5 Ways Retailers Should Use Push Notifications

If you’ve ever downloaded an app and deleted it days later due to an overload of pointless notifications, you know that some app developers have really begun to abuse the power of push.

Macy’s recently announced plans for the largest beacon technology rollout in retail history by incorporating Shopkick to send shoppers push notifications about deals. However, InMarket has found that one too many push notifications from a brand can cause users to simply delete the associated app.

Unfortunately, a few overzealous brands have caused a lot of businesses to rethink using push notifications altogether. In reality, push provides a valuable opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to form one-on-one connections with shoppers that are more personal and timely than other forms of communication. Notifications keep an app or brand top of mind, encouraging more frequent engagement and purchases.

According to Urban Airship, push notifications increase retention rates by 55 percent when users opt to receive them. Notifications aren’t considered spam when they’re sent at the right time and contain valuable content. In fact, users see the messages as both helpful and informative.

If you’re so careful that you’re not willing to try push notifications, you may miss out on opportunities to connect with your customers on a more personal level and gather important insights into their behavior.

Here are five strategies you can employ to send push notifications that customers will appreciate:

1.      Start Small By focusing on transactional or purpose-driven messages, you can encourage users to trust push notifications. Start with notifications about order shipments and payments — things your customers will appreciate being notified about. From there, you can move on to more personalized deals and messages.

2.      Offer Something Special While brick-and-mortar businesses may have lots of casual customers, these customers usually visit infrequently and often don’t know about sales. Push notifications give you a direct, personal line of communication with customers and allow you to suggest special offers that customers wouldn’t normally be able to take advantage of. These messages incentivize users to opt in to push and take advantage of future deals.

3.      Use Data to Customize Deals Use services that let you gather customer data from apps. This data will help you determine which deals to send and the type of calls to action that resonate best with customers. Instead of sending a generic notification about a storewide sale, send customers offers about deals that are relevant to them based on past purchase behavior. Amazon, for instance, sends daily deals promoting different products that target distinct customer segments based on past purchases.

 4.      Time Notifications Strategically You don’t want to send push notifications too often, but you also don’t want to send them to users at times they’re likely to be ignored.

According to personal push notification company Kahuna, customized delivery times based on user preferences result in a conversion uplift of 384 percent.

Sending the right message at the right time, as well as making sure the notifications are valuable, will keep user engagement high.

5.      Re-engage Lost Customers Offer an incentive to customers who have stopped using the app — and stopped visiting your store. These notifications can also tell the user about new app features he or she might find useful.

Lost customers are low-risk targets because they aren’t active, and sending a deal or incentive could bring him or her back to your store.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, you should take a cue from online retailers and turn push notifications into a competitive advantage. To get started, map the customer journey, and identify times when notifications could add value to the shopping experience. You can also extend in-store engagement by using push notifications in conjunction with beacon technology.

Push notifications let you speak directly to your customers to make a personal connection. When they’re done well, users won’t view your notifications as spam. They’ll see them as helpful and informative messages that inspire engagement, repeat visits, and spontaneous purchases.

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