‘Push Notifications’: An Elixir for Augmenting Returning Customers
With the Indian smartphone market crossing over 300 million* users in 2016, it is natural to see a phenomenal spike in the mobile app market as well. Increasingly, customers are preferring mobile app based transactions for two main reasons — ease of access and convenience of pre-logged in personal information. Even brands are strategizing diligently for capturing the mobile consumer market using lucrative apps. But is it right to gauge the success of an app by volume of downloads only when a bigger challenge exists, that of customer retention (of app users)?For this reason, businesses need to constantly innovate on their interaction techniques and keep their users actively engaged with the brand.Push notifications do just that! They are basically prompters acquainting the users with the brand offers, features, greetings, events, launches and a lot more.
Here are the three impactful ways to use push notifications:
Build brand recall through relevancy not frequency: Mobile apps being a relatively new customer-retention channel, marketers are trying to direct users’ attention towards their apps using the push notification feature. It is not only a great way of re-establishing connections with dormant users but a powerful tool for sustained top-of-mind recall. Brands must understand that there are at least 100 similar competing apps vying for a customer’s mobile space, at any given point of time. If that customer (or app user) is unnecessarily ‘poked’ with irrelevant notifications, sooner or later he is going to block notifications, or worse, uninstall the app and try out a competing app. Messaging in notifications must be approached in a strategic manner. Although the same message is going to all registered members, little tweaks (like adding the first name), clubbed with a customized product/offer showcase can make the notification truly relevant and personalized to the app user.
Capture ‘impulse buyers’ at right time: By leveraging the in-app user data with geo-targeting, businesses can push targeted messages to the Users at the right time. Example, a car rental service provider can strategically throw notifications with city specific coupon codes. Or a travel app can notify a ‘nearby hotel’ to a user placed near an airport.This gives the brand a unique edge of reaching its customer at a time when he is probably looking for their product/service. Another great tactic brands use is of sending notifications around midnight for an exclusive midnight sale. There are many such ways to capitalize on impulse decision moments of an app user and suggestively lead him towards a transaction.
Showcase user-customized messages for emotional engagement: To increase the effectiveness of the tool,the notification message must be emotionally engaging and useful to the users. Some types of message customizations are:
· Use of the first name to address the customer
· Offer time-sensitive offers (food app notifying late night delivery options)
· Celebratory offers (birthdays special discounts)
· Highlight special App-only event for members
· Prompt availability of user-preferred products which were out of stock earlier.
· Use Emojis, audios or videos to personalize the brand message and make it more affable.
There is no ready cheat sheet for knowing how the customer will respond to a message. The best way is to constantly do A/B testing on all aspects of push notifications like — content(discount focused vs variety focused), type of message (emoji heavy vs image heavy), salutations (hello vs hi), use of colors (brand color vs multi-color), timing etc. While mobile application developers are emphasizing on the user experience (UX) aspect of push notifications, the marketers are strategizing on improving user engagement on them. They know that all it takes is a timely interaction on a notification to nudge the user into getting reacquainted with the brand.
*As per a study conducted by Counterpoint’s Research (2016).