A/B Testing Idea #187 - Display an exit pop-up when people try to leave their basket before completing the checkout process

Tactic_ Display an exit pop-up when people try to leave their basket before completing the checkout process


If your customers have made it to the basket or payment page of your checkout funnel then they've already invested a certain amount of time on your site. The exit pop-up is a good idea to try and discourage them from leaving when they're already so close to completion. In order to try and convince them not to leave, draw their attention to what they will "lose" or "miss out on": in this case, the products they were about to buy, the time they have already spent on the site, etc.

Studies have shown that people can be heavily influenced when making a decision by the thought that they might lose time or effort already invested in something.

We are also twice as sensitive to the idea of loss than of potential gain so displaying a well-timed exit pop-up can increase the chances that your customer will reconsider leaving the page and losing all the time they've already spent.

People also often feel compelled to finish something they have already started and an exit pop-up can be an influential reminder that the process they started hasn't yet been completed. All of which may well encourage your customer to rethink leaving and instead return to complete their purchase.


  • Loss Aversion (Tversky & Kahneman, 1984)
  • Commitment and Consistency (Cialdini, 1984)
  • Sunk Cost Effect (Kahneman & Tversky, 1970; Arkes; Hal R. & Blumer, 1985)

The Research

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion explains our tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains.

Commitment and Consistency

Once we have publicly committed to something or someone, then we are more likely to carry through and deliver on that commitment in order to be consistent.

Sunk Cost Effect

The Sunk Cost Effect proves that people can be influenced in to making irrational decisions based on a perceived loss of money, time or effort already invested in something.

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