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An Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Push Notifications [+ Mistakes to Avoid]

Gokul
By
Gokul
• 
5 min
Personalized push notifications


As eCommerce stores turn omnichannel, they try to connect with customers through every platform possible. You have the classic email newsletters, the witty social media posts, and the occasional text messages. However, push notifications are in a league of their own.

They offer a deliverability rate of 90%, a retention rate of nearly 93%, and open rates and click rates that are 1.5x and 7x times that of emails, respectively. 

In simpler words, push notifications are engagement on steroids. 

This article takes an in-depth look at eCommerce push notifications and how businesses can use them to their advantage.

What are eCommerce Push Notifications?

eCommerce push notifications are clickable messages that pop up on a customer’s screen irrespective of the browser or device in use. And while this reductive definition may make them sound intrusive, they are anything but. In fact, push notifications seek explicit consent from the user, making them more mindful and customer-friendly than any other medium in the marketing mix. 

The different types of eCommerce push notifications include:

  • Website Push Notifications: Web push notifications are sent to desktops or mobile devices through the browser. As long as the device is connected to the internet and the browser is active, these website push notifications will show up on the screen.

Web push notification on Chrome browser
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  • Desktop Push Notifications: Desktop push notifications are push notifications that display exclusively on desktops. These are delivered primarily by an application installed on the desktop.

CNN desktop push notification
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  • Mobile Push Notifications: Mobile push notifications deliver messages on mobile devices much like desktop push notifications. The delivery of the message takes place through the app, which registers a unique identifier with the OS for every device.
Duolingo mobile push notification
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  • In-App Notifications: While desktop and mobile push notifications may display whether or not the app is in use, in-app notifications pop up within the app while the user explores it.

In-app notification within the app
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  • Push Notifications on Wearables: As wearable devices become popular, eCommerce businesses are finding ways to send messages on these devices as well! 

NYT push notification on smart watch
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The Anatomy of an eCommerce Push Notification

An eCommerce push notification typically contains:

  1. A title or headline
  2. Content body or a brief description
  3. Notification icon or logo
  4. Hero image (optional)
  5. Call-to-action (CTA) button or page URL

Parts of an eCommerce push notification
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Crafting eCommerce Push Notifications: 5 Golden Rules That Work

Across various industry verticals, eCommerce leads as the principal sender of push notifications at 22.03%. Unfortunately, these eCommerce push notifications have open rates ranging between 8.3% and 9.2%. Better than email, certainly. But still low. This could be due to wrong timing or not personalizing the notifications enough so that they attract users’ attention. 

So, what can you do to improve these numbers?

Here are some cardinal rules that may help you get started:

Get Straight to the Point

short and to the point push notification
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There is no contesting the fact that push notifications are short-form content. And to prove this statement, research has discovered that notifications having 10 or fewer words attract a click rate of 8.8%, which drops to 3.2% when the length is 21 words or above. 

In other words, brevity is key. After all, you need to respect your customers’ time.

However, the word limit should not limit your potential! Frontload the key parts of the push notification content to keep your message valuable, succinct, and impactful. Pepper your copy with power words, rich media, and emojis to get more even with little.

Write Actionable Copy

actionable push notification offering three CTAs to choose from
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You could write the most creative and outstanding eCommerce push notification copy, and it may still fall flat if it fails to incite action. After all, your website push notifications are supposed to guide or direct subscribers on what they need to do next. 

The easiest way to get this job done is through loading your push notifications with clear, compelling, and benefit-oriented Call to Value (CTV) buttons. For instance, if an item is lying in a customer’s cart for a while, you can send a push notification declaring a price drop on it and pair it with a CTV that leads to checkout. This approach will emphasize the reward - buy it now and you can save some!

Create a Sense of Urgency

Push notification driving FOMO
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The eCommerce industry needs no introduction to the infamous FOMO or the fear of missing out. After all, they have been holding flash sales and selling limited-edition products for ages! 

Now, all you need to do is translate the messages typically posted on billboards or window signs into high-quality push notifications. In fact, eCommerce push notifications can drive more value as you can use them to share real-time updates on stock availability, sale duration, and similar updates that may not be feasible in print. 

Building this sense of urgency will nudge those dragging their feet while making the purchase decision - in other words, it’s the road to ka-ching!

