Planet of the Vapes Re-Engages Shoppers Without Running Retargeting Ads

Industry
Vaping Accessories (Regulated Industries)
Use Case
Retention marketing, restricted industries

About 

Over ten years ago, Planet of the Vapes started with a young man selling Arizer Extremes on eBay via his second-floor Brooklyn apartment. Today, the brand is a global vaping retailer operating on Shopify Plus with more than a decade of industry experience. As an eCommerce category leader, Planet of the Vapes runs the highest consumer-rated herbal vape store as well as the largest by overall sales revenue in the US.

What makes this Shopify Plus brand stand out is its culture of experimentation. The team is constantly looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience and build meaningful relationships with shoppers, increasing their customer LTV.

PotV and PushOwl: At a glance  

  • 89,935 web push subscribers
  • 4% average click rate on web push notifications
  • 15% CTR with browse abandonment automation
  • For returning users, web push reached a third of email traffic 
  • 188x ROI with PushOwl

 

Challenge

When selling within a regulated market, running Facebook ads is out of the question. For stores like Planet of the Vapes, this means losing out on re-engaging store visitors via paid advertisement. Especially those high-value visitors who previously browsed their product pages or added an item to their cart.

“The regulated market is both a blessing and a curse: There is a higher barrier to entry, there’s more work. You cannot just be a growth hacker or smart marketer who can run Facebook campaigns. You really have to own your channels. This forces us to do the right thing for the brand in the long term.”

Patrick Bissen,
Founder, Planet of the Vapes

The brand wanted to tap into new marketing channels that allowed them to re-engage visitors and promote their products without having to run ads. Keeping PotV’s north star LTV in mind, it was essential to find avenues that make the business independent from traditional pay-per-click models. 

Solution

With PushOwl, Planet of the Vapes utilizes web push notifications as a retargeting channel: Capturing store visitors as subscribers without an email address, retaining customers at different stages of the buying funnel (e.g. recovering abandoned carts), and re-engaging shoppers with sale promotions, release announcements, and product reviews.

“There is a limited ‘UX budget’ in terms of widgets that we can throw at users and we were unimpressed by our email capture. It was more seamless using web push. Store visitors don’t need to put in their email address; they just need to click a button.”

Patrick Bissen,
Founder, Planet of the Vapes

Planet of the Vapes is constantly optimizing its web push strategy. In one instance, the team tweaked their custom prompt for 4/20, their biggest sale of the year, and successfully increased subscriber opt-ins.

With web push notifications, the brand is able to communicate with their shoppers across different touchpoints and move them efficiently through the purchase funnel. Planet of the Vapes uses product-specific web push notifications like automatic browse abandonment and cart recovery sequences to seamlessly integrate retargeting in their customer experiences.

Based on their intensive customer experience research, Planet of the Vapes learned that adding an item to the cart is a major Aha! moment for store visitors. This is primarily because of the free goodies added to the customer cart, an experience enabled by Shopify Plus scripts. To further increase add-to-cart activations, the Browse Abandonment automation was set up to convert product page views into add-to-carts.

“We see a 3-times higher average session duration and pages/session for store visitors returning via the Browse Abandonment automation. Also, these users have twice the conversion rate.

John Ostrowski,
Growth Analyst, Planet of the Vapes

Results

PushOwl’s web push notifications constantly bring back Planet of the Vape’s subscribers to shop their products. Analyzing their marketing channels, PushOwl’s broadcasting campaigns and automations is the third-most important channel (with only SEO and email ahead). Planet of the Vapes achieves a 188x ROI on their $149 Enterprise plan with PushOwl.

The Browse Abandonment automation plays a prominent role in their web push remarketing mix. In a recent experiment, the team at Planet of the Vapes measured this automation’s impact on their add-to-cart ratio (‘Add-to-cart’ actions over total users that viewed a product page). It showed that Browser Abandonment resulted in additional 559 Sessions over 4 weeks with a 3.9% add-to-cart ratio (session-based metric).

For Planet of the Vapes, unrestricted marketing channels like web push are a seamless way to get store visitors on their subscriber list and send targeted promotions. PushOwl helps them to re-engage shoppers despite being restricted from running paid ads.