5 Tips on Creating a Push Notifications

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Studies have proven that push notifications can be the ultimate user engagement tool. According to multiple sources, 98% of push notifications are read, as opposed to 15-25% for email-based campaigns.

Push notifications allow App Merchants to reach their customers outside of the in-store experience. If your messages are crafted correctly, it can create real value and promote an almost viral level of the sharing of your content.


2Frequency of your messages.

The first rule of push notification marketing – don’t overdo it. Especially if you’re sending push notifications for advertising or promotional purposes: less is usually more. Ask yourself: “Would I be annoyed by the volume of messages I’ve been receiving from this app?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe, you may want to consider spacing them out.

3Schedule your push notifications.

How would you like to be woken up in the middle of the night by a vibrating cell phone, flashy lights and a push message saying you have a $5 discount on your next purchase if you invite a friend? Knowing your target market allows you to send messages during reasonable hours when engagement is usually at its highest. Anything between 10 AM and 6 PM is recommended. Send anything outside the recommended period, and you risk missing the user’s attention or annoying them.

4Encourage engagement whenever you can.

A relevant message is great, but it’s even better to create a discussion or an interaction within the app which leads to sharing and other benefits. Using your in-app social network, you can drive users towards engagement. For example, start a photo-based contest, such as “post a picture of X” – or reward users for the best response to a posted question.

5Offer exclusive discounts or deals.

Who isn’t looking for a good deal? Use push notifications to send out ‘What’s new’ and ‘Today only’ deals. You might also think about using push notifications to inform users about discounts on products you offer, and you can create exclusive app only offers, which shows the value in joining.

6Event reminders and announcements.

Is the big game today? What time does the DJ start at the club tonight? Will there be a change in store hours over the holidays? Friendly reminders in form of push notifications take only moments to set up, but might save your users minutes or hours of ‘search time’. Minimize possible frustration caused by last minute changes and increase brand loyalty by making sure your users have all the latest information at hand.

By optimizing your messages to increase app open and conversion rates you’re not just improving app retention, but you’re also setting yourself up to increase customer lifetime value.

And if you haven’t used push notifications in your app yet, we challenge you to get one out in the coming week. Push notifications are free to use within the Mass Mobile Apps platform and it takes 30 seconds to send them to every one of your customers.  Today an Mobile Loyalty App is a necessity for any business looking to grow or maintain its customer base, and the Push notification is the most effective way to reach that base.

5 Holiday Social Media Ideas That’ll Keep Your Registers Ringing

by Lisa Furgison
4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

As business owners, you don’t have elves to help you prepare for the holidays, but you do have social media.

Social media is a powerful marketing tool during the holidays. A survey shows 50 percent of customers use social media to find deals, and others use it to research gift ideas and learn about a specific company, according to Statista.

To help businesses use social media to increase brand awareness and give sales a boost, here are four holiday ideas you can use on your social channels this season:

1. Create an Offer on Facebook

Savvy shoppers are always on the hunt for a great deal.

Ninety-four percent of holiday consumers say discounts impact their purchase decisions, according to Invesp, so why not give customers what they want? Give them a deal they can’t refuse on a platform they’re already familiar with.

Facebook allows brands to create Offers, which are basically coupons for your customers. You can create a coupon that’s redeemable in your store, so customers can present the coupon on their phone at the register, or enter a coupon code during checkout online.

The Offer is shared with your Facebook fans, but once a customer redeems it, it’s mentioned in the customer’s News feed, so it exposes even more people to your deal.

Customers can even save the deal for later, and will receive notifications from Facebook when the deal is about to expire.

Here’s an example of an Offer from Camping and Fishing Outlet:

4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

The cost of a Facebook Offer depends on how many people you want it to reach. You’ll see budget options when you create the offer. Here are the instructions to create an Offer on Facebook, and here’s a list of frequently asked questions about Facebook Offers.

2. Host a holiday contest

Seven out of ten brands are using “gamification techniques,” which is the use of giveaways, games and contests to attract and retain customers, according to HubSpot.

Why are more businesses turning to contests and games? For starters, consumers love them, with 68 percent of adults older than 18 participating in online games.

Plus, it’s fairly simple to host a contest these days on social media.

Local businesses could encourage customers to take pictures of the holiday lights in their community. From decked-out homes to businesses lit up with a Santa’s Workshop display, customers can snap artsy photos and submit them on your Facebook page for a chance to enter an in-store gift card.

