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3 Time-Tested Retail Sales Promotions That Drive Foot Traffic and Build Loyalty

How do you entice people to buy more from your store? What do you do when you want customers to make purchases more frequently, or in greater volume, or if you’re looking to boost business during slow hours and more?

Whatever your goal may be as a retailer, by creating a time-sensitive sales promotion and having a good grasp on your target customer demographic, you’ll be able to incentivize the right actions, get them to respond, and grow your business in the process.

In this post, we’ll look at three retail sales promotion techniques that are worth their weight in gold when implemented effectively. They are:

So, the next time you’re stuck as to how you can increase sales, get new customers, or retain existing ones, you’ll have no trouble turning to the perfect promotion strategy for your goal.

Let’s get started.

The Power of Promotional Pricing

As a small business owner, you already know the power of discounting products to increase demand.

But which products do you give a discount on? And by how much? Or for how long? These are all questions that come to mind when considering the option of reducing prices. They’re also important questions due to the nature of how pricing affects consumer psychology.

For example, you might have heard about the power of ending prices with the number 9. Researchers have discovered that items priced at $39 sell more than the cheaper price point of $34. Or the overbearing power of the word “free,” which Dr. Dan Ariely has shown to motivate us even when the perceived value and price of two options remain the same.

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the more popular promotional pricing options that you can deploy in your own store:

  • Markdowns: This is when you reduce prices on a wide range of products in your store for all customers. This is especially effective when backed by a wider advertising campaign, be it through paid or unpaid channels.
  • Loss Leaders: When you know that certain products are in demand, regardless of whether it’s a luxury item like an iPad or everyday need like under garments, you can provide certain products at a steep discount to draw new customers to your store. Known as loss leaders, these products are great for selling overstocked items, increasing traffic to your store, and generating brand awareness.
  • Bundle Pricing: Bundling products is a great way to generate a higher perceived value for a lower cost that customers have a hard time staying away from. Whether it’s a “buy one, get one free” deal or a “3 for the price of 1” special, this tactic is great for making customers feel that they’re getting more for what they’re paying. As a bonus, this is a huge draw to then entice those customers to buy higher priced items once they’re in your store.

Retail sales to help foot traffic | Shopify Retail

Leveraging Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays

Though you might be most familiar with POP displays from your visit to the grocery store, where you just couldn’t help but notice all those glossy magazines filled with celebrity gossip, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re one of the most effective ways for retailers to encourage impulse buying.

For example, you might have noticed that the last time you went shopping for clothes, there was a never-ending array of bins and displays filled with items that could be seen as “add-ons” or “up sells” as you make your way closer to the checkout.

The reason why these POP displays and the impulse purchases they generate are so effective is thataccording to research, almost 66% of all decisions to buy something are made while people are in the store shopping. And guess what? Almost 53% of those decisions are classified as impulse buying.

Well, it’s time to start thinking about what you could do around your checkout area to get consumers to buy more.

Here are a few examples of different types of POP displays:

  • Speed Bumps: As prospective customers get closer to the end of their purchasing journey at your store, you can intentionally draw their attention to products that they may have missed by strategically placing them along the path to checkout or even as they wander the store.
  • Dump Bins: These are bins full of products once again strategically placed to elicit curiosity in consumers and get them to “dig in” and find an item that they’ll add to their shopping cart as they stand in line to pay for what they came to buy.
  • Free Samples: This is a surefire way to build demand for any new products that you may have recently added to your store. Giving away free samplers of certain products invites customers to use them at no cost and though they may not reach for the full-price version right away, you can be sure they’ll think about it the next time they visit your store.

Optimizing point of purchase displays | Shopify Retail

Getting the Most Out of Loyalty Programs

Let’s face it, getting new customers costs a lot of time, money, and effort. Providing great service and creating customer loyalty programs that get customers to come back, time and time again, is far more profitable and efficient as a retailer.

Though you may not have the big-box retailer budget to launch a full-out customer loyalty program, rest assured, there are some great alternatives that also happen to be very cost effective as well.

The most beneficial of those alternatives would have to be a Mobile Loyalty App.  Your business can now implement a full blown loyalty program that will rival those of the big-box-retailers.  Mass Mobile Apps provides a solution that will meet all your needs!  With their solution, in exchange for rewarding your customers for shopping, you will be given the ability to reach them like you have never had before.  Each customer must download your app, and register in your program, and in doing so they provide you unprecedented access.  You are now able to send “Push Notifications” directly to their mobile devices, which appears just like a text message. With a wide variety of features that are designed to enhance the customer experience, and provide the retailer the most up to date marketing tools available.

