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Web push notifications in online stores - 4 basics for getting started

12/12/2018
Reading time: 10 min
Joanna Worotyńska

Co-owner and VP of Marketing and Communication @ PushPushGo

Web push marketing evangelist. Dynamic PR and employer branding enthusiast and communication manager with knowledge and experience of many industries. Fan a new media and online communities.


The engagement of users who enable push notifications in a mobile application is 278% higher than those who don’t. According to a Localytics report, this significant difference is most visible in online stores.

You might be thinking that not every ecommerce can afford to release its own mobile application but I have good news. Just a few years ago, in 2015, this functionality was transferred directly to web browsers under the name of web push notification.

Surprised? Or maybe you have already seen small notifications appear in the corner of your screen from a website you visited? If you have not yet tested web push notifications in your online store, this article is just for you!

% of engagement with push notification according to the industry. Statistics. Localytics
Push Messaging Drives 88% More App Launches. Source: Localytics

1. Web push notifications - what, how and why

Web push notifications are small rectangular messages with a photo. You can send them to the internet browser of your subscribers - people who have subscribed to notifications via the form on your website.

Within a few seconds of sending them, notifications will be displayed directly on the screens of computers or mobile devices of recipients, even when they browse other websites.

web push notification example
Source: Yeah Bunny

Your potential subscribers can be browser users: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Safari and Opera. According to NetMarketShare data, these browsers cover over 80% of people using the Internet.

Evaluating the potential of web push in online stores

It's very easy to determine if this channel of communication can help boost engagement and sales in your store. You can estimate the size of the potential subscriber base before the activities start.

An analysis conducted on the basis of data from the PushPushGo platform shows that, on average, between 6% and 12% of website visitors subscribe to web push notifications.

It is enough, therefore, to multiply this index by the number of people who visit your store every month. Remember that even a small customer base can hide huge sales potential and it grows along with the customer list. Every return visit to your website is invaluable because it is another chance to:

  • promote brand awareness;
  • sell!

Even with a small customer base your actions can be effective and generate profits. It all depends on how you conduct your communication. See how to do it effectively in the last part of this guide.

Web push notification example 2
Source: Web push notification, Virtualo

2. Do web push notifications work?

Web push activities, despite being a very young communication channel, are characterized by high efficiency. This can be seen in the click rate stats they deliver. The average CTR of web push notifications is 12%; for comparison, that’s about 4 times higher than for email marketing.

Factors that particularly affect the high level of conversion of web push notifications include:

  • their immediacy - one click is enough to sign up and receive notifications, subscribers don’t have to check their email or a mobile application to view the message
  • it's hard to miss - for example in the case of Google Chrome, notifications will not disappear from the desktop until your recipient clicks or closes it, so there is no chance that it will appear and disappear when the user was not at the computer
  • total lack of spam - web push notifications are a marketing channel completely devoid of spam. You can not buy such a database or obtain it in a different way than just by clicking in the browser on the subscriber's side. After unsubscribing, you will not be able to restore the ex-subscriber to your list until the recipient chooses to do so. More and more consumers are aware of this and decide to receive messages about product promotions through this medium.

3. How do I get started with web push notifications in my online store?

Getting started is easy. All you need is:

  • a website for your store
  • access to the browser of visitors to the store
  • an integrated web push platform to store the customer base, collect information about recipient behavior and target and automate your campaigns

Since both the process for signing up for notifications as well as their dispatch takes place via the browser, integration with the web push platform can be carried out in just a few minutes. It is all based on pasting one line of code in the <head> section of the source code of your page.

Source code to paste for web push integration

The signup form will be displayed on the website of your store immediately after integration. You can modify it at any time with personalized content. Ready to go!

Web push sign up form example
Web push signup form. Source: Shoplo

You don’t have to worry that the code script will slow down the functioning of the online store. It is optimized so that it does not have a negative impact on the page loading speed, which in turn affects SEO and positioning in search results.

Choosing the right signup form for notifications

Experts in web push marketing from around the world confirm that the most effective kind of signup forms closely resemble notifications used natively by the browser when it asks for things like geolocation activation.

Web push notifications are a visible format that is not yet associated with intrusive pop-up forms, which are often reflexively closed even without reading the content.

You can use a signup form like the following completely basic form, which is imposed by the recipient's browser:

Web push sign up form example 2
Web push signup form. Source: DeeZee

You can also customize it with your own content. Using the language of benefits, you can convince recipients to subscribe to your notifications. Dedicated discounts or reduced shipping costs for new subscribers can be particularly effective in adding to your recipient base.

