What percentage of people click on the links in your emails? On average, ecommerce stores can expect a 2% click through rate (CTR). And that number, due to our shrinking attention spans and swelling inboxes, is on the decline.
The good news is, there’s a better option—push notifications within a web browser.
Ecommerce push notifications, on average, deliver anywhere from double to triple the click through rate of email. Leveraging this response rate to reduce cart abandonment can significantly boost cart returns and overall ecommerce revenue.
Not only that, sending push notifications to people who have visited your product pages but did not make it to check out can help you woo people back to your store to keep shopping.
In this article, I’ll show you the power of ecommerce push notifications, and explain how to use them to target people based on their product preferences and and reduce cart abandonment.
Have you started using web push notifications? Let’s first take a look at a few of the benefits for your ecommerce store.
Web Push Notifications Are Opt-in, but With 1-Click Subscription
With the GDPR regulations in full swing, everyone is working hard to stay on the right side of the law. Web push notifications make it easy, because they’re totally consensual. People have to agree before you send them notifications.
Even better, as long as your website is HTTPS, people are able to subscribe with just a click.
Compare that to email popups. They appear, and you have to enter your name and email, and then click submit.
After interested people submit their email address, you’ll still have to send them a confirmation email before they’re added to your email marketing service (if you choose double opt-in). Sometimes, they get lost in the spam filter or people simply decide not to click on it again.
Another fringe benefit of web push notifications is they remove the inability to subscribe with fake information. I’m pretty sure we’ve all gotten the [email protected] subscriber email.
Ecommerce Push Notifications Appear on Screen and Have Higher CTRs
This may be my favorite advantage.
There’s no middleman like Facebook deciding who’ll see your messages and who won’t. There are no spam detection algorithms to determine whether you’ve used the wrong words in your subject line.
It’s just you, your message, and your subscriber.
Whether that person is on your website or not is irrelevant, they’ll get the message. The simple act of appearing in front of more people will increase the likelihood of a click.
Delivery is Instant
Not everyone gets on Facebook every day and not everyone cares to check all their emails. I know I’ve been cleaning my inbox and have seen time sensitive information a week late.
What happens when you have a hot sale you know someone will love but they don’t check their email in time? You’ve missed that opportunity, which will impact your email marketing ROI. Web push notifications bridge the gap and allow you to send highly visible instant messages to the right people.
They Don’t Interrupt Subscribers
Lastly, push notifications grab attention but don’t interrupt someone throughout the course of their activities. At least, they don’t interrupt in the traditional sense like lightbox popups.
What I mean is they’re there and visible but take up a small portion of the screen. You can also set them to disappear without interaction from the user.
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How to Use Ecommerce Push Notifications to Run a Product Interest and Cart Abandonment Recovery Campaign
Ecommerce cart abandonment can be as high as 80% or as low as 55%. According to SaleCycle, it’s usually about 75%. In any case, that means more than half of all the people who get through your funnel decide to bail at the last minute.
It happens for multiple reasons. The most prominent reason is unexpected shipping costs.
This is where all the benefits of push notifications shine.
You know how powerful cart abandonment email campaigns can be. They can help you recover potentially lost revenue by getting people back to the carts they left. The problem is that cart abandonment emails are also easy to ignore and can get lost in the avalanche of messages people receive.
Push notifications sidestep those limitations and send your cart abandonment notifications right to your potential customer, directly in the browser they are surfing on.
Let’s look at how to set up push notifications for ecommerce cart abandonment recovery and also to get people who visited your product pages and left, back to shopping on your website.
Set up Ecommerce Push Notification Triggers
The first thing you need to do is identify what will trigger you to send a push notification as it relates to cart abandonment or your potential customers leaving your site too early. There are multiple types of people who visit your website.
- Those who visited a single page and bounced
- The ones who visited multiple product pages but didn’t get to checkout
- The people who added items to the cart but didn’t complete the purchase
Each group has a different level of purchase intent and should be spoken to accordingly.
Here’s how you can use those segments to set up some triggers.
People Who Visited a Single Page and Left
This is a more nuanced situation and isn’t directly tied to cart abandonment, but it is worth a mention as it can re-engage consumers and lead to future sales. It’s hard to say whether someone was actually interested in the page they landed on. Currently, there’s no way to target push notifications to subscribers based on dwell time.
But if they subscribed to push notifications while on your page, it means they’re at least somewhat interested in your brand.
Instead of using the limited information you have about them to shove offers down their throat right away, use it as an opportunity to build trust and engagement.
Send them a mix of messages:
- A page that describes your brand story
- Lead magnet offers
- Popular blog posts
For example, let’s say someone lands on a blog article about the best way to wear puff jackets then leaves your website. You can make a reasonable assumption that they’re interested in jackets.