Or, have customers submit a short 100-word essay about how your product or service enhances their holiday. Select the best answer, announce the winner on Facebook and give the customer a rare coupon for 50% off one item.

If you don’t have the manpower to create and monitor a contest on social media, there are apps that can help. Try WooBox or Wishpond. (Note: Both WooBox and Wishpond charge a monthly fee for their services, but WooBox does have a few options available for free.)

3. Shoot and share a holiday video tip

Consider shooting a video that gives your customers a holiday tip, which just so happens to promote one of your products.

Videos are highly shareable, and Facebook fans seem to consume them at a high rate. Eight billion videos are viewed through Facebook each day, according to Social Media Today.

Need some video ideas? If you sell coffee and tea, create a video that shows customers how to brew your freshly ground beans for a large group. If you sell cosmetics, shoot a video that offers holiday makeup tips for people going to their company get-together. If you offer heating repair services, create a video that offers heat-related safety tips for the holidays, like how far to keep a tree from a fireplace.

Pit Barrel Cooker Co. shot and shared a video explaining how to cook the perfect holiday turkey. Here’s a look at the video from the company’s Facebook page, which received 254,000+ views:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPitBarrelCookerCo%2Fvideos%2F1123242144427543%2F&show_text=0&width=560

4. Create and share a holiday eCard

Small businesses often go the extra mile to create personal relationships with customers. During the holidays, it’s nice to reach out to your customers and thank them for their patronage.

You can send traditional holiday cards in the mail, or you can take a few minutes to create an ecard that you can share on your social channels.

You can use do-it-yourself websites to create animated cards that are highly shareable. If you want to create a traditional digital card, try a site like Punchbowl. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try a site like JibJab. This site allows you to upload pictures of yourself and your employees, and puts your faces on dancing elves or a singing Santa dancing to Gangnam Style.

5. Use Your Mobile App for In App Only Promotions

Tis the Season for Giving, so use your Mobile App to promote App Only offers. This will increase customer engagement and drive more app downloads, as you make your App feel more like an Exclusive Club, where only members receive the perks!

Additionally why not update your Mobile Apps look to reflect the season.  With the Mass Mobile Apps platform, you can easily update the look & feel of your app which will can keep your message across all channels uniform.

How will you use social media to market your business or product during the holiday season? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Not all Loyalty Apps are Created Equal!

As a small business owner of a denim and sportswear store, I was looking for ways to increase my bottom line, and alternative ways to connect with my customers.  With the social media explosion, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails, promoting my business became a full time job.  That was great in the mid 2000’s, but as more and more people and businesses jumped on the bandwagon, I noticed these mediums becoming less effective. As a result after much research, I decided to implement a loyalty program, but discovered that all of the existing Loyalty platforms lacked the qualities and features I felt were relevant to me and most importantly to my customers.

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The existing Loyalty platforms, were not marketing my business but promoting theirs but against my better judgment I gave it a shot, and joined a popular program.  I quickly discovered that this was not specific to me nor did it promote my “Brand”.  It was cookie cutter at best!  Why did I have to fit my business model into their environment and promote their app and brand?  I also questioned why my business was added to a list of similar merchants, some of which were my competitors.

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This is when the Mass Mobile Apps Concept was born.  Out of a need to keep my customers engaged and loyal, and to drive traffic and increase Sales.  Mass Mobile Apps designs customized Loyalty Apps specific to any business promoting their brand and connecting customers in a meaningful way.

Why conform to someone else’s concept of a loyalty program, when you can develop your own!

4 Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use

4 Joyful Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use
Holiday shoppers are ready to dash through the aisles this season, spending an average of $935.58 on holiday gifts, food and decor. Retail sales are in good shape for the end of the year, with a predicted 3.6 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Are you ready to cash in on the holiday shopping craze? If so, you need to create a few holiday marketing campaigns to attract customers to your store. But, creating marketing campaigns takes time, and who has extra time during the holidays? You’re busy scheduling additional staff, ordering extra inventory and prepping your store.

To take the hassle out of the holidays, we’ve put together a list of four holiday marketing ideas that every business can and should use during the holidays.

