By Casey Gannon, Total Retail
Let’s take a moment to think about all the push notifications you received on your phone today. When you woke up this morning, your social media apps most likely alerted you of someone’s birthday, an exclusive one-day sale at your favorite retailer, or breaking news trending on your news feed. As you’re scrolling, you receive another notification reminding you that your first meeting is in an hour. Once at work, your favorite restaurant pings you to let you know it’s offering a special and the coupon expires in a few hours — right in time for lunch!
These are just a few alerts that make an appearance on the lock screen of your phone every day, grabbing your attention as it lights up and waiting for you to make an immediate response. Push notifications are the most effective means for direct communication for three reasons: location-based targeting, simple interaction requiring few taps compared to email, and the simplicity for marketing teams to send.
Push notifications can be segmented and targeted beyond email segmentation by using not only your customer’s profile data and buying behaviors, but also their location. Target consumers when they’re near your store or even a competitor’s store. Consumers respond to push notifications in 15 seconds, on average, incredibly faster than email’s average response rate of 6.5 hours. Managing push notifications is as simple as sending a tweet, making them a dream for marketing teams. There’s no need for images, HTML and email testing. Instead, craft a message, segment your audience and send.
Therefore, it’s important for retailers to get the most value out of this effective communication channel and create a push notification strategy that gets users’ attention and, most importantly, leads to a call to action.
Let’s take a look at how retailers can deliver push notifications that resonate with the customer and improve the bottom line.
Enhance the User Experience
Retailers have mobile apps full of good content, products and tools that help with the customer journey. Push notifications are an underutilized feature that can get users to engage with the app, driving higher conversion rates than traditional marketing channels like email. In fact, the average push notification engagement rate is 21 percent compared to only 3 percent for email.
The best way to leverage push notifications is to find opportunities that enhance the user experience with short, timely messages. Since there’s a limited number of characters for each push notification message, make sure every word counts, with action-oriented hooks that customers actually want to see. Whether it be offering exclusive mobile-only offers or flash sales, these messages must be enticing enough to draw the customer to open up the app and learn more. By streamlining the experience and meeting users where they’re at, retailers can drive greater engagement and conversions, expediting the path to purchase.
Target User Segments
Personalization is key when it comes to push notifications. In order to send relevant messages to each user, retailers must understand the consumer and send messages they actually want to receive. Retailers can do this by informing their push messaging and optimizing promotions with valuable customer data like age, gender, location, device type, and registration status.
Retailers can also let the app analyze the actions a user takes within it, then use that information to create automated push notifications that drive purchases and reduce cart abandonment. For example, if Caroline views a blouse she likes on her favorite store’s mobile app, the retailer can send her a notification in a few hours reminding her to complete her purchase and add in a coupon as an added incentive. These automated push notifications make it easier than ever to send quick and easy messages that are highly targeted and personalized.
Implementing these strategies will help retailers win mobile shoppers, especially in a world where consumers already spend so much time interacting on their smartphones. With push notifications, retailers can seamlessly retain loyal customers and communicate directly and more personally with them — ensuring they swipe right every time.
Casey Gannon is global vice president of marketing at Shopgate, a mobile commerce platform.