Another alternative would be email marketing. It’s an effective way to drive customer retention and loyalty and starts as quickly as when you collect customer’s email as they checkout, and then email them about exclusive sales, discounts, coupons, and other promotional offerings for a limited time period. Not only will this incentivize them to visit your store again, but it will also increase the perceived value they have of being on your email list.

One simple way to do that in your store is to use a really handy app by MailChimp called Chimpadeedoo, which you could use alongside your iPad POS system. They’ve also got some great in-depth case studies I suggest checking out. For example, in one case, a retailer saw their email list grow from 250 to 10,000 subscribers in just one year.

Chimpadeedoo sales promotions | Shopify Retail

Another app you might want to check out is Belly, which helps local businesses connect with customers through a customer-facing mobile app and merchant iPad app, and helps you build loyalty by rewarding your customers each time they visit and make a purchase from your store.

Lastly, Don’t Forget To Track Your Efforts

In order for you to get the most benefit from running a sales promotion campaign, you must track the percentage of sales resulting from the promotional campaign. Ideally, you should be able to assign tracking codes or discounts to certain products within your POS system and generate a report to see how well you’ve done since first launching the campaign.

The other important component is setting a timeline for each campaign, not just to help your customers act faster, but for you to start looking at promotions from the perspective of seasonality. That will also help you to be far more strategic and give you enough time to plan everything in advance so as to ensure you’re not wasting your efforts.

How iOs 10 Empowers Mobile Marketers

 

ios10-1200.png

Apple’s iOS 10 updates are coming this fall — the public beta is now available for download, so the official release is likely closer than we think — and the host of changes will have a significant impact on mobile marketers. How can you be poised to take advantage of the changes when they launch? Here’s a quick primer.

SiriKit

This is one of the bigger changes. SiriKit opens Apple’s virtual assistant to developers, meaning they can build voice controls into their own apps. Siri will be able to order you a Lyft or Uber with a simple voice command.

Your move: Integrate your app with Siri as much as you can. It will help your product stay top of mind with consumers if they can call it up with a simple one-liner as they lie in bed on a weekend morning.

New Messaging Features

This one is pretty big, too. In an effort to compete with WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger, Apple added a variety of new messaging features in the iOS 10 updates:

  • There’s an iMessage App Store coming. Users will be able to add third-party functionality to messaging (i.e. stickers and GIFs).
  • Calendar scheduling and mobile payments. (More on the mobile payments in one second.)
  • Powerful iMessage capabilities. Send full-screen messages, hand-written notes, ‘invisible ink’ messages that are only revealed if swiped by the recipient (a little Snapchat touch there), and a ‘Tapback’ functionality to quickly reply with a pre-set message. You can also easily replace words with emojis, i.e. “Going for pizza or burgers” becomes “Going for 🍕 or 🍔.” Venmo, anyone?

Your move: As messaging functionality (and fun) continues to increase with iOS 10 updates, it’s time to consider investing more in SMS marketing. Coca-Cola, is wasting no time getting in on the action, as they’re poised to spend 70% of its mobile budget on SMS in the next fiscal year. It also means users want messaging that has the tone and feel of a personal message. Embrace emojis! 😜

Mobile Payments

 We’re arriving at a tipping point for the adoption of digital wallets, and the iOS 10 updates might push Apple Pay to the forefront.

in the U.S., we’ve had magnetic stripes on the back of our credit cards for a generation. But these days, chip technology is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. It’s called EMV, and most chip-card reading terminals can work with NFC, or near-field communications. NFC is a set of standards for portable devices. It allows them to establish peer-to-peer radio communications, passing data from one device to another by touching them or putting them very close together.

This new system supports contactless payment, which means a whole host of digital wallet options are opening up as the U.S. fully transitions to chip-based credit cards.

Your move: It’s a great time to adjust your app’s payment options. Digital wallets will foster ease of payment, and ease of payment could be huge for customer retention and acquisition.

Expedited app reviews

 Currently the cycle takes about 4-10 days. With iOS 10 updates, the expectation is 1-2 days.While Apple still reviews about 100,000 apps/week, it’s devised a faster process. This means that from the point of submission, you could be ‘live’ in front of consumers within about 30 hours.

