blog articles (66%), gift guides (37%), and quizzes (19%)

Gift guides continue to play a significant role in visitor engagement strategies, with 37% of Shopify stores using them. These guides we found were prominently featured, either within the blog section or as a main menu item, showcasing the effectiveness of gift guides in facilitating purchasing decisions.

Another popular onsite channel to engage visitors was quizzes, as they were present in 19% of Shopify stores.

Also, having a blog is a common content marketing tactic, as 66% of the Shopify stores we checked had blogs. Among these, prevalent content types included informative how-to articles, brand news and announcements, and product videos.

Most popular content marketing types used by Shopify stores

Fifty-four percent of Shopify stores describe their sustainable business practices

Just over half (54%) of Shopify stores describe their strategy or projects to reduce environmental impact. This commitment is prominently featured either on homepages or through dedicated pages (“Our Impact,” “Sustainable Practices,” etc.), underscoring a growing dedication to sustainability within the Shopify community.

How many Shopify stores describe their sustainability strategy_

Note: Educating customers about sustainability and raising awareness of the environmental impact of ecommerce also presents an opportunity for Shopify stores. Asphalte, a French digital native brand, raised awareness of their environmentally-friendly business model (pre-order) and saw their customer lifetime value increase (read below).

Picture of Benjamin Mateo
How the focus on sustainability helps Shopify businesses grow

“We realized that the customer lifetime value was higher after a customer learned about our mission and how we work.”

Ben Matteo, Head of Growth and Tech, Asphalte

Learn more

Did you know?

Shopify also has been working on helping merchants reduce their carbon footprint.

The Planet app is one of the recent examples of this effort. Launched in mid-2022, this app connects Shopify businesses with carbon-neutral shipping services. 

Badges like this one are also available in Planet to help showcase the climate commitment:

luna nella
Source: Luna Nella

Sixty-eight percent of Shopify stores have loyalty programs

Over two-thirds (68%) of Shopify stores use loyalty programs to attract and retain customers. Most businesses describe them on dedicated explainer pages while some also use live chat-like widgets on homepages.

Percentage of Shopify stores that have loyalty programs
Jonathan rogue
Expert comment:

"Implementing a loyalty program can help bring customers back to your store, build a loyal following, and boost customer lifetime value (CLV) and repeat purchase rates. As acquisition costs increase in 2024, loyalty programs incentivize customers to shop with you over a competitor through meaningful rewards that make customers feel valued beyond their purchase. One tip is to optimize your loyalty program to ensure you are rewarding customers with rewards they actually want to use and earn by shopping with you."

- Jonathan Roque, a loyalty marketing expert, Smile.io

Sixty-eight percent of Shopify stores choose Klaviyo for email marketing

Klaviyo remains an undisputed leader among email marketing apps on Shopify, used by 68% of businesses we analyzed. Other popular apps include Mailchimp (14%) and Omnisend (5%).

Most popular email marketing apps used by Shopify stores

Note: Klaviyo's popularity among Shopify businesses is likely to keep growing in 2024, as the app serves as Shopify's recommended email solution and a technology partner. This means that businesses using Klaviyo get early access to new Shopify features and deeper integration.

Chapter II

Customer engagement trends and predictions for 2024

After analyzing the results, we have also noticed some changes and patterns in engagement strategies. They might affect how Shopify stores convert their customers in 2024.

Popups will play a bigger role in ecommerce personalization

Ecommerce personalization is a process of customizing online shopping experiences for individual customers. It includes personalized page content, product recommendations, and offers that align with customers’ preferences and browsing or shopping behavior.

Popups are perfect for ecommerce personalization because they're easy to use and have powerful targeting options

Numerous stores use website popups as tools to personalize their customers' shopping experience. The findings of this study, for example, reveal a growing trend among Shopify businesses to utilize popups beyond email list building, incorporating them for diverse goals, including personalization-related ones.

Let's review some examples.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters aims to personalize the shopping experience for customers who might be hesitating to buy or need some help finding the right products. So, the brand uses this popup—it's automatically shown only to returning visitors who viewed a product but have not bought it:

returning campaign
Source: Stumptown Coffee Roasters

This next campaign comes from Soko Glam, a beauty retailer that specializes in Korean skincare and beauty products.

The visitors are invited to take the Skin Care quiz to get personalized product recommendations. What’s more, quiz takers can also book a free consultation with a skincare expert. 

This way, Soko Glam addresses different stages of the customer journey (awareness, interest, and consideration)—and using a popup creates more awareness of the quiz:

quiz popup

Another way in which popups help with ecommerce personalization is sharing upselling offers.

Black Ember, a seller of tactical backpacks, shows an upsell offer with related items to those who add specific products to the cart. 

