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Nov 1, 2019 | 14 minute read

What generates more ecommerce leads? A popup or live chat

written by Guest

How can I increase the visibility of my products for website visitors?
What should I do to motivate people to interact with my web page?
What tools can help me convert more website visitors into customers?

If these questions sound familiar to you and you’ve been wondering the same for a while, you’re not alone. These are only some of the questions that ecommerce practitioners frequently Google in search of the perfect lead generation strategies.  This is especially true for those early on in their digital transformation initiatives. 

While there are many tools out there to help generate more leads, popups and live chat software have stood out as two pretty effective solutions. The Entrepreneur claims that popups helped them increase subscriptions 86%, as well as sales 162%. And, according to Neil Patel, you can boost lead generation by up to 45% using live chat software.

So, provided you’re using them wisely, both of these tools can generate some awesome results. But which one of them is simpler to use? Which one provides you with more possibilities for lead generation? And finally, which one has a better impact on general customer satisfaction levels? 


We’ve all interacted with a popup here and there. Those windows on web pages that load without your permission; and in a large number of cases, you cannot proceed to use the website until you react to these windows. 

How do you generate leads with popups?

The-Willie-Wags_newsletter-popup-1-1200x687.jpgSource: The Willie Wags

To be able to generate leads using popups, you have to make sure that they are not frustrating, as that will certainly leave a negative effect on your website performance. While annoying popups may skyrocket your bounce rates, well-designed ones may skyrocket visitors’ reactions. It’s a double-edged sword that should be used wisely, so check out these tips to generate more leads.

#1 Make Them Visually Appealing

Keep in mind that they will interrupt visitors during their navigation through your website, therefore the popup should be worth it. To avoid frustrating site visitors, you should take special care of the popup appearance. For instance, sometimes the contrast in colors of your website and your popup may be essential for its performance.

#2 Create a Customized Call-to-Action

The default CTA button text that you get with your popup software probably won’t do any magic for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create relevant, attractive and interesting messages yourself. Make it unique and tightly connected with your products or services to capture the visitors’ attention easier. 

#3 Think Thoroughly About Placement

The fact that a certain popup position turned out amazing for another website doesn’t necessarily mean that it will perform the same on yours. Maybe the best way of determining the ideal position for your popup is to test it in different areas for certain periods and then compare results.

#4 Don’t Underestimate the Power of Popup Timing

If your offer pops up before website visitors have even briefly read through your content, you may lose them instantly. Not only will they feel frustrated as you’re invading before they even got used to your website, but they may also give up if they don’t understand your offer. 

So, make sure to give them some time to get familiar with your website before popping up. They’ll feel more excited to react to your call-to-action if they get genuinely interested in your brand beforehand. For instance, that’s why numerous businesses position CTA buttons below their blog posts, or in the lower corner of a webpage. 

Benefits of Popups

#1 Attract Attention

It’s impossible for one not to spot a popup, which is amazing provided that you have a well-designed, visually appealing popup with a provocative call to action. 

#2 Single Call-to-Action

Practically, they make visitors focus on a single message with the utmost importance. Therefore, they make it simpler for visitors to realize what they’re expected to do and decide how they are going to react to it (click the CTA button or dismiss the window).

#3 Highly Customizable

This aspect is extremely important for a popup to perform well as it reduces its likeliness to frustrate the visitors. Luckily, popup tools come with a great diversity of features that let you create a perfect popup that won’t seem invasive or suggestive.

#4 Affordable Lead Generation Solution

On the one hand, you don’t need major investments to find yourself a quality popup software. Moreover, some of them can also be installed for free. On the other hand, due to this fact, well-developed popups have the potential of attracting a significant return on investment.

Drawbacks with Popups

#1 Annoyance 

If you don’t design and develop your popup following lead generation techniques listed above, you risk frustrating your visitors in several ways. 

First of all, you may be blocking the content that they came to see, which is especially annoying in the case of full-screen popups. 

Secondly, sometimes, you may be putting too much pressure on visitors, obligating them to take action while they still don’t know what they want to do. 

Finally, popups on mobile devices can be particularly annoying as they are rarely well optimized and sometimes are even impossible to close. 

#2 May Chase Your Visitors Away

It’s common for visitors interrupted by intrusive popups to simply leave the website. So, a poorly developed popup may:

  • Significantly increase your bounce rate when it comes to visitors that just entered your website;
  • Reduce lead generation making the visitors that are already engaging with your website content lose focus and give up.