Your move: Have your ducks in a row for rollout before you submit your app, because it’s not a potential two-week waiting game anymore.

Revenue Splits and Subscriptions

 Apps that use subscriptions will see a 70 (developers) / 30 (Apple) revenue split in year 1, and then in year 2, it will become 85-15. Subscriptions will now be available across allcategories, whereas previously it was limited to only a few.

Your move: Do subscription services make sense for your app? To qualify, you’ll need content that is updated or delivered on a regular basis — or you need to provide paid access to an ongoing service within the app, i.e. massive multiplayer online games.

Paid App Search

This will be new feature — but unlike Google AdWords, only one ad result will show at the top of keyword searches in the App Store. Mobile marketers can bid on keyword searches, but the competition for some might be very tight,and relevancy is going to play a key role here. Apple is apparently going to parse the app descriptions for relevance, which is the first time they’ve done that in any iOS release.

Your move: Write compelling, targeted descriptions of your apps if you plan to keyword-bid at any point.

Simple unsubscribes

 iOS 10 Mail will offer simple unsubscribes from marketing list e-mails, which is a potentially great feature for users — and makes prioritizing permission-based subscription more important than ever for email marketers. The exact repercussions of this will evolve once iOS 10 gets out of beta, but standard email marketing approaches will become even more important. In essence: good subject lines, relevant content, and offers and personalized approaches that resonate with consumers.

So, where should you start?

This is a jumping-off point for your thinking about iOS 10, which will likely be live by the end of September. For now, we recommend brainstorming strategies around how to use messaging more effectively (one of the bigger changes) and utilizing SiriKit to integrate with the voice of the iPhone.

See Original Article Here

Welcome Points Are Vital To Your Loyalty Program

So, you decided to start a loyalty program. Now what? After launch most new programs get caught up in the details. What I mean by this is that they try to do everything at once. They add every feature under the sun, research the sh*t out of what their points should be worth, and just get way too caught in the weeds. Instead you should start simple, and just get started!

The best way to first get started with a loyalty program is to set up basic earning (like 1 point for every dollar spent) and spending rules ($10 off for 1,000 points). This will set a good foundation for your program, and cover the most basic feature… rewarding purchases. Rewarding purchases is the backbone of every program, but there is one other key feature you should include.

If you want your program to succeed right from the get go, you need welcome points! Welcome points are my number one recommendation for almost every store. It allows you to create excitement, create commitment, and accelerate positive feelings. Let me explain further.

 

Why Your Loyalty Program Needs Welcome Points

Welcome points are an effective way to boost enrollment and participation at the same time. It is the first low hanging fruit you should aim to pick. It is easy add, and super effective!

Here are a few reasons you should be giving your members “welcome points” or otherwise know as rewarding for account creation.

1. Provides an Incentive

The most obvious advantage of giving welcome points is to create an incentive to join your program. There is a reason credit card companies offer you all those bonus miles, it is effective! I know you have at least considered one of those offers.

Credit cards usually offer welcome points

You can create that strong desire to join your program as well, with welcome points. Just be sure that you are making it worth their while. If your first reward costs 1,000 points, a welcome bonus of 50 points will not cut it. I usually recommend giving enough points to claim your lowest reward right away (more on that later).

welcome points focus on customer lifetime value

The tactic here is that you give customers value now, and recover that investment over the course of their life. This is known as customer lifetime value. By getting the customer enrolled and engaged in your loyalty program you will turn them into a repeat customer, which are up to 5x more profitable than first time shoppers!

2. Establishes Value

Welcome points not only incent a customer to join, they also increase the likelihood they will stick around. Have you ever noticed that when you start playing a new freemium game they always give you a starting balance of their currency, or that when you get a “buy 10 get one free” card it already has a stamp on it.

Mcdonalds-McCafe-Rewards-Free-Hot-Beverage

This is by design! People love to start things, but that doesn’t mean they will actually use it. That is why you are usually given a starting balance, it invests you into the game, tool, or program. When you already have currency in something you are more inclined to continue using it, I mean you are already on your way.

Welcome points use the same principle. A customer now has some of your currency in their account. If they choose not to come back they are forgoing that currency. As humans it is very difficult for us to walk away from money.

