PopSockets Partners with ChangeUp to Combat E-Commerce Bounce Rates with Micro-Donations


Retail / Consumer Electronics


245 Million+ Phone Grips Across 75 Countries


High Bounce Rates at Checkout


Micro-Donation Technology from ChangeUp

When philosophy professor, David Barnett, glued large clothing buttons to the back of his phone, his ongoing struggle with his tangled earbud cord was effectively solved. However, a new problem arose. The buttons looked ridiculous, and his friends and family all laughed at him. Barnett began tinkering with the contraption and soon launched a Kickstarter campaign.

The funding from supporters on Kickstarter allowed Barnett to formalize his idea into a business that he initially ran out of his garage during his spare time outside of teaching. Officially named PopSockets LLC, the company sold 30,000 phone grips in its first year. By the third year, sales multiplied to 35 million grips, and then nearly doubled to 60 million grips the following year. Barnett had the #2 Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Company in America on his hands.

Barnett wasn’t in it to get rich. All along, he saw PopSockets as an opportunity to pursue his passion for philanthropy. From its earliest days, PopSockets was positioned as “an eternal positivity machine” supporting various charities. Little did Barnett know that the company’s commitment to social good would be a solution to one of the most common e-commerce challenges.

How Do We Increase Conversions?

It’s the perpetual question and marketing mission for every e-commerce brand, and one that’s directly related to cart abandonment or “bounce rates” at checkout. It’s generally much more difficult to get customers to click the final purchase button than it is to attract them to your website with advertising, lead them through the site with a well-designed user experience, and entice them to add products to their cart. 

Even having sold over 245 million phone grips across 75 countries, PopSockets’ bounce rates were an Achilles heel to the company’s ambitious growth goals.

Donate at Checkout

E-commerce micro-donations are synonymous first and foremost with social good—but they can also increase sales. Typically, it’s against best practice to add decisions and clicks to—or, as Barnett described it, “muck up”—the checkout page. However, ChangeUp’s donation technology integrates seamlessly into the checkout flow, giving customers the option to quickly choose a charity they want to support with their purchase. It’s not disrupting checkout; it’s emotionally enhancing it. Pairing the uplifting feeling of donating with the dopamine hit of buying makes the purchase more rewarding. We call it…

The Happy Bump

Customers feel good about buying from (and donating with) brands that give back. This creates a “happy bump” in conversions. In round numbers of 100,000 monthly transactions with average cart value of $50, a 1/10 of 1% increase in monthly conversions generates $5,000 in monthly revenue lift. If the conversion rate increases to 5/10 of 1%, the monthly revenue lift is $25,000.

Barnett says he’s seen the happy bump in PopSockets’ bounce rates with compared to without ChangeUp’s cartridge.

“Our bounce rates historically range from 50% to 70%, and we have evidence within that range that people are more engaged at checkout with ChangeUp,” Barnett said. “When we had to take the cartridge down for two months due to website updates, we saw our bounce rates approach 70%. Shortly after instituting the cartridge again, they were back down toward 50%. We’re confident that ChangeUp plays a role in keeping our bounce rates in check because it simply gives people a good feeling and makes them feel more connected to our brand.”

David Barnett

CEO, PopSockets

Charity Selection and Expansion

PopSockets initially activated ChangeUp with four different charity options based on the brand’s philanthropic values of climate, animal welfare, and equality. One charity in particular captured customers’ hearts and received their round-ups the most. The Malala Fund, founded from the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai and focused on advocating for girls’ education programs, resonated with PopSockets’ customers including many teenage girls and young women.

By the Numbers: PopSockets’ Malala Fund Donations During Initial Launch

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The Malala Fund success was a message from PopSockets’ customers on where they thought the brand could do good in the world, setting the precedent for PopSockets to confidently grow its partnership with ChangeUp, all while addressing and improving PopSockets’ bounce rates at checkout.

PopSockets Bounce Rates at Checkout
The average round-up participation rate with ChangeUp for most brands is 10%. When charity options are in tune with current events, those rates can often increase to 20%. When celebrities are involved, the round-up rate can be as high as 30%.

The Round up Adds up

The micro-donation impact is big for PopSockets’ business and brand, but even bigger for the world. With a popular product like PopSockets, pennies from countless customers become tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

By the Numbers: PopSockets’ Total Donations with ChangeUp (As of May 2023)

Different Charities
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Barnett says he wishes more brands would join in implementing ChangeUp, likening donations at checkout to tips for service that can truly change the world. Between the consumer insights, brand love, higher conversions and, most importantly, the donations, he calls it a win-win for everyone.

“Imagine if all companies had this at checkout and it was just standard,” Barnett said. “We could raise hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars for charities.”

ChangeUp CEO Bob Soderstrom adds, “We’re not just a software vendor. Our job is to help global brands like PopSockets do good and look good, all while significantly increasing conversions, sales, revenue, and brand loyalty in the process.”

Hear the full success story in our LinkedIn Live session.

Watch the recording here and schedule your personalized demo of ChangeUp today!

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