Incorporate Social Proof

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About 83% of consumers are more likely to purchase something if it is recommended by family or friends. And this is why adding social proof to your push notification copy could tip the scales in your favor. Say, the handbag a customer has been eyeing is selling fast - let them know about it through push notifications and it may validate their choice and kindle FOMO to drive its sale! Alternatively, you can tie up with influencers and write push notification copy that retells their experience. For instance, “Totally worth the hype: Harper Bazaar after trying the Kylie Skin Set.”

Leverage Personalization

Personalized push notifications
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Last, and most importantly, personalization is the key to making your eCommerce push notifications a success. As you may have already noticed, whether you are leveraging social proof, actionable CTV, or even urgency, the push notification would only make sense if it aligns with the buyer’s preferences. After all, there is no point in sending a push notification about the Kylie Skin Set to someone who wants to buy a handbag!

Personalized eCommerce push notification is what separates genius from generic.

Steps to Create an eCommerce Push Notification

Here are a few steps to perform for creating an eCommerce push notification for your Shopify store:

Step 1: Login to your push notification app

The very first step to create eCommerce push notification is to login to the app you are using.

Step 2: Insert code

Once you log in, install the code to your site. You can insert the code using Google Tag Manager or go ahead to add it manually. Also, make sure to test the code.

Step 3: Create your notification

Next its time to create a new push notification. You can add title, core message and targeted URL of the notification one by one. Read it over again before ensuring that it is good to go.

Step 4: Send the notification

Next, schedule the notification and hit "send".

What are eCommerce Push Notification Campaigns?

eCommerce push notification campaigns are essentially the push notifications marketing strategy deployed to engage receivers. These are quite analogous to emails and email campaigns, with the latter directing the former. 

Else, you can say that eCommerce push notification campaigns are push notifications in action.

They can be classified into the following types:

  1. Rich push notification campaigns: These include push notifications with rich media attachments such as images, animated GIFs, video, and even audio.
Regular push notification on left, rich push notification on right
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  1. Triggered push notification campaigns: As the name indicates, these automated campaigns are initiated in response to a trigger. Customer behavior often acts as a trigger, which could initiate cart abandonment campaigns, reminder campaigns, retargeting campaigns, etc.

  2. Abandoned cart push notification campaigns: Potential shoppers may abandon the cart for various reasons. Perhaps the shipping cost is too high, or your eCommerce site is pushing them to sign up, or the delivery timelines were too delayed - the list is endless. And while you can do little to stop this from happening, eCommerce push notifications can offset its effect intervening at the right point before you lose the customer entirely.

  3. Reminder notification campaigns: Suppose a shopper adds an item to their wishlist, or probably forgets an item in the cart, such action could initiate reminder notification campaigns. Here, a gentle reminder could be the nudge that they need to go ahead with the purchase.
reminder push notification
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  1. Retargeting push notification campaigns: Retargeting campaigns infuse a new life into the dormant and disengaged customers and renew your relationship with them (hopefully, one which continues right to purchase!)

  2. Cross-selling and upselling notification campaign: Modern-day eCommerce stores are not just offering a single product, they are offering “look books” and the whole shebang. And based on these product catalogs (and your customer’s interest), this campaign can recommend related or complementary (or even pricier) items to increase sales.

  3. Order update push notifications: Almost all of us are guilty of placing an order and immediately checking its status. With an order update push notification campaign, eCommerce stores can scratch this itch and share real-time updates on the package.

Amazon notification sharing order updates
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5 Tips to Drive Sales Through eCommerce Push Notification Campaigns

Sources show that eCommerce push notifications subscribers can tolerate as many as five push notifications per day, beyond which the unsubscription rate doubles. Here are some tips from the push notifications strategy playbook to make each of them count for something:

Balance Manual and Automation

Both have their pros and cons. We have already seen how eCommerce push notifications can be automated to respond to behavior-led triggers. Additionally, eCommerce stores can also send manual push notifications while having time-sensitive sales, announcing new products, or offering seasonal deals. And so, striking the perfect balance between the two can help eCommerce websites get the best of both worlds minus the pitfalls of each strategy.

Optimize the Notification Timing

Chart of best times to send ecommerce push notification
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When it comes to sending eCommerce push notifications, timing is everything. 

