5 Ways to Use Browser Push Notifications to Increase Ecommerce Sales

With the arrival of the latest version of Google Chrome, browser notifications are now available on most of the major desktop browsers – including the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Google Chrome supports push notifications, i.e. the ability to send notifications even after the browser window has been closed. They’re a powerful, new communications tool that every ecommerce manager should consider for improving both sales and overall shopper engagement.

While most people may be familiar with mobile notifications generated by mobile apps, browser notifications might be a tad more exotic.

What do I need to know about browser notifications?

Most notifications are rectangular cards that show up on just about any device – a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile phone.  They might remind you of a meeting or let you know that you got an email from someone.  When you click on them, they take you to more detail, a product page, a search result, or might even launch an application.

In general, notifications fit into three categories:

  • Application notifications – Notifications that are delivered by an application.  You’re probably familiar with getting notifications from MS Office applications or maybe Apple Calendar.  In addition, any app on iOS or Android can also send notifications (depending on the user’s opt in status).The challenge with application notifications – especially when it comes to ecommerce and retail stores – is the fact that so few shoppers actually have any one store’s mobile app.  Think about it: Do you have and use the mobile app from your grocery store?
  • Browser notifications – Notifications are delivered when you have a browser tab open for a particular site.  If you happen to use Gmail or Google Calendar, you can receive notifications during the day if you just happen to leave your browser tabs open to these respective sites.The challenge with browser notifications for ecommerce, while they’re great for delivering messages to shoppers who are in the zone, is that they don’t help reconnect with shoppers after they’ve left your ecommerce site.
  • Browser PUSH notifications (just introduced in Google Chrome) – Browser push notifications are delivered at any time, assuming a shopper has opted in to receive them from your ecommerce site. The shopper can close the tab to your site, close the browser, or have shopped many days ago – and you can still deliver notifications.What’s great about this new category of notifications is the ability to stay connected and engage with your customers, even after they’ve left your site.  

So, how does the world change now that any ecommerce site can use browser push notifications?

You can now use browser push notifications to do everything from telling people about new products, to just reminding them that the sale is going to start.

Lest you get carried away, keep in mind that these push notifications could be intrusive, if they’re spammy or unwanted.  In other words, you can’t just blast generic messages willy-nilly – you should personalize your messaging to individual shoppers.

5 Ways to Use Rately Browser Push Notifications to Drive Ecommerce Sales

On to the sales ideas. These represent the tip of the iceberg for putting browser push notifications to work.

Keep in mind that these are NOT one size fits all ideas.  What we mean is that every shopper gets a unique notification experience based on their specific behavior. So, if you’ve been shopping for fishing poles, you should see notifications related to fishing or fishing poles.

  1. Announce New Products The age old problem for retailers is how to let your shoppers know about new products. No one wants to hear about all products – just the ones that they might be interested in. These might be a category, like fishing poles – or maybe a brand, like Patagonia. Rately browser push notifications let an ecommerce retailer announce new products based on each shopper’s behavior.  Based on the rules you determine, as you add products to your store, your shoppers can receive push notifications that direct them to a personalized list of relevant new products.
  2. Deliver promotions based on shopping behavior Another problem that every retailer will recognize is the challenge of delivering highly-targeted and personalized promotions.  Now retailers can test assumptions and deliver targeted promotions to learn what promotions really drive sales.  For example, if a shopper visits the same product X number of times, one might surmise that they’re in high consideration mode – and then test different levels of promotion, depending on the product, category or brand – to determine what level and type of promotion closes the deal with the optimal ROI.
  3. Let shoppers “subscribe” to price changes So much of the time, price really matters a lot to shoppers.  With browser push notifications, you can use Rately to automatically notify a shopper who has either viewed or tagged an item that the price has changed (up or down).  This is a great way to automatically let someone know that an item that they might be interested in has changed in price.  And that might be more than enough to get them to return to your store and close the deal.
  4. Communicate hot sellers So often retailers struggle to deliver messages that aren’t promotions – but are just newsy. Rately lets retailers deliver personalized “hot seller” updates to shoppers, so you will know if a product you visited or tagged happens to jump up in overall popularity.  It’s a nice way to re-engage a shopper, while also staying personalized and relevant.
  5. Remind shoppers of abandoned shopping cart items It’s a classic that we all know and definitely do not love.  Shoppers add items to a cart and for a myriad of reasons, then decide not to purchase. They might get distracted, might get called away, or might not have their credit card handy to finish what they started.  With browser push notifications, you can reach back out to shoppers to remind them of items they have left in their cart, and try alternative messaging and options to get them to complete the transaction.  At long last, you have another tool for pushing incomplete transactions over the goal line.

This short list of ideas is really just the beginning.  You can learn more about how notifications work by visiting http://rately.com. (Surprise! – Rately for Merchants is now TargetGenius).

If you want to see an example of browser notifications at work on a site (their ecommerce platform is BigCommerce), be sure to take a few minutes to shop for anything from sandals to sunglasses at Alpharetta Outfitters.  If you can drop by their newly expanded location on Main Street in Alpharetta, be sure to give the store dogs Luna and Hank a pat on the head – and tell George, CJ, and the rest of the gang that we said hello.