To continue the interaction, send a push notification that leads them to another blog post relevant to jackets with more commercial intent like, “The Must-Have Jackets for This Season.” Inside that article, there should be strong CTAs to your relevant product pages or categories.
What about if someone lands on a page that’s not directly related to your core products, but still helps them as your target customer?
For example, you sell hiking gear and they land on a page you’ve made about the best places to hike on the West Coast. Your push notification follow up could send them toward a page that highlights the right gear or even a guide that shows them how to plan the perfect trip.
When they’ve started to engage with your messages, send them information about new arrivals, discounts, and special offers.
People Who Visited Specific Product Pages
With this type of push notification marketing, we’re trying to take someone from interest to desire. You’ll send specific messages based on the pages they visited. I suggest you start with your most popular product pages to take advantage of the 80/20 rule. The goal here will be to get people back to the website, add a product to their cart, and check out successfully.
Set up your triggers to fire after someone has viewed a product page (based on URL). You should also put a timeframe on it for relevance and to prevent the notification from firing while someone is still on your website.
So let’s say someone landed on my website and browsed around the jeans section for a while. In total, they viewed three pages but didn’t add anything to their cart. While there, they subscribed to push notifications.
I want to increase my chances of success, so I’ll only send messages related to the most popular product out of those they viewed, one that I already know has a good chance of converting.
I’ll set up a trigger to send the first message out between 6-12 hours after they’ve left the page. I add this buffer because they may be planning to come back on their own, which is a good thing. I also want to make sure they aren’t still on my website when I start sending notifications.
There are no hard and fast rules about the ideal timeframe. You’ll have to test. Start with waiting for six hours, measure, and reduce the timeframe by an hour until you have an idea of what works best for your specific situation.
Your first message in this case could have a title like:
You have good taste
It’s important to note that, at this point, I don’t know exactly how much they want the items they viewed. They didn’t add anything to their cart and could just be window shopping. The initial message has to give them an incentive to go back. For this, I recommend adding a slight discount:
Use the code fastmover10 to get 10% off within the next 24 hours.
As you’ll see in the next section, you shouldn’t lead with a discount for people who’ve already added to cart. It may not be necessary. But in this scenario, there’s not enough information to decide whether they’re ready to buy, so a discount could nudge them forward.
The second message should go out just before the 24-hour window you gave them expires, reminding them about the discount code. (A quick note about discounts: They work, but using them too much can train your customers to wait for them, which isn’t a good thing.)
People Who Abandoned Carts
With this type of ecommerce push notification, we’re focused on moving people from desire to action. They’re obviously interested, but got distracted or discouraged. Every message in this case should be geared towards getting people back into their carts to finish their purchases.
You can do a general cart abandonment sequence, or you can do a more specific sequence based on the total cart value. This is powerful because you can use different messaging for different people. A good place to start is a general cart abandonment trigger.
Simply set the triggers to people who added items to their cart but didn’t make purchases.
Cart Abandonment Push Notification Sequence Examples
The sequence you use for your cart abandonment push notifications will be directly tied to your industry. Some audiences will tolerate no more than one a day, while others will happily get multiple messages daily.
Of course, you have to test it.
What I’ll give you here are guidelines. Implement them and strategically test until you hit on the frequency that works best for you and your customers.
The first message can be sent out as soon as 30 minutes to an hour after a shopper has abandoned the cart.
That’s the strategy Bajaao uses to recover their abandoned carts.
The first message is sent out after 30 minutes:
The second message is sent out after just one hour:
They send a third message two hours after cart abandonment:
While this frequency is too much for me and would probably cause me to unsubscribe, they saw a 14% lift in topline revenue.
For other stores, once a day should be enough to achieve your desired results. For example, myBageecha doesn’t send out nearly as many messages, but still had impressive results.
The first message is sent a day after cart abandonment:
The second message is sent two days after abandoning the cart:
With this simple sequence, they were able to increase their average order value by 56.5% and got a conversion rate of 10.6%.
These are two push notification examples on extreme ends of the scale. Go for the middle ground (I’ll show you in a moment) then tweak.
Templates and Frequency for Cart Abandonment Messages
Start with five messages spread out over the course of a few days. Here’s a starter ecommerce push notification sequence you can adapt to your specific situation.
Time: Within 12 hours of cart abandonment
Goal: Re-engage customer and close the sale
Title: Stock is limited. Complete your order.
Focus the message around limited stock available. Let them know you’ve saved their cart for now but it will expire so other people have a chance to buy it.
Message 1 (alternative):
Goal: Re-engage customer and close the sale
Title: Did you forget these?
Not all products have a limited stock. In that case, it’s still a good idea to show up and remind them of the cart they filled up. In the message, let them know their items are still in the cart and give them a reason to move fast. That could be an expiring cart, seasonal factors, FOMO, etc. You know your product best.