Aside from the obvious fact that sending push notifications in the middle of the night can annoy the customer to the point of unsubscription, it can also unlock more sales. 

For instance, analytics may indicate that people are more motivated to buy exercise gear during wee morning hours. And sending targeted website push notifications within this window would be striking the iron while it’s hot!

So, study your audience, their location and time zone, and the best hour to send push notifications so that you can maximize their value. 

Segment Your Audience

While geographical location and time zone are just two parameters that characterize your audience, there is similar customer data like their age, gender, occupation, etc. Apart from the standard demographic information, you also have psychographic and behavioral information to define your customers. Use these data sets to segment your audience based on commonalities, and you could be laying the foundation for services like personalized recommendations! According to Accengage, sending hyper-personalized push notifications can improve reaction rates by 4x!

Retarget Dormant User

retarging push notification for cart abandonment
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Businesses know that for every $5 spent on acquiring a customer, they spend $1 on retaining an existing one. In other words, your existing customers are invaluable (and cost-effective)! If you find a segment of your audience drifting off, re-engagement push campaigns could swoop to the rescue and minimize attrition. That being said, retargeting is a slippery slope. In an attempt to win over the disengaged customers, your overly enthusiastic push notifications could push them to unsubscribe or worse, uninstall the app entirely! So, practice it with caution.

Test, Measure, and Monitor

A/B testing is the lifeblood of eCommerce push notification effectiveness. It helps businesses identify what works (or doesn’t work) for them to optimize their push notification strategy. Further, they also need to keep a close eye on metrics and KPIs like:

  • Conversion rate: The number of people who completed the desired action after opening the push notification.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The number of people who click on or open the push notification.
  • Delivery rate: The ratio of push notifications that get delivered successfully as a function of the total push notifications sent.
  • Opt-in rate: The number of people who subscribe to receive the push notification.

Track the performance of your eCommerce push notification campaign to monitor its health.

Push Notifications vs. Other Channels - What are the Differences?

Here are some differences between push notifications and other channels:

  • Push notifications are affordable compared to SMSes. Most providers offer 1M+ free push notifications after subscription.
  • Push notifications come with many advanced features like advanced analytics to help your marketing teams.
  • Push notifications reach your target users faster and while they are within the app as compared to emails and SMSes

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Sending eCommerce Push Notifications

Now that you have a clear idea of what you need to do with eCommerce push notifications, the following are a few pointers in the direction of what you should not do:

  • Failing to set the context or offering value.
  • Overwhelming the user by sending too many push notifications (Some users may not even tolerate the five push notifications per day threshold that we’ve talked about!)
  • Sounding clickbaity without any tangible substance to back it up.
  • Sending generic or irrelevant push notification blasts rather than focusing on eCommerce personalization.
  • Relying on manual push notification delivery.
  • Focusing on the wrong set of KPIs and metrics while measuring the performance of the eCommerce push notification campaign.
  • Ignoring onboarding notifications and leaving the customer unattended while discovering the aha moment.
  • Making unsubscription overly complicated.

Top Tools to Master the Art of Sending eCommerce Push Notifications

Here are some of the best push notification tools that can one-up your campaigns:

  • Argoid - Nurture 1:1 customer relationships with the power of personalized, omnichannel push notifications.
  • Subscribers - Beginner-friendly platform for sending eCommerce push notifications.
  • Leanplum - End-to-end push notification management using a powerful and interactive dashboard.
  • VWO - Enterprise-grade push notification sender with chatbot facilities.

Closing Thoughts

Taking the push notifications route is just one step in the direction of your eCommerce store’s success. However, everything - from the contents of the push notification to the time at which it is sent - can influence its performance. Get in touch with us to know you can use eCommerce push notifications to catapult your business to new heights!

FAQs

What is eCommerce push notification?

A push notification is a type of clickable message that appears on user's browser, when they are using or not using the browser. The purpose of sending push notifications is quickly communicate with the users and convey messages, latest deals and discounts with them.

Does Shopify have push notifications?

Yes. You can use an app like Argoid to your Shopify store and enable personalized push notifications for the customers.

Should eCommerce stores use push notifications?

Yes, eCommerce stores should use push notifications to remind the users about latest offers, discounts and business deals. However, push notifications should be used in a restricted manner. Push notifications don't mean interrupting the users.

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