3. Makes Future Actions More Likely

When we are given something we are not only more likely to continue, but actively look to repay it. This is known as the reciprocity principle, which basically states that when something is done for us we feel obligated to repay the favour. It is almost fool proof!

 

This principle is more effective in loyalty if you just give welcome points to a customer without requiring them to sign up for it. You do not want the customer to feel as though they have traded their info for the points. You want them to feel like you have given them something that they should reciprocate. You can get them to reciprocate in profitable ways.

The obvious way they can repay you is with their loyalty, after all a repeat customer is worth way more to your business. There’s another way though. You can ask them to perform other actions to get points (once they have points and see value). You can get them to do things like share on social or refer their friends for points. This essentially turns your loyal customers into marketers as well!

Rewarding points for other profitable actions is easy to add to your program with ecommerce loyalty programs like the custom Apps created by Mass Mobile Apps.

4. Accelerates First Reward

“A member sees value in your program when they spend points, not when they earn them.”

welcome points provide positive attachment

What I mean here is that your loyalty program members like the rewards they get with their points not the points themselves. No one likes saving for retirement, but you like the lifestyle when you get there. The same is true with loyalty programs. That is why you want your members to claim a rewards as early as possible, and welcome points can help.

When you give welcome points, you are putting a loyalty member that much closer to that first reward. I usually recommend giving enough points for a small reward as a welcome reward. This ensures that the customer sees value and gets the emotional high of a reward right away. This makes them more likely to return on their own, but they also registered an email that you can market to them later with.

Welcome points is the best way to establish positive emotions in your customers and establishes a foundation on which you can build a meaningful relationship.

 

Welcome Points Are An Easy Win

I hope this post has illustrated just how effective welcome points can be! They not only are a fantastic motivator to encourage sign ups, they also get your members to actively participate. They are also easy to include in every Mass Mobile App developed.

About the author: Alex McEachern

5 Reasons Retail Brands Need An App To Succeed in The 21st Century

 

Think of the stores and lunch spots you frequent. Odds are, a few of them, if not more, have a corresponding app. And if you’ve ever used their app, you know it makes for a much more seamless in-store experience from start to finish. Retail apps make it easy for people to repeatedly convert, turning the occasional customer into a brand loyal powerhouse and it’s paying off for them in a big way. Need proof? Howard Schultz credits Starbucks’ investment in mobile as a key reason for their all-time high revenue. Starbucks’ app has grown 23% over the past year alone, eclipsing 11 million users.

It’s clear that apps have become the 21st century loyalty card, and when done right, are an explosive revenue driver and cost saver for retail brands. Read on to learn five reasons retail apps have become an essential part of the modern brand’s marketing strategy, and why it’s no longer optional for retailers to have one:

 

1.) Mobile Orders & Payment Drive Repeat Business

While mobile orders and payments are a fairly new retail app feature, they’ve more than proven their value already. By launching order ahead within their app that already accepts mobile payment, Starbucks delivered the one-two-punch necessary to accelerate performance. As of Q1 2016 close, a whopping 21% of Q1 2016’s orders and $6 million in revenue were attributed to mobile order and pay.  Why the success? Starbucks has eliminated the friction from your morning coffee routine. Being able to order and pay for your coffee ahead of time using the app means avoiding long lines and transactional woes, equating to more frequent visits out of sheer convenience.

2.) Modern Day Consumers Value Convenience

Speaking of convenience, marketers everywhere will tell you that the modern day consumer values it over most other factors. The most seamless way to deliver convenience to consumers? Via an app. Hence why startups like Uber and Instacart have found unprecedented success, and now retail brands are following suit.  While Starbucks got a jump on mobile order and payment, other big names from Walmart to Target have plans to capitalize on this trend and ensure they don’t get left behind. Retail apps ensure users have relevant information in real time, from offers to sales, rewards card numbers and even payment information. Basically, retail apps grant consumers the ability to control their entire shopping experience via their phone.

 3.) Apps Enhance The In-Store Experience

Retail giant Walmart’s investment in mobile comes at a time where brick and mortar stores are struggling to stay relevant in an ever dominating ecommerce world. Their app allows customers to access deals, create shopping lists, refill prescriptions, and more. Walmart’s hope is that by enhancing their in-store experience with the help of their mobile app, consumers will opt to shop with them rather than with online competitors such as Amazon.

