If you had asked Jeremy Watt one year ago if he would ever run a popup in his online store, Province of Canada, his answer would have been an unequivocal “absolutely not.”

Like many online store owners, Jeremy, along with his business partner and wife, Julie Brown, believed that popups were pushy, annoying, rude, and invariably poorly-designed. Even though they knew popups worked—Jeremy and Julie are career designers, well-versed in digital marketing—Jeremy says they were “always full-blown against popups,” convinced that any popup would detract from the classic, understated design of their brand and products.

It wasn’t until Jeremy stumbled across Pixelpop in a Shopify email last June that he began to reconsider his staunch “anti-popup” stance.

“I looked at the product and thought, ‘It looks like Pixel Union has taken a design-forward approach with this,’” Jeremy told us in a phone interview last month. “The app is really smart and slick, and it gives you the tools you need so you don’t have to waste time hand-coding special functionality. I thought, ‘Maybe this is the motivation we need to give it a try.’”

And so Jeremy and Julie suspended their skepticism, installed the app, and published their first popup, a clean and simple newsletter signup that paired a friendly welcome message with an incentivizing discount.

Almost immediately, they were seeing results.

“Pixelpop has been growing our email list far superior to just crossing our fingers and hoping people sign up,” Jeremy says, explaining that more email signups translate to more marketing opportunities and, ultimately, more sales. “It’s been a total game changer for us. Now we’re saying, ‘Okay, going forward, we’re never not doing this.’”

Province-of-Canada-popup

Since publishing that first popup almost a year ago, Jeremy and Julie have experimented with all kinds of popup types and techniques in their store, from floating bars that remind visitors of free shipping and exchange policies, to announcement and coupon code popups that merchandise special promotions.

They’ve even done the one thing they vowed never to do: add a full-screen takeover to their home page. (“My partner still hates that I pushed for it,” Jeremy jokes.)

While they recognize that the takeover, by definition, takes visitors’ attention away from their products, Jeremy sees it as an important branding opportunity, welcoming potential customers and setting the tone for their entire experience.

“We’ve been able to call our customers citizens,” he says, “and we use that language in our signup popup: 10% off for our citizens.”

In a way, the heartfelt, patriotic messaging visitors first see in the takeover popup has become the opening act for the rest of the browsing and purchasing experience.

On the email signup confirmation page, subscribers are welcomed to Province of Canada and told to “Enjoy their stay.” On the cart page, purchasers are thanked for supporting Made in Canada manufacturing. And, if they do end up placing an order, they receive a personalized, handwritten note, addressed—as they’ve been taught to expect—to a citizen of the Province of Canada.

“A popup can be seen as abrasive and distracting, but the way we use it, it becomes part of the customer journey,” Jeremy says.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Province of Canada’s popups and bars are about as tasteful and well-designed as they come. These are not the garish, attention-grabbing popups Jeremy and Julie dreaded, but clean, minimal designs that actually enhance their store’s aesthetic rather than diminishing it. The transition from popup to store, product to popup is virtually seamless.

With design and copy in the bag, Jeremy says his next focus is digging into Pixelpop’s targeting tools to better tune popup content to various visitor segments.

“We get a lot of Canadian expats from across the world ordering from us,” he says. “We’ve been wanting to come up with a message for all the people who aren’t in Canada. We can identify their location using Pixelpop, and instead of showing a popup to Canadian IP addresses, we can target Canadians living in America or Australia or the UK. It would be a welcome home kind of thing.”

For now, Jeremy and Julie plan to keep doing what they’ve been doing since they first discovered Pixelpop—building their brand, racking up email signups, and increasing conversions.

“We were skeptics before, since we don’t like getting popups from other companies. But because of Pixelpop’s design-first approach, and the ability to customize popups so easily, it’s been perfect for us. Now I’d be scared not to run it based on the success we’ve seen.”


Head over to ProvinceofCanada.com to learn more about Jeremy and Julie’s business and see Pixelpop in action.

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