This personalized offer is, of course, automatic, and helps personalize product selection experience and increase the average order value:

upsell popup

This example is a good one also because it:

  • Displays the entire recommended collection of products

  • Allows to add a product to the cart in one click

  • Lets visitors choose a product variation with a small drop-down menu

Take a look:

upsell popup
💡 Insight

Using popups for ecommerce personalization is a great idea as long as they are relevant and have value for shoppers. Take advantage of shopping cart targeting rules in your popup app and you’ll be able to align your marketing messages with customer browsing behavior in your store.

Popups can play an even bigger role in ecommerce personalization if they have built-in Shopify properties. 

Thanks to them, you can create campaigns based on: 

  • How many products a customer has in the shopping cart

  • How many days a customer bought from you the last time

  • The total price of all products a customer has in the cart

  • How many products you have left in your inventory

  • The number of orders made by a specific customer

So be sure your popup app has a deep Shopify integration and allows you to use these properties for setting campaigns display rules.


Here are the settings for a campaign for registered customers who made one purchase (for example, this could be a personalized discount to encourage buying again):

shopify properties new
Source: Wisepops

The need of an effective onsite marketing strategy will grow

With more businesses investing in ecommerce personalization and data-driven campaigns, it’s natural that a strategy is needed. This strategy of engaging visitors on ecommerce websites with campaigns based on data and behavior is called onsite marketing.

Onsite marketing stands out for its distinctive approach that combines various website visitor engagement tools (popups, bars, notification feeds, chatbots, landing pages, embedded forms, etc.). This integrated strategy is designed to seamlessly address the requirements of specific visitor groups or even individual visitors within a unified plan:

key elements of onsite marketing
Traditional strategyOnsite marketing strategy
Immediately display multiple marketing messages (newsletter signup, cookies consent, a message asking to allow pushes, etc.) upon visitors' arrival to the homepage for maximum exposureDeliver marketing messages that are timed to be both relevant and engaging, tailored to each customer's shopping experience and journey stage
Display the same marketing message to all visitors (email newsletter signup, for example)Enable multiple campaigns with personalized messages for specific visitor groups, leveraging data from their website browsing behavior, purchase history, their location, and the devices they use
Get new campaign ideas for converting visitors by studying competitors Look at customer behavior data, including insights from onsite tools, to understand your customers better and find opportunities for engagement

"The past definition of onsite marketing was very broad and focused mainly on SEO, content creation, landing page copy, etc. Though still crucial aspects of successful inbound marketing, they don't follow the new needs and trends we observe on ecommerce websites.

Now, with the acquisition costs and competition skyrocketing, focusing on website experience and new strategies to convert visitors is as crucial as ever.

That's why we decided to define what onsite marketing is and is not—to make it easier for marketing folks to plan, execute, measure, and improve their onsite marketing strategies and grow their businesses."

Pawel Lawrowski, a digital marketing expert, Wisepops

Sticky tabs to keep discounts available

If you don’t want to trigger popups on your website, you can let your visitors do that—when they feel like getting that discount. 

Ecommerce research shows that many shoppers prefer to get discounts after they went through some products and found the one they like (here’s what one of these shoppers said when asked whether they liked popups):

Source: The Real Heroes of Ecommerce

One way to accommodate this need is a sticky tab.

Sticky tabs are very small, non-intrusive windows that remain fixed in a specific position (typically, one of the bottom corners) as the visitor scrolls or navigates through the content. If clicked, sticky tabs open a full popup or signup form.

In other words—they're perfect for the task because they don't interrupt browsing and have value for customers.

Here’s an example from Meow Meow Tweet (as you can see, the welcome discount stays available after the popup is closed, in a non-intrusive way):

sticky tab
Source: Meow Meow Tweet

Sticky tabs were the way for many Shopify stores in our sample to make popups more visitor-friendly and make discounts easily available in one click even after customers closed them. All that without cluttering ecommerce website designs, too.

Just a couple of years ago, the usage of sticky tabs was almost unheard of. But now they are becoming increasingly popular among Shopify thanks to their ability to engage visitors.

In fact, during our study, we've seen sticky tabs on such successful stores like Kith and MVMT, even on mobile:

tabs popups on mobile

Also, WP Standard, a successful store selling premium leather goods, uses them to convert visitors with a product giveaway:

sticky tab on ecommerce

Kirrin Finch, a store featured on the Shopify blog, promotes its $100 gift card giveaway with a sticky tab placed just like at WP Standard (and with a pretty attractive headline):

Sticky Tab Example 3

Multi-step popups for collecting more data from visitors

Seventeen percent of Shopify stores we reviewed used multi-step popups to collect both emails and SMS (as well as extra info like date of birth and product category preferences) in one campaign.