Proving just how committed they are to the digital transformation, Walmart has even geofenced their stores so that customers can check-in via their app upon arrival to see relevant store information and sales as well as have online orders ready for pickup. In addition, their “Savings Catcher” app feature allows users to scan the product barcode to ensure lowest price guarantees. And with the launch of Walmart Pay on iOs a few weeks back to streamline the checkout process, it’s clear that Walmart is doubling down it’s investments in mobile as a way to win over consumers in the digital age.

4.) The Ability to Personalize Loyalty Programs & Rewards

Another reason retailers should invest in apps? They grant you the ability to reward users and drive repeat conversion through tangible rewards. Consumers are much more inclined to download and use your app if they know they’ll be rewarded, and apps give marketers the power to create a personalized rewards program based on the individual user. For example, Starbucks loads a free coffee coupon for users on their birthday.  Building a rewards program into your retail app based on frequency of purchases is a great way to incentivize consumers to continually convert. Popular salad chain SweetGreen has a rewards section to their app where they showcase your progress and how close you are to your next reward. This tactic is more powerful than a printed coupon or a loyalty card because consumers are able to visualize and understand just how close they are to their next reward.
5.) Retail Apps Increase Efficiency and In-Store Execution

Having all of a shopper’s pertinent information and rewards in one digital place is not only beneficial for the shopper, but the retailer itself. Howard Schultz told analysts that Mobile order and pay has significantly increased line efficiency, minimizing wait and those deterred by long lines. Granting shoppers the ability to order via the app also means less resources are needed in-store. Finally, mobile apps allow for digital receipts, significantly cutting down retail paper cost and waste.

 

The Future of Retail

If  Black Friday 2015 was any indication, mobile is becoming the modern day consumer’s ideal medium for shopping. However, there is a way for brick-and-mortar and the digital world to coexist. A mobile app that enhances the in-store experience is a perfect way to bridge the gap between eCommerce and traditional retail, promoting a highly personalized and efficient store interaction.

Brands like Starbucks and Walmart understood that their business model wasn’t in tune this shift in consumer behavior towards mobile and needed to act fact. Their sense of urgency is validated by a study confirming that 1 in 5 smartphone users will use mobile pay this year. And with that number trending upward, It’s now clearer than ever that if retailers want to remain a priority to consumers tomorrow, they need to make mobile a priority today.

Want to learn everything you need to know about how to transforming your retail brand from digital to mobile? We’ve got you covered. Contact us today and see how we can help you grow your business.

apps4yourbusiness

How to Create an Exclusive Loyalty Program!

Exclusive loyalty programs

Very few retailers will dispute the value of a repeat customer, and many are even familiar with how to create a loyal customer with tactics like personalization and loyalty programs. But many people a have a very narrow minded idea of what a loyalty program looks like.

Traditionally loyalty programs seemed to be all the same. They either gave a customer a percentage back as points, and that customer could redeem that for a discount. Or, they gave shoppers something for free after a certain number of purchases. Like in the following example.

Not an exclusive loyalty program

Example of traditional loyalty program

As you can see these programs are still popular today, but are not the only way to structure a loyalty program. Many retailers today especially those looking at luxury brand loyalty want to construct exclusive loyalty programs. These programs create an aspect of exclusivity and avoid discounts.

 

Tips to Create an Exclusive Loyalty Program

Before I get into some tips, I want to clarify what is meant by an exclusive loyalty program. I do not mean that you should only accept certain people or exclude shoppers from your program. What I mean is that you should make your program feel like it is providing exclusive benefits to your customers. Here is how to do just that!

1. Points Only Products

This is one of my favorite ways to create an exclusive loyalty program! A points only product is a product that is only available for purchase with points. This is a great alternative to providing a discount with your loyalty program.

Points only products work by creating a catalog of products that are not available to be purchased in any currency besides your points. This allows you to provide additional value to your customers in the form of a gift rather than giving them a discount on a purchase. Like this example from Strivectin.

create an exclusie loyalty program with points only products
You can make any product available to be purchased with points, but to create a truly exclusive loyalty program you should make some products only available with points. These exclusive products create desire in your customers that is stronger than the desire to get a discount.

exclusivity through rewards


Theory11 does a fantastic job of this by providing limited edition versions of cards that are not available for purchase anywhere besides as part of their elite program. Limited edition items are great products to offer as part of an exclusive loyalty program.

Another way to get customer engagement is to offer aspirational rewards. These are rewards that cost a lot of points and a customer will have to work very hard towards. An example of this is Juleps’s Mini-Cooper.

