Q&A: The e-commerce marketers guide to push notifications

We recently spoke to Shiju Mathew, VP of Mobile at Vizury, about the role of push notifications and how e-commerce businesses can use them to their benefit.

Why push notifications?

An e-commerce marketer has so many different channels to pick and choose from. But push notification is probably the only channel that opens up a direct communication line with the user. And since it’s on the mobile, it’s most accessible as well. The best part is that the costs per engagement with push notifications is negligible since push does not have any costs attached.

How to engage users with push notifications?

Users can be engaged through personalised push notifications. Individualised messages and relevant product recommendations are designed to make the e-commerce shopping experience more meaningful for the shopper, ultimately leading to a higher engagement via end purchases.

How will iOS 10 support rich media push notifications?

With the iOS10 release, push messages can be a lot more meaningful and relevant to the user. Rich media push notifications can provide 20-30 per cent engagement with app.

Please give us some use cases for e-commerce brands to use rich media push notifications

  • Intent based recommendations and offers
  • Product images, videos within the push for top of mind recall
  • Notifications sent based on event, time, location triggers
  • Replace pending notifications with updated information

How do you differentiate rich media push notifications at different stages of the e-commerce purchase cycle?

The e-commerce vertical has an interesting engagement and retention cycle. When you look at e-commerce app users, they could be:

  • New users (someone who’s just installed your app) - You can run collaborative filtering based on products that the new users have visited in order to aid product discovery within your app;
  • Drop-offs (users that have spent significant time on your app and have looked at a few products, maybe added a few to the cart as well but haven’t bought) - remind such users of products they’ve been browsing but haven’t yet purchased;
  • Buyers (these users have used your app to make a few purchases) - you can send personalised alerts when new products have been added to a category of interest to the user, or when the price of a product of interest has dropped;
  • Dormant (these are guys that are not using your app, but haven’t uninstalled it either) - utilise insights from past behaviour and send highly personalised messages to offer custom discounts on relevant products.

How do you address a new user vs an active user?

For new users, you can use push notifications to send custom recommendations and first-buy discounts specific to their interests. You can run collaborative filtering based on products that the new users have visited in order to aid product discovery within your app. Active users have shopped on your app but rarely purchased. In order to seek out that ever-elusive sale, push notifications rife with product images can help you grab active users’ attention and grow the chances of a sale.

Are you specifically addressing buyers?

Yes. For consumers that have previously purchased products, the challenge becomes how to maintain their business. App marketers can use rich media push notifications to send frequently bought or look-alike product recommendations to spur more purchases. This customer group can also be targeted with alerts when new products have been added to a category of interest, when prices have dropped, and they can be offered loyalty discounts for continued use.

E-commerce companies often have to deal with a huge pool of dormant users?

Right, just because a user engages with an e-commerce app once, that does not guarantee their prolonged investment. For dormant users, re-engagement offers are key. By inspecting the trail of previous behavioural signals, apps can create hyper-personalised push notifications to coerce inactive users back into the purchase cycle.

Please share some quick tips and steps for get started with the process

I think the first obvious step is to gather data. One needs to understand what your users are looking for or find out when they are sliding into inactivity and just connect with them at the right time and with the right message via a simple push. It’s also important to experiment with different formats and messages within push notifications and find out what works for your brand. Push notifications is just one way to interact with users, but what do you do with users who do opt-in, but don’t respond to a push message? You must continue the conversation by retargeting those non-responders via personalised display and Facebook advertising.

How does Vizury’s Engage Commerce Platform help with this process?

Engage Commerce has the following three benefits when I compare it with any other marketing automation platform out there:

To date, this is the only platform custom-built for the e-commerce vertical. What this means is that Engage Commerce is loaded with features and use cases that address the inherent challenges for e-commerce user engagement and retention that helps grow conversions and ROI.

The platform cuts away from the typical rule-based platforms that do not allow the marketer to execute highly personalised and niche marketing engagements. Engage Commerce brings in the power of machine learning taking e-commerce marketing automation to another level. This possible with data-backed insights and self-learning algorithms that constantly optimise performance and marketing effectiveness.

Engage Commerce allows deeper levels of personalisation that are vital if you must stay connected with your users. Our 1:1 personalisation engine can deliver custom messages, offers and recommendations for every single user on your app.

These could be event-based triggers that foster greater engagement and helps marketers in staying relevant to their users.

Shiju Mathew, VP Mobile Products at Vizury.