This campaign format could be seen by more businesses as an efficient way to generate leads and get customer data for segmentation.


Death Wish Coffee breaks its lead generation popup into two windows: a) the email and b) the phone number signup form:

Multistep popup Example 3

Steve Madden, one of the most popular brands using Shopify, has a popup designed to collect emails in the first window and customer data along with product preferences in the second:

Multistep popup Example 3
Lisa Fockens
Expert comment:

“With multi-step popups, you can get more customer data at once, to not disturb users later with more requests, for example, when you need to run another campaign.

Thanks to this, for example, you'll have the data you need to better personalize the offers in marketing emails (e.g. collect email and date of birth in a popup to send a VIP offer on a customer's birthday)..."

Lisa Fockens, Popup Expert, Wisepops

2024: A breakout year for mobile popups?

As more Shopify stores find that popups can be done in a way that brings value and doesn’t violate Google’s rules for interstitials, we may see an increase in businesses using them. 

Already, we have seen many mobile-optimized popups in our sample. Here are a couple of examples from two popular stores (Brooklinen and Recess):

mobile popup examples
💡 Insight

Popups optimized for mobile devices have a higher CVR than the desktop ones: 4.08% vs 2.85%.

Source: Wisepops study of 513 million popup displays, 2022

AI will improve live chat support

AI is being increasingly adopted by Shopify businesses, especially for customer support. It is clear that using AI will become a major way for stores of all sizes to maximize efficiency and speed up operations in 2024.

For example, AI-enabled features in popular Shopify live chat tools like Gorgias and LiveChat allow to:

  • Adjust the tone of the messages for customers

  • Proofread messages and remove grammar or spelling mistakes

  • Expand, paraphrase, and make answers more detailed

  • Generate chat summaries for support agents

  • Propose templates for answers

Source: Hardgraft

Sustainability will become even more important

The rise of environmental concerns is driving the increased popularity of environmentally-friendly brands. Already, over three-quarters of consumers (77%) emphasized the importance of sustainability and environmental protection strategy for businesses, considering it either very important or moderately important in their brand selection.

That’s why stores need to be ready to raise awareness of their sustainability and environmental protection strategies on their websites and social media.

Source: Rothy’s

This strategy also includes regular reporting—publishing detailed reports describing the progress on the sustainability goals the brands have set for themselves.

For example, the sustainability report from Steve Madden consisted of 85 pages and included:

  • Sustainability strategy

  • Sustainability milestones and progress

  • Info on the supply chain transparency

  • Description of the employed climate-neutral strategies

  • Emissions data

sustainability report
Source: Steve Madden

Chapter III

Opportunities for Shopify stores to increase customer engagement

Onsite notifications

Onsite notifications resemble a social media feed, and are a new onsite channel to engage shoppers. They are subtly integrated into a website's header as a bell icon. With this non-intrusive design, notifications engage website visitors by employing targeted options to deliver tailored content, effectively steering them through the conversion funnel.

Here’s a look at onsite notifications at OddBalls, one of the UK’s biggest underwear brands:

notifications onsite

Onsite notifications are a valuable opportunity for Shopify stores in 2024 because of these reasons:

  • A novelty and uniqueness. So there’s an opportunity to stand out and provide an easy-to-use UX while sharing targeted marketing messages

  • Non-intrusive engagement. You can let visitors discover the feed on their own (unread notifications are only indicated by a red bubble on the bell icon)

  • Great for ecommerce personalization. Onsite notifications come with targeting options, so you can use them to share marketing offers based on browsing behavior, Shopify cart content, page views count, traffic source, device, location, and last visit date (see the image below)

targeting options
Source: Wisepops

Besides, onsite notifications are an effective way to engage visitors with discounts, sales promos and product announcements. As indicated by Dan Mitchell, the ecommerce manager at Oddballs:

Merchant Spotlight

“Onsite notifications were a significant driver in revenue for the launch of our new product range and we will be making use of the notifications for future campaigns and product launches.”

Dan Mitchell, Ecommerce Manager OddBalls

Read how OddBalls uses notifications

More advanced onsite targeting of visitor groups

One goal of this study was to determine if Shopify stores had some strategies to engage specific visitor groups (new/returning, organic, those who added products to the cart, etc.)

While all the stores in the sample had tailored offers for first-time visitors, only 1% of the stores had a dedicated campaign for returning visitors (even when we had an item in cart that was still in there on the second visit). Since 71% of ecommerce visitors expect personalized experiences from online stores, this finding suggests an opportunity to increase sales by creating more personalized onsite marketing campaigns.