Time: 24-36 hours after abandoning the cart
Goal: Close the sale and emphasize urgency
Title: Your cart will expire soon.
Remind them again that you’re holding their order and encourage them to complete the purchase. Also note that neither of these messages emphasized a discount. They’re designed to catch the most-interested customers who got distracted for one reason or another.
Time: Two days after abandoning the cart
Goal: Social proof and trust
Title: Tips, tricks, and use cases
This message focuses on how your past customers have derived value from your products and links to a blog post or landing page with a case study. The focus isn’t on a direct sale, but rather on strengthening your brand’s position in the customer’s mind. It also shows them a few unique ways to use your product.
Sometimes, you don’t have a detailed case study to showcase your product. That’s alright. You should still have an idea of how people are using and deriving value from it. There’s also a story behind it. Everything has a story, you just have to find it. In this message, send them to a blog post or landing page that focuses on the why behind the product (why you made it, why you chose this one, what makes it special). In addition to that, talk about interesting or common ways to use the product.
Time: Three days after abandoning cart
Goal: Introduce a discount to get non-buyers to convert.
Title: Get 10% off for the next 48 hours
There’s a time constraint, because you want people to move now instead of later. When you set a strict deadline, it motivates people to take action.
Time: Five days after abandoning cart
Goal: Get the slow movers to take action
Title: 10% off expires soon
This is the final opportunity to get people to take action (you can add more messages of course). Drive the discount hard and let them know it’s really going away.
Setting a Goal and Measuring Results
There should be a clear set of hypotheses and goals for your push notification campaigns. Otherwise, you’re just taking shots in the dark.
Here’s an example. If I add a five-day push notification sequence, the conversion should increase by 25%, which will add $5,000 in topline revenue.
Once you’ve decided on the goal you’re shooting for, set up your test and run it until you have statistically relevant results.
Even if you don’t hit your goal, but still see an improvement, it’ll let you know you’re on the right path. Continue to tweak your campaign until you arrive at your target.
If the results are way off from your hypothesis, two things could be happening:
- Your hypothesis was flawed and you should approach it from a different direction
- Ecommerce push notifications aren’t for you (not likely)
Tips for Writing Effective Ecommerce Push Notifications
One challenge with push notifications—they give you limited space to get your point across. Let’s look at a few quick tips to make yours more effective.
Get Straight to the Point
You won’t be able to write an introduction, body, and conclusion. It won’t fit. Your push notification isn’t there to tell a story. Save that for the landing page. Your copy has to be informative and compelling to earn clicks.
Instead of: “We know you love goodies because everyone does. We’re launching our annual sale and everything in the store has to go. Get discounts up to 50% off.”
Use something like: “Our annual sale is live. Get up to 50% off select items. Click for the deets.”
The dimensions differ depending on the type of device and operating system. When browsers are updated, the available character limits are also updated. You can find the ideal push notification lengths here (current as of January 2019).
Go for Clarity Above All Else
It doesn’t matter how concise or funny your message is if it fails to get your point across. When you’re in doubt, just say what you have to say. You’d be surprised at how refreshing an honest brand is.
Define the Action
Never assume that people will know the next step to take. Always spell it out for them. The most clicked push notifications provide a direct benefit to the end user. Write your push notification in a way that provides a benefit and shows a clear path to action.
For example, instead of saying we just launched a new product, say that you launched and they should click to get a 10% first movers discount. Or tell them you’ve launched and they should click to get all the details. You can also tell them you’ve launched and they should click to get behind-the-scenes access to the creation process.
Of course, it will depend on your business model and goals. Just remember that it’s about them as much as it is about you.
A High-Converting Welcome Message
The welcome message is triggered a few seconds after someone subscribes for push notifications.
With the welcome message, you want to set expectations for what they’ll get from your push notifications. If you’ll update them about new products, blog posts, or deals, let them know that up front. It reduces the chances of someone unsubscribing because of unexpected messages.
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The Untapped Power of Ecommerce Push Notifications
Ecommerce push notifications are still the new kid on the block. They haven’t achieved universal adoption like email and social media.
That means this is an opportunity that’s still wide open.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, and it may seem like you have a mountain to climb. It’s worth the journey.
Cart abandonment is the silent killer in Ecommerce. You can do everything else right but if you drop the ball here then you’re filling a leaky bucket.
Ecommerce push notifications, combined with other strategies you’re using can help you stop the holes and grow your business even faster.
Choose one of the approaches I outlined in this article and focus on implementing it to get more of your visitors to complete the checkout process. Tweak it until you’re comfortable with your web push notification conversion rates. After that, use them in more and more situations. You’ll see the results first hand in the form of higher revenue.
Let me know how you’re using Ecommerce push notifications in the comments and don’t forget to share.