Is a loyalty program right for you skinny banner

 2. Experiential Rewards

Another way to create an exclusive loyalty program is with experiential rewards. These rewards are similar to points only products because you are offering something that can only be redeemed with points. However these rewards focus on creating an experience for your customers. A product has a lifetime, but a great experience can last forever.

I have seen experiential rewards offered in many ways, but the important thing is that the experience you provide matches your brand image and your customer demographic. You want to create an experience that will drive your customers to take action.

Some great examples I have seen:

Theory 11

What they sell – Cards for magic tricks and magic accessories

Experiential Rewards – Skype session with the team and one on one training sessions

exclusive rewards
These experiential rewards have all been redeemed but were available in the past. The site even had a meet up with David Blaine as a reward. All these experiences match perfectly with what they sell and stand for.

Sephora

What they sell – Cosmetics and supplies

Experiential rewards – Exclusive shopping events, invites to Sephora parties, and access to the beauty studio

Beauty insider explainer

Sephora does a fantastic job of motivating shoppers to engage with their program. I will discuss them further in the next section, but they are also doing a ton of other things right with their loyalty program.

Other Experiential Reward Ideas:

  • Meet and greet with the CEO or a Celebrity Endorser
  • Tickets to industry events or shows
  • Early access to sales and promotions
  • Vacations
  • One on one consultation (explain which products will work best)

Once again the important thing here is to match your experiential rewards to your brand and customer base. If you want to give your loyalty program an exclusive feel you will need to provide rewards that get your members feeling that way!

 

3. Status Based Tiers

Nothing gets a customer feeling like they are part of an elite club quite like status based tiers. These are tiers that separate your loyalty program members into groups. The purpose of this is to get members competing to be part of an exclusive group.

create an exclusive loyalty program with tiersThese tiers work best for exclusive loyalty programs when the tiers are tied to a status. You can show status with a special card like Sephora’s VIB card or Starbucks’ Gold Card. Or you can show status by providing upper tier members with special benefits unavailable to those in lower tiers.

Just be sure that you are actually creating exclusivity for those in the top group. You should aim to have your best 5% of customers in the top tier of your program. This ensures that those seeking the status will be motivated by the exclusivity.

tiers that create exclusivity
You can read “Tiered Programs, Why They Are Great for Customer Loyalty” for more information about creating tiers in your exclusive loyalty program. I would also recommend looking into Sephora’s program for a great example.

 

An Exclusive Loyalty Program

Creating an exclusive loyalty program that does not focus on discounting is definitely possible! You just need to be sure that you focus on creating rewards and benefits that match your target audience.

Do your customer value having things before the general public? Offer them early access to ne products for their loyalty. Do your customer love being unique? Allow them to redeem points for limited edition items that are not available anywhere else.

There are tons of ways to create a loyalty program that feels exclusive. The important thing is to use tactics that will work for you. Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

Is a Loyalty Program Right For Your Store?

 

Alex authorship image
Author:  Alex McEachern

2015: The Year that Push Notifications Grew Up

Push notifications are largely viewed as a great mobile marketing tactic, albeit one with great questions about their use and best practices. But are they having a significant impact? We decided to take a look at the state of push messaging in 2015 to find out.

Over the course of the year, push messages continued to improve app user engagement and retention and companies increasingly took the path to personalization. This is largely due to the the shift away from broadcast marketing to an increased adoption of a segmented push strategy, which uses all the data a company has about a user to inform a smart marketing approach. While push messages showed improvement around respecting user data, a recent consumer survey we conducted revealed that 52% of app users are already finding push messages to be an “annoying distraction.”

As more marketers turn to push notifications to communicate with users, the bar continues to rise for them to be hyper relevant (to avoid going the way of email spam). The good news: our data shows that apps are rising to match these higher expectations, and the results of their efforts are improving engagement and retention.

 

Push Messages Continue to Influence User Engagement

One of the most effective uses of push messages is to encourage inactive users to re-engage with an app. When crafted as a friendly reminder or helpful tip, push notifications can better position an app in the minds of users.  The numbers are truly telling of just how effective push messages are in this pursuit for engagement. In 2015, users who enabled push notifications launched an app an average of 14.7 times per month, whereas users who did not only launched an app 5.4 times per month. In other words, users who opted in to push messages averaged 3x more app launches than those who opted out.

