Technology has made it easier to reach out to customers. Unfortunately, a lot of those messages simply get lost in the noise today. Finding ways to reach an engaged audience can be challenging and frustrating for ecommerce companies. While most companies use email, text messages, and programmatic advertising to try to reach a more engaged audience, push messages are an underutilized tool in ecommerce.
What Are Push Notifications?
If you have a smartphone or tablet, you likely get push notifications all the time. They pop up in your notification tray from different apps and let you know things like when you get an email, if a game has been updated, or when a new album is released.
Push App Notifications vs Push Web Notifications
Many ecommerce stores assume that if they don’t have an app, they are unable to utilize push notifications. However, there are really two different kinds. The first are notifications from apps, and the second are browser-based notifications.
Push App Notifications:
- Automatically opt-in when app is downloaded and must be turned off manually by user
- Usually pop up on lock screen
- Appear different on different devices
- Behave differently based on device and operating system (example: Android notifications stay until dismissed; Apple notifications reset every time phone is opened)
Push Web Notifications:
- Users must choose to opt-in for messages
- Appear directly in the browser or on the home page of the device
- Mostly the same appearance across devices
- Not available on every device (example: iPhones, iPads, and other Apple connected devices do not offer web notifications even when supported browsers are downloaded though Apple desktops and laptops do support them)
- Can be utilized by simply adding a script to your website
While app notifications require companies to have an app, web-based notifications are available to any company with a website. News sites have been using this technology more often to draw customers to their site for breaking news.
Are Push Notifications Effective?
In general, push notifications have a higher open rate than any other form of direct user contact and can be extremely effective when done correctly. Because customers have the ability to easily opt in or out, the messages are not seen as annoying in a way that emails and text messages can be. They are also a cheap way to contact your customers easily. Plus, users always know who the messages are coming from, making it easy to spread brand awareness.
Best Practices for Employing Push Notifications
- Get personal. Push notifications are most effective when they are targeted to individual users. Think about how you can personalize notifications to make the most impact on your customers.
- Limit yourself. Overusing notifications will turn off your customers quickly. In fact, customers that get too many notifications often not only turn off notifications but stop using the site or app that they felt was spamming them.
- Consider timing. Users are often spread around the world. Sending notifications that say “Good Morning!” when it’s 8 pm in the users time zone is not ideal. Make sure anything you are sending to your customers is relevant to them.
- Be concise. Unlike text messages and emails, you have very few words to get your point across. Find creative ways to keep your messages informative but short.
- Offer value. Customers are more likely to appreciate your messages if you are giving them something useful. Find ways to offer them real value rather than sending marketing messages all the time. For example, offer them a quick link to reorder something they buy regularly or a discount code for a useful product in a geofenced location. The more valuable your messages are, the more likely your customers are to appreciate them.