How to use push notifications for ecommerce marketing

Push notifications in smartphones are an exciting cross-channel opportunity. These notifications can provide relevant information and limited-time offers at exactly the right moment. Here are my tips for creating a successful push notification strategy.

Many of us are familiar with push notifications on our phones that notify us about game updates or breaking news. Push notifications can also notify users about special deals and discounts. Limited-time offers delivered through push notifications are a particularly effective way to activate customers – especially when combined with other channels.

As the number of people using smartphones and tablets continues to grow, this fast and focused type of communication presents great opportunities for marketers. So how do marketers get started?

1. Developing an app to send push notifications from

To send push notifications, you need an app that customers can download from places like the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Your app can either be developed in-house or outsourced to a specialist provider. Make sure that your app is easy to use and that it can provide an individualized experience for push notifications.

The app should also include a feature to ensure that you have the customer’s permission to send push notifications, as this is legally required in some countries. This is done automatically in platforms like iOS. It should also be easy for users to revoke this permission.

2. Deciding when to send push notifications

Push notifications should ideally be sent automatically based on predefined “triggers”, such as particular actions or events related to each customer. These notifications then reach the recipient immediately on the lock screen or in the app. Relevant offers usually result in immediate action by the recipient.

To ensure that your push notifications have a convincing look and feel, I recommend that you test your notifications in advance on all commonly used mobile devices. This is because some notifications may be displayed differently on various operating systems.

3. Creating a cross-channel strategy

To work most effectively, push notifications should be sent in coordination with other channels, such as email and print. With this multichannel approach, push notifications become part of a more comprehensive marketing automation concept.

Your success depends on effective segmentation and by choosing the most suitable channel. Push notifications can be seen as the sprinters in a cross-channel mix, where relevance and speed matter most.

For example, an online fashion shop could send out individual voucher codes for women’s footwear in its email newsletter. Three days later, an automated push notification is sent to all non-openers that includes the individual code once again, linked directly to the app. In the app, the relevant women’s shoes are immediately displayed.

4. Managing your push notifications

Effective notification management is also important. Especially in cases of temporary deals, marketers should decide whether the push notification should remain listed on the smartphone or be replaced by another after it expires.

Such an approach also provides some interesting possibilities: if a short-term offer is no longer available, then the push notification could be overwritten with information about a new deal. Recipients that had not seen the original deal will not even be aware that something has changed. They will always have the latest offer on their smartphone.

As in the case of email marketing, how often you send push notifications should also be carefully considered. Use this rule of thumb: don’t overdo it. Too many push messages of an advertising nature tend to lead to subscription cancellations. That’s why less is often more when it comes to how often you send notifications.

What Episerver Campaign does

Episerver Campaign is a multichannel campaign management tool that enables you to easily create, automate and deliver engaging campaigns across multiple channels including email, text messages and push notifications.

You can add Episerver Campaign to your Episerver platform to leverage marketing automation, email marketing and deep analytics without the hassles of system integrations - your familiar platform simply grows more powerful.  

Learn more about Episerver Campaign