1. Ask customers to submit holiday designs
Take a cue from Starbucks and get your customers involved in the design process. Starbucks asked its customers to draw holiday designs on their coffee cups, and submit pictures via Instagram. Starbucks selected a handful of winning designs and mass-produced the artwork on holiday cups this season. Here’s a winning design created by a nurse in Chicago:

starbucks

The campaign sparked 1200 submissions from 13 different countries, and engaged fans all over the world as the designs filled social media channels.

Your company can do something similar. For instance, you can ask customers to turn your everyday logo into a festive one. Have participants submit the photos online and select the best one. Then use the winning design on your website throughout the holidays.

You can promote the contest on your website, social channels and in store. Send out email and text about the contest too. You might consider giving the winner an additional prize, like a $100 in-store gift card, to sweeten the deal.

2. Create a ’12 Days of Christmas’ giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to introduce customers to a new product. Plus, everyone loves a freebie, especially during the holidays.

Use the inspiration of the beloved 12 Days of Christmas song to give away 12 items leading up to Christmas. HBO, for example, offered 12 episodes of its hottest shows for free during the holiday season.

hbo12days

If you offer a service, consider giving customers 12 days free, or an upgrade for 12 days.

If you want to give away 12 products, one on each day, you could ask customers to participate in a trivia game on social game media. The first person to get the answer right wins the prize of the day.

Or, the 20th shopper that comes into your store gets the day’s giveaway; or the first customer that makes a donation at the register to a charity that your store supports wins the prize.

Be sure to advertise the giveaways on social media, email and text message. Let customers know what the prize is each day, and how they can win.

3. Provide gift inspiration via Email, Social or Mobile
The average person expects to receive 13 gifts for Christmas, according to Statista. That’s a lot of gifts to buy.

And how many times have you wandered aimlessly through the aisles looking for the perfect gift for Aunt Susie, only to come up empty handed? It happens to everyone. Why not suggest some of your products or services as the perfect gift?

If you have collected email addresses from your customers, create and email a gift guide that highlights a handful of cool gift ideas. You can break the guides into categories like “Gifts for Mom” or “Stocking Stuffers Under $10.” Or, maximize Pinterest and create special gift guide boards like the examples below. Share links on your social media channels in your emails, and your Mobile App.

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Here’s an example on Instagram:

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If you have access to cell phone numbers, consider texting customers a specific gift idea. Provide the idea, and an incentive to get customers to come to your store. Try a text like this, “Can’t find a gift for your mom? Get an extra 10% off [name of your product].”

4. Provide a last minute holiday deal
Holiday shoppers procrastinate. It’s a fact. Last year, as of December 15, the average shopper had only completed 53.5% of their shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

Give your customers an incentive to shop at your store for their last minute holiday needs. Consider sending a promotion that offers a 15% store wide discount or a specific deal on a popular product.

If you operate an online store or ship products to your customers, remind customers about last minute shipping deadlines too.

Here’s a great holiday promotion from Birchbox that combines a holiday deal, which includes extra rewards points, with a shipping reminder. Consider trying a similar promotion. Send it to your customers via text, email or both.

birchboxlastmin

There you have it, four ideas that your business can use to get registers ringing during the holidays. Which ideas will you use? Or, do you have tried-and-true holiday marketing ideas of your own? If so, share your holiday marketing plans with us in the comment section below.

How to Increase Loyalty Program Participation

loyalty program participation increases effectiveness

Loyalty program participation and enrollment are two completely different things, even if many of us choose to ignore it. Participation is when your loyalty program members are actively engaged with your loyalty program. Just because your program has members does not mean it is performing to its fullest. In this post I will explain how to boost your loyalty program participation rates.

 

Enrollment vs. Participation

As I mentioned before enrollment does not mean they are participating. Joining a program (enrollment) is easy, but getting someone to participate for the rest of their shopping life is the real goal.

loyalty program participation vs enrollment

As you can see in the graph below, people are enrolling in more programs but actively participating in less. This is because many retailers both online and offline give a great incentive to join and stop the relationship there.

This phenomenon is likely due to the fact that retailers are offering a really good incentive to join the program (which I recommend). However, they do not follow up that strong reason to join with an engaging program. You need to create a strong reason to join your program, but also follow that up with a program that encourages participation. Your loyalty program will not be effective with a ton of inactive members.

 

Boost Loyalty Program Participation

The question now becomes, what do I do to get all the members I attract to my program to stay and participate. Here are a 5 ways to encourage loyalty members to actively participate in your loyalty program.