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This represents a 171% increase in app engagement. In 2014, the increase in engagement between users who opted in versus those who didn’t was 88%. Push messages serve an important role in an app’s user engagement, and there are no signs pointing to a decrease any time soon.

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Build Trust Before Asking For Permission

Before an app can reap all the engagement benefits push messages have to offer, it must get users to agree to receive them. This has shown to be more difficult over the past year, as the average opt in rate for push messages in 2015 was 49.8%, down from 52% in 2014.

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The decrease in push opt-ins may scare some, but it is not a reason to panic. Rather, this is an opportunity to find smarter ways to get users to agree to opt in. One place to start: build trust.

We’ve outlined before just how important it is to build trust with users before blasting them with push messages. One way to do so is to give a user time to explore the app before asking him/her to enable push messages. The chart below shows that the average push opt-in rate improved when users completed more sessions in an app. Users who complete between 1 and 3 sessions in an app have an average opt in rate of 35%. That rate doubles to 70% when users complete between 4 and 6 sessions in an app.

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It doesn’t take too long to establish trust with users, but try to not ask for permission to enable push messages as soon as the app is downloaded. In the beginning, users know very little about the app and therefore will not have a good idea as to what the push messages will be telling them, or the value that will be delivered.

 

Retention Continues to Thrive Thanks to Push Notifications

Push messages also help apps avoid one of their biggest fears: user churn. Utilizing push messages sets an app up to retain users both in the short and long terms. Push notifications remind users to continually return to an app, which helps keep it top of mind and strengthens relationships throughout the user life cycle.

 

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On average, 65% of users returned to an app in the 30 days after the app’s initial download, if they have push enabled. On the other hand, for users who did not have push enabled, only 19% of them returned the following month. By the third month, one third of users with push enabled were still using the app, compared to only 11% of users who do not receive push messages.

In 2015, retention for apps in which users enabled push increased throughout the first 3 months following download as compared to 2014; this suggests that app marketers used push messages more and the actual messages were more effective.

 

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Users Are Responding More to Push Messages

One metric app marketers use to measure the success of their push messages is the average click through rate. For 2015, the average for push messages was 10.2%, a two percentage point increase from 2014.

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Increasing click through rates supports the idea that push messages are becoming more relevant to users. But with every relevant push, the bar has risen for all push notifications to meet users’ needs. As a result, apps must continuously learn about their audiences in order to better serve them.

 

Push Messages Increasing in Numbers and Intelligence

As push messages continued to benefit apps in more ways than one, app publishers sent them more and more. The number of push messages increased 64.25% since the end of  Q1 2015, to an average of 51 push messages sent per app. These messages are sent to various audiences of the app, so users are not receiving all 51 push messages.

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The average number of push messages sent per app has steadily increased every quarter since the beginning of 2014. While that could be viewed as negative, our data actually shows that as the volume of messages has increased, marketers have also gotten smarter.  This can be seen below as segmented push messages have continued to increase while broadcast messages are starting to become a thing of the past.

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Since January, segmented push messages have increased from 53.51% to 65.73%, while broadcast messages have decreased from 46.49% to 34.27%. Marketers have taken notice that users are more likely to respond to a message with information that directly affects them, as compared to a message that was sent to all of the app’s users. This puts the pressure on apps to be doing everything they can to gain as much insight into their audiences as possible so that their marketers can better customize the messages.

 

Personalization Leads to Conversions

The importance of segmented versus broadcast messages can also be seen in view-through conversion rates (defined as users who view a push message and then convert).

For view-through conversion rates, 1% of users converted from broadcast messages, while 3% converted from segmented messages. In other words, users are 3x more likely to complete a conversion event if the message incorporates some kind of personalization.

 

 

A Marketer’s Job Is Never Done

Push messages have grown in effectiveness since last year, but there is always more that can be done. The onus is on us as marketers to make sure that push messages do not go the way of email and become spam. As app publishers send more push messages, capturing the attention of users will become increasingly difficult. Marketers will need to focus more on what is working over time by continuing to test different messages, shifting the focus from vanity metrics to those that signify actual ROI and always use audience insights as the root of the message.

With that in mind, we’ll be kicking off 2016 with more data that taps into the current state of consumers’ views on push and reveals the data-driven marketing best practices for segmentation, personalization and measuring performance, as well as some benchmark KPI’s based on vertical platform and the size of the app. Stay tuned!