#3 May Jeopardize Your Brand’s Online Identity

Once your visitors start to consider your website a place where annoying spammy popups appear, not only will they stop visiting the website but they may also change their general impressions on your brand. And this may lead to spreading negative information among your target audience which may have a pretty bad impact on your reputation. 

Live Chat

With the highest customer satisfaction rates 92%, live chat support is the most efficient way for your business to communicate with website visitors and prospects. Not only is it an amazing tool as it lets you provide immediate support to your customers whenever they need it – it is also an incredibly valuable asset in terms of increasing sales. As a cost-effective and time-efficient tool, live chat brings a large number of advantages to your business. And improved lead generation is one of them.

How to Use Live Chat for Lead Generation?

Not all live chat solutions guarantee amazing lead generation. So, to make your live chat software generate leads, you should meet several important requirements regarding its use:

#1 Take Care of Live Chat Window Placement

To make visitors interact with you and eventually convert into customers, you have to place your live chat window where: 

  • Visitors need them
  • It can be seen

For instance, there’s a huge difference in the effectiveness of a chat window placed on your webshop page and a chat window in the About us section.

#2 Be 24/7 Available

Offering live chat support that’s available for 6 or 8 hours a day can be frustrating for your visitors. And that certainly doesn’t help you generate leads. 

Besides, you should be aware that the availability is not only about being there for your customers as much as you can (weekends included). It is also about providing prompt and reliable feedback instead of postponing it.

#3 Organize & Customize Live Chat Keeping Visitors’ Needs in Mind

If customers reach out to your live chat agents while they’re on your products page, it’s more than likely they have a concern related to your products. Accordingly, you’ll need a salesman to clarify their doubts. Also, if they’re reading through your Technical supportsection when they decide to interact with you, they’re probably looking for someone more experienced in this field. 

In other words, you may consider having different experts manage live chat support on different pages. And if this seems too complicated, you can also introduce a pre-chat survey in which visitors choose the support department they want to interact with.

Remember that you’ll get a chance to convert a visitor into a customer only if you successfully deal with their requests. And that’s what this aspect of providing live chat support helps deal with successfully.

#4 Make Use of Data Collected During Live Chat Sessions

To increase your chances of lead generation and conversions, you should get to know your customers. And live chat can help you create a buyer database with information extracted from your chat sessions. 

Once you’re aware of your visitors’ needs, preferences, and pain points, it will be easier for you to provide them with what they look for and create a bond with them. Accordingly, targeting their needs, you’ll be more likely both to sell your products and increase the value of their carts.

Benefits of Live Chat 


There are various benefits of live chat that your website can enjoy. Not only its use helps operators provide instant support, but it also allows them to provide information in real-time that assists visitors to make an informed decision.

Its use not only assists operators in the process of helping visitors find what they need but also in terms of slightly pushing them towards the purchase.

#1 Provides Sleek Real-Time Communication

Live chat software increases your chances of lead generation by letting you address visitors’ issues and requests as soon as they appear. Letting you communicate with them in real-time, it makes your communication more natural and helps you convince visitors they need your products.

#2 Personalizes Support Experience

Owed to chat data collection and session archives, live chat software lets you personalize your messages (and offers) to each visitor’s preferences. This way, as you chat, you can check chat history with each of the visitors, and offer exactly what they need, without creating generic or purposeless content. You can rely on great features for this purpose, such as customized proactive greetings for returning visitors.

#3 Provides Valuable Data for Lead Nurturing

Live chat sessions that you archive can help you understand visitors’ behavior and needs more thoroughly. Practically speaking, you can check chat history with each of the visitors as you chat and act following the info you possess. This eliminates the chances of offering what they don’t need and spamming them with generic messages that don’t address their issues.

In other words, once you figure them out, you’ll be more likely to successfully address their requests. And live chat software offers some great features for this purpose, such as customized proactive greetings for returning visitors, a ticket management system, access to chat history, contact records, etc.

#4 Simplifies the Sales Process

While other types of support may make your sales process lengthy and complicated, distracting customers as you keep them wait, live chat support provides precisely the opposite effect. Not only can you solve their requests in just a couple of minutes but you can also immediately provide relevant content to keep them engaged. 

Although the conversions cannot be guaranteed, you may be pleasantly surprised with the leads you generate if you carefully study the visitor profile. No matter whether you supply them with educational content or exclusive relevant demo offers, you’ll be more than likely to close leads faster, increase conversion rates and reduce drop-offs.

Some of the tools that you can find helpful in this process are the ticket system, canned messages, and co-browsing feature that will facilitate interaction both between your agents and your agents and visitors.