1. Be Transparent

A survey conducted by Colloquy Loyalty found that the number one factor for program participation is that it is easy to understand the program. An astonishing 81% of respondents said this is important to them. So how do you adjust your program to these findings?

want-ease-to-understand

You want your program to be as transparent as possible. Make sure your members know everything they need to know to actively participate. This means you will want to be very clear on how they will earn and spend points.

Have an area of your site dedicated to informing members of how many points they will earn for different actions. The most important ones to be clear on are how many points are earned on each purchase (example 5 points per $1 spent) and how many of those points are required to redeem a reward.

boost participation with transparency

The example above is from Philip Kingsley and is the first thing you see when you land on their loyalty program page. It is impossible to not be aware of the two basics of their loyalty program. If you need help setting up a loyalty page of your own watch our video “How to Set Up a Loyalty Explainer Page.”

2. Lots of Ways to Earn Points

Your members have grown tired of those standard retail loyalty programs that only give points when you make a purchase. They want a program that gives them a bunch of different ways to earn points. The same study by Colloquy found that 50% of respondents said that they participate more in programs that have a variety of ways to earn.

want-variety

This is not hard to do especially with ecommerce loyalty programs. Online stores can easily reward for other actions like: social sharing, referring friends, birthdays and more. A solution like a Mobile Loyalty App from Mass Mobile Apps makes it easy to add variety to your online loyalty program.

3. On Site Reminders and Cues

In the online world you do not have a cashier asking every person who checks out if they would like to collect reward points on this purchase. That is why you need to remind your members by placing loyalty program reminders across your website.

Anywhere you can add mention of your program to your homepage, do it. Not only does this remind existing members to participate it also acts as a point of differentiation from your competitors. If you have a program and they don’t, a potential customer will likely choose you. Flash Tattoos has a few mentions of their program on the homepage.

reminders create loyalty program participation

You can also use other on site promotion methods like: floating tabs, slider or hero images, and even pop ups (just be sure not to annoy your customer).

4. External Reminders and Cues

Reminders on your site are great, but are only effective if your customers are visiting you frequently. If you really want to boost loyalty program participation you need to also need to communicate of your site as well.

According to many studies email marketing is the most effective and easy to use marketing tool available to today’s digital marketers.

email marketing is effective with loyalty programs

A great way to boost participation in your loyalty program is to combine loyalty and email marketing into a super campaign. Use email to send notifications when your members earn or spend points. This way they will be getting constant reminders of how often they are interacting with your program.

You can also send loyalty marketing material to your members. You can let them know that if they make a purchase this weekend they will get a bonus 100 points. Or, you can just email all of your non-program members and let them know about the benefits of the program, like in the example below.

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Combining your loyalty marketing and email marketing together is one of the most effective ways to increase program awareness and boost loyalty program participation.

5. Obtainable Rewards

One of the biggest mistakes I see with any loyalty program is making the rewards way too hard to get. How is anyone supposed to get the 20,000 points needed for your reward if you are giving 1 point per $1 spent on your tea site. They would have to spend $20,000 to get a reward. Would you participate in that program?

Your loyalty program members become hooked on your program when they first spend points on a reward, not while they are accumulating points. That is why you need to make it easy to obtain rewards. I usually recommend giving enough points for a reward after a single valuable action like when a referred friend makes their first purchase. There is an exception though.

have more obtainable loyalty rewards

I do like offering a few what I call “asperational rewards.” These are rewards that are designed to be ridiculously hard to achieve. These give your program a talking point and can help differentiate your program. Just be sure there are plenty of obtainable rewards as well.

 

How Do I Know if Participation is Improving?

You now have a few things you can do to boost your loyalty program’s participation rate. But, before you race out and try all these new tactics at once, you will want to know how to measure success.

There are a few ways you can measure if your loyalty program is performing like: customer lifetime value, repeat purchase rate, and net promoter score. However, if you want to measure changes in your participation rate I recommend using your redemption rate.

 

Your redemption rate shows you the percentage of your issued points that are being converted into a reward. If your members are participating they will be spending their loyalty points. Start by performing the above equation today to get your base line. Then make some of the above changes and measure your redemption rate again. An increase in redemption means that your participation is on the rise.

Just remember that if your redemption rate is currently below 20% you may have a serious loyalty program problem.

 

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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.