In terms of visitor sources, you can target these groups:

  • New (first-time)

  • Returning 

  • Paid (from paid ads)

  • Referral (from partners)

  • Organic (from Google)

Also, you can target visitors who:

  • View X pages on your website

  • Click on a page element (button, image, etc.)

  • Add a product to the shopping cart (any or specific)

  • Have a specific device (an iPhone, a desktop computer, etc.)

  • Come from a specific location (country, region, or city)

Campaign targeting settings are quite easy to use:

audience targeting popups
Source: Wisepops

Apart from these essential onsite campaign targeting options, more advanced, Shopify-specific ones are available. 

Here’s a breakdown of Shopify properties from Wisepops, including definitions and descriptions of how Shopify store owners can apply them:

Shopify propertyHow you can use it
product.available This property is set to false when the product is unavailable for purchase. You can trigger a popup on out-of-stock products, directing users to alternative options.
product.priceIndicates the current price of the viewed item. You can display a popup featuring customer support contact details for higher-priced items.
product.total_inventory_quantityRetrieves the total stock variants of the currently viewed product. Use Case: Show a popup for soon-to-be out-of-stock items, creating a sense of urgency.
product.tagsContains a list of tags associated with the viewed product. Use Cases: Show a coupon popup on all pages related to a specific tag.
cart.discount_codeReturns the applied coupon code's name in the cart. Use Cases: Confirm coupon application with a popup message.
cart.item_countReturns the number of items in the cart. Use Case: Encourage additional product additions through a popup.
cart.skusProvides the SKUs of products in the cart. Use Cases: Recommend complementary products based on SKUs.
cart.total_priceContains the cart's total value. Use Cases: Trigger a popup when visitors haven't reached the free shipping threshold.
customer.accepts_marketingSet to true when the customer accepts marketing. Use Cases: Display an email subscription popup for non-subscribers.
customer.is_logged_inEquals true when the visitor is logged in, false if logged out. Use Cases: Invite logged-out users to create an account.
customer.last_order.created_atReturns the date of the customer's last placed order. Use Cases: Create a reactivation popup for customers who haven't made recent purchases.
customer.orders_countReturns the total number of orders placed by the customer. Use Cases: Display a VIP popup for customers with a history of more than five orders.
customer.tagsContains all tags associated with the customer. Use Cases: Create a popup for VIP customers based on their associated tags.
customer.total_spentReturns the total amount spent across all orders. Use Cases: Create a popup for customers who have spent a certain amount in the shop.

Mobile-optimized popups that meet Google’s requirements

The results of this study suggested that only a small number (15%) of Shopify businesses are using mobile popups. Even fewer used campaigns that were optimized according to Google’s rules for interstitials:

google rules
Source: Google

This means that creating visitor-friendly and valuable campaigns that meet these requirements could be an opportunity for Shopify businesses (especially if a store gets a lot of mobile traffic).

mobile popups best practices breakdown

The good news is that creating optimized mobile campaigns is as easy as choosing one option ("Display on mobiles"):

targeting audience
Source: Wisepops
Methodology and sample

We analyzed a sample of 500 Shopify stores retrieved from Storeleads (an online service with the most comprehensive list of active ecommerce stores). The sample included 64% of North American stores (the US and Canada), 25% were Europe-based, and 11% were located in Asia.

To choose the stores for the study, we used these filters:

  • language: English (or multilingual stores including an English language version)

  • industries: fashion and apparel, home decor, beauty & self-care, food & snacks, accessories, and pet food & supplies

  • monthly revenue: between $100,000 and $250,000

For each website, we:

  1. Loaded the homepage and waited for 10 seconds (including on a mobile device)

  2. Visited at least five more pages besides the homepage

  3. Added at least one product to the shopping cart

  4. Left the store with the item remaining in cart and returned the next day


Research began on September 1, 2023 and continued through December 10, 2023

Important notes:

This study is not representative of all the Shopify stores due to the chosen revenue range. Yet, the goal of this study was to focus on mid-sized and large stores and their visitor engagement strategies.

We excluded customer support banners with phone numbers from this report (example: “text (111) 111-1111 to get help”), as they cannot be considered as signup forms.

Find out how Wisepops can help your Shopify brand personalize the shopping experience across every stage in the customer journey.

Oleksii Kovalenko

Oleksii Kovalenko is a digital marketing expert and a writer with a degree in international marketing. He has seven years of experience helping ecommerce store owners promote their businesses by writing detailed, in-depth guides.


Master's in International Marketing, Academy of Municipal Administration

Related articles

how to promote product


Know how to promote a product effectively in these ways. Only the best ideas along with examples.


Find popup design inspiration. Let us guide you with these best popup design examples, best practices, and ideas.