Promote products with a limited quantity is particularly well-suited for web push since it creates an extra incentive for staying in touch with you.

Web push notification sign up form. Example 3
Signup form for web push. Source: Yeah Bunny

To get the best results for your store, set up multiple test forms at the beginning of your campaigns. For example start by using a form that is personalized with your own content and then change to the default browser option. Compare the performance of different versions and iterate according to what gets the best results.

It is worth mentioning that in the case of web push notifications personal data of your recipients are not processed, so you do not have to worry about gaining any additional consents or adding clauses explaining the legalities of handling personal data.

It is also good practice to create a mini-guide that explains what content you want to communicate in the web push channel, and above all how to save and unsubscribe from notifications.

You can often use previously prepared educational materials provided by web push platforms, saving you time. This kind of customer education helps to guide potential subscribers through the process and address concerns they have about using web push notifications.

4. Using the ABCDE rule to create effective web push notifications

If you have not used web push notification in your online store before, you may not confident about sending your first campaign to your recipients.

Don’t worry! This is a new format but it won’t take long to understand how it operates, just like all online marketing channels.

When you are just starting out with web push, it is good to pay attention to the golden rules for creating effective notifications. Following them you will let you create notifications that will drive engagement and generate conversions.

We have put together a handy guide to walk you through the basics of creating and sending effective web push notifications. When you’re finished here, you’ll be ready to click “Send” and start getting great results!  

STEP 1: AUDIENCE

Question: Is a message interesting for everyone or a certain group of recipients?

Practical example: Promoting a product line that is designed for a particular market segment, like men’s work shoes.

In this situation, it makes no sense to send notifications to all of your subscribers. If you do. there is a good chance that some subscribers who receive it will feel spammed and will unsubscribe from further notifications. Sending notifications that are relevant to customer interests is obviously the easiest way to segment your base and you can read more about advanced methods later in this guide.

The idea to take away here is that by precisely targeting your campaign based on information about what products your subscriber group has previously viewed, you increase your chances of getting clicks and conversions.

STEP 2:  BENEFIT

Question: Is the recipient getting valuable content, like a promotional offer?

Practical example: You send a notification about a new line of clothing

Simple information about the new collection in your store is not enough. Real value for the recipient will be, for example, the opportunity to use a dedicated rebate code or access to information before other customers who are not yet subscribers.

Even if you do not want to use rebate codes, you can communicate the benefit of clicking on the notification in a different way. The notification may contain information that the offer has been matched specifically to the interests of the recipient. The key is to make recipients feels like the notifications are personalized to them and their preferences.

STEP 3: CONTENT

Question: Is the content (title, description, graphics) of the notification attractive and interesting enough?

Practical example: You send a campaign with the content “30% off everything!”

If you just tell customers about a discount on all products, you’re just  like thousands of other stores.

Adding a marketing twist to spark interest in the audience by referring to features or benefits of particular products. Use high-quality images but be careful to feature only products that are actually available and part of the promotion.

STEP 4: DIRECT

Question: Does the notification direct recipients to a place that is consistent with their expectations?

Practical example: You’re promoting a discount on a certain style but clicking on the notification takes customers to a page with all styles and forces visitors to search for the items on sale.

There is nothing more annoying than campaigns that promote a specific product but link to a general offer. Always be sure that anyone who clicks on a notification will be directed to a page that is specifically matched with the product or content being promoted.

Don’t waste the potential of a click on your notification by making customers search for what they thought they would see immediately.

STEP 5: ENGAGEMENT

Question: Ask yourself - would you click on the notification that you’re sending?

Practical example: Sending a notification that is quickly put together without careful consideration given to its elements, purpose and wording.

Don’t send campaigns that don’t have a specific goal or simply because you think it’s time to send something.

Make sure that your message evokes emotions or can indicate its value to recipients. Do not send a campaign in which you do not have anything intriguing to say "but you have not sent anything for a long time".

ABCDE rule for effective web push notifications. Infographic
ABCDE rule for effective web push notifications (developed by PushPushGo)

Summary

Congratulations! You have reached the end of the first part of our guide on the application of web push notifications in online stores! Now you’re are ready to:

  • integrate your store with a web push platform
  • choose the right registration form and persuade news subscribers to sign up
  • send your first campaign without making mistakes that can ruin your efforts

In the next part, we will look at how to use web push automation to do things like save abandoned shopping carts or increase the frequency of purchases. We’ll use examples to explain which strategies can make web push notifications the most effective marketing channel.

Follow us on social media and don’t miss the next part of this series! Share your thoughts in the comments and tell us how you use web push notifications or ask a question. See you next time!

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