Website Push Notifications for E-commerce
Website push notifications are clickable messages that are sent by a website to their subscribersâ€™ browsers. They work very similarly to mobile app push notifications (notifications sent by a mobile app that land in your notification tray) except that they work on websites instead of appsÂ andÂ can be accessed on all devices (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc).
Weâ€™re going to discuss why E-commerce players cannot afford to ignore website push notifications, how they work and how to optimize your push notification campaigns to deliver great results for your online store.Let’s begin
Why youÂ shouldÂ use website push notification?
Website push notifications fit into a very unique spot in this entire spectrum (email, smsÂ mobile push notification). It differs from mobile app push notifications in that while app push notifications are limited to mobile devices and tablets, website push notifications also covers desktops.Â Desktop usage still accounts for 42% of total internet time. Web push notifications deliver the power of real-time push notifications to this 42% of internet users.
Another point which makes website push notifications very important for E-commerce is the cost factor. Building a quality app is an expensive affair and sometimes the ROI can be difficult to justify. In fact, for small and medium sized companies,Â mobile websites may reach more people than mobile apps do. This makes website push notifications more critical since it gives businesses the ability to send push notifications without investing in an app.
All in all, it can be seen that website push notifications is an important channel for E-commerce since it gives websites the power of instant communication via websites and that too on all devices, be it desktop mobile or tablet.
How do Website Push Notifications work?
By default, whenever you install a mobile app, you give the app the permission to send you push notifications on your device. Websites, however, have to explicitly take permission from their users to send them push messages. This is how website push notifications work:
- The first step is getting opt-in from visitors. As soon as someone arrives on a website, an opt-in box is triggered. If the visitor clicks on â€œAllowâ€, he/she is added to your subscriber list.
2. As soon as a â€˜visitorâ€™ becomes a â€˜subscriberâ€™, you can send them As soon as a â€˜visitorâ€™ becomes a â€˜subscriberâ€™, you can send them push notifications from your website. The title message and the text message are customizable within certain character limits and a URL has to be specified. These notifications will arrive in real-time even if the browser is not open at that point of time. Clicking on the notification will take the subscriber to the URL specified.
When to send push notifications
Website Push Notifications, by their very nature, require an instant response on the part of the receiver. This makes timing all the more important. A classic mistake when sending push notifications is not take into account the time zone your subscribers are located in. To fix this, you need to have a clear understanding of how your subscribers are spread around the globe and be very particular that each time zone receives the message at an appropriate time. Itâ€™s definitely more complicated than sending out a notification in a single batch, but thatâ€™s the kind of effort that is required in this highly-personalized environment. For example, you donâ€™t want to end up with this notification when the stars are twinkling, do you?
A wrong time to send this notification
Another thing that you need to consider is that different kinds of notifications work at different times of the day. If you are sending a promotional message, you want your users to be in a restful state of mind so that they have the mental bandwidth to check out your offer. Choosing to send something funny and light-hearted? Go for the afternoon, when people are feeling bored in the office and want something to crack them up.
How Frequently to Send
Probably the most important thing to consider as you scale up your push notification campaigns is the frequency of your messages. Since push notifications is a high-engagement communication channel, you need to be really careful not to inundate your subscribers with more notifications that they can handle.
Since website push notifications is a fairly new technology, there is no data out there on optimal frequency. At this stage, you need to carefully monitor your click rates, time on page, bounce rate and opt-outs after every push notification to find out which frequency works best for your audience.
Using Segmentation to Send Personalized Notifications
As E-commerce marketers, personalized messages are nothing new for us. We all know that they work. However, it is doubly critical to not follow the spray-and-pray approach when it comes to website push notifications, simply because opting-out is so easy and there is no way for you to get those unsubscribers back, unless they change their settings. For example, this guy is totally opting-out after receiving this notification.
A poorly personalized push notification
E-commerce players, therefore, need to categorize their subscribers into different buckets that are as narrowly defined as possible. One way of doing this is to ask subscribers for preferences at the time of opting-in. Another very effective way is to go for behavioral segmentation i.e. putting subscribers into different segments based on their on-page activities like type of pages viewed, number of views of a particular page etc. For example, if Iâ€™ve been checking out books in the spy thriller genre lately, the store should mark me as someone whoâ€™s interested in the genre and send me a notification whenever something new is published in that category.
What Metrics to Track
The most immediate metric that comes to mind when thinking website push notifications isÂ click rate. This is how many people clicked on the notification as a percentage of the number of people to whom that notification was delivered.
However, just focusing on this one metric can lead your analysis astray. Instead, you should strongly focus on the business goals you deem most important, which in this case would be sales (primary goal) and visits to checkout page, add to cart (secondary goals). Tag your notification links with the proper UTM parameters and then sift through the data in Google Analytics and other analytics tools you are using to find out how many people arriving on your website via push notifications are actually performing the above actions. This is the only way that you will be able to determine whether website push notifications are working for you or not.
Thatâ€™s it! This covers almost everything you need to know as you start with website push notifications for your online store. Just remember â€“ keep listening to what your audience is trying to say and keep iterating on the basis of that!