#5 Positively Impacts Conversions

All these businesses using live chat for lead generation are doing it for a reason, as customers who chat before making a purchase tend to provide up to 40% increase in conversion rate. Besides, they also increase the average order value to up to 10%.

And to create an ideal live chat for lead generation means to provide pleasant live chat experience, combining useful information with relevant offers. So, once you start using your live chat sessions to educate website visitors along the way and provide them with content that they may be interested in, you may also experience positive effects in terms of both conversion rates and average cart value.

Drawbacks of Live Chat 

#1 Creating a Reliable Live Chat System to Generate Leads

One of the biggest negative sides of live chat software is not connected with its features but with its use. The truth is, the mere implementation of live chat doesn’t bring any results if you don’t have reliable and skilled staff to manage it.

A large number of businesses expect live chat software to magically attract customers. But it doesn’t work that way. What matters when relying on this support system are your agents’ lead generation techniques and communication strategies. 

Live chat software is a highly convenient and useful channel that you can use to send your message in real-time and build your brand identity the way you want.

#2 Relying on Chatbots to Avoid Making Efforts 

Having in mind that 70% of customers prefer interactions with human agents to AI solutions, this attitude won’t provide you with the optimal lead generation. Not only do people want to talk to real agents but they also want them friendly, empathetic, and knowledgeable. And they tend to leave if they don’t get that.

So, even though chatbots may seem to save the money you’d otherwise spend hiring agents, you should not rely exclusively on them, or any type of fully scripted responses. Instead, try to find the right balance between automated responses that can be provided by chatbots and meaningful interaction between your support staff and customers.

#3 Failing to Use Live Chat to its Complete Potential

Imagine activating a live chat support system that works for eight hours on weekdays, with an agent that needs four hours to provide feedback to customers’ concerns. Does that seem like a live chat?

Introducing live chat, you’re practically telling your website visitors you’re there whenever they need you. So, if you want your live chat to have a positive impact on lead generation, you should make sure to be there 24/7. 

Also, have in mind that in 2018 the average wait time for the first response was about 48 seconds. Your visitors will undoubtedly pleasantly be surprised if you break that record as frequently as you can.

Lead Generation

While eConsultancy confirms that live chat sessions lead to up to 31% increase in conversion rate, popups are also considered as a very effective lead generation technique in its category. The click-through rate of popup forms is 2% better compared to other types of ads. 

However, the performance and possible results of both live chat and popup form use cannot be generally estimated. What works for one website doesn’t necessarily bring great results to another one. Well-developed live chat software is way better than poorly designed popups and vice versa. But, if we have to confront these solutions and choose one, first we have to contrast their main perks and risks both solutions come with.

On the one hand, providing your visitors live chat with your agents, you get a diversity of opportunities for lead generation. Every time you solve their requests, help clarify their doubts or suggest a product that could suit their needs, you’re stimulating them to become leads by establishing a healthy relationship with them. However, this relationship is jeopardized every time you’re late with the reply, provide a generic answer, or act too intrusive, using live chat to spam visitors.

On the other hand, popups don’t give you this direct chance of developing real-time interaction. All you can do is hope to get the most out of your popup design and call-to-action. And even though Neil Patel claims that by simply using popups with exit intent technology you can increase conversions up to 46%, with this lead generation technique, you’re also subscribing to some major risks. Too intrusive, abrupt, and poorly designed popup forms may increase your bounce rate and threaten your brand image. 

Final Verdict:

Live Chat Software Increases Lead Generation at a Lower Risk

What generates more ecommerce leads? A popup or a live chat_Intercom
Source: Intercom

As we can see, if used properly, both of the solutions can provide great results in terms of lead generation. 

However, if we think of the risks coming with both of them, it’s pretty obvious that live chat software can provide you with a steadier, safer lead generation as visitors rarely decide to leave a website just because of seeing a chat window pop up. Moreover, with the live chat support option, they will feel safer navigating through your website.

And we can’t say the same for popups. This is especially true in cases when they occupy visitors’ entire screens, block them from further navigation, and come with the design that barely features a Close or a Skip button. So, even though they capture the attention of some visitors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll have a click-through rate high enough to compensate for the losses generated by the impatient visitors that instantly leave.

In the end, if you’re still really interested in the use of popups, why don’t you simply combine them with live chat for lead generation? After you test how different popups perform in different conditions, you may be able to create the optimal popup system that will, supported with live chat, additionally increase the number of leads. Maybe the key to outstanding lead generation on your website lies precisely in the synergy of these two systems.

Guest Contributor: Jason Grills is focused on emerging customer support products and ecommerce trends.