Email isn’t dead and will not flatline for years to come. What’s happening though is that alongside email, there are a number of other marketing channels emerging. Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Instagram direct messages, social buying buttons – there are too many opportunity areas for marketers to explore and avail. One such, considerably new channel of engagement that’s quickly gained substantial popularity as a promising Shopify marketing strategy, is web push notifications.
Those using web push notifications often position and pitch it as a better communication strategy than email. But there are as many takers for email.
Instant, real-time message delivery – this is one advantage of web push notifications that is commonly used as a point of comparison between email and web push.
So web push is a pretty sound strategy for those who haven’t hit success with email. However, there are a lot of people who might never opt-in for push notifications too. Simply put, you can’t blindly rely on one channel of communication for engaging with a diverse audience base.
More than 70% of people still prefer email for promotional content. You may also find it surprising that mobile-savvy millennials are far more likely than any other age group to take relevant action on a received email. So, you see, it’s not about Email vs. Messenger Marketing, or Email vs. Instagram Buy Buttons, or Email vs. Web push. It’s more about powering up your marketing arsenal by understanding what works when, for whom, and for what.
To begin with, you must first understand how these two channels of engagement differ. In this post, for example, we’ll take up in detail the differences between email and web push. Let’s delve right in.
How email and web push notifications differ
Messaging (Length and complexity)
You can’t finish an email newsletter in less than 100 characters. When you’re reaching an inbox, you want to share in detail about why you’re sending a message. But can you imagine fitting in as much information in a small pop-up for instance? No.
Web push notifications, by nature, are crisp notifiers. Most people will not read an alert any longer than 50 characters. With push notifications, you have to be to the point, and deliver the crux in five to seven words max.
In fact, we broke down the ideal length across different devices in a post on push notifications best practices – The ideal length of web push notifications.
Here’s an example of how communication differs in both these Shopify notifications – email and web push, for the same engagement objective – bringing the user back to engage with his abandoned cart.
Points to note:
This web push notification is focused on one goal – getting the user back to cart. The presumption here is that the user accidentally forgot to buy the item after adding it to their cart.
On the other hand, the email copy is aimed to achieve multiple goals. There are two objectives of the email – 1) to get customer insights on his reason for cart abandonment 2) nudging him to return to the cart.
An email lands in your inbox and gives you the freedom to open at will. Push notifications, on the other hand, appear right on your mobile screens.
While some may call that being intrusive, studies suggest that smartphone users actually like push notifications – only if they add value to them, of course.
What’s not acceptable to users is being spammy and receiving untimely notifications. And you can make sure you’re not being intrusive by simply following a data-backed approach.
Just like emails, you need to figure out the right frequency of your push notifications. Too much and they’ll opt you out, too little they’ll simply forget about you. Frequency is a tricky business, but with ‘Smart Delivery’ you can steer clear of overstepping the boundary.
The idea of push notifications is to deliver real-time information, instantly. They don’t sit in an inbox waiting for attention – even if not opened, their crispness delivers the message. That’s why push notifications work great for time-bound promotions where email might just fail to get the right action from the user within the required frame of time.
When your ‘sale’ is ending in a day, you can’t expect email to bring in as much footfall as web push can – especially considering that other stores could be using the same Shopify marketing strategy.
Degree of personalization
Personalization is at an all-time high given that 82% of people surveyed by Deloitte view customer view accuracy and quality of the information provided as the most important attributes of a quality customer experience.
An email has gone far and beyond personalizing the copy using customer names. Behavioral targeting has enabled marketers to send out more contextual and relevant emails based on user behavior history and patterns. For instance, the emails that stores use to send product recommendations. They take into account your previous purchases and what you have shown interest in, sending you a curated list of products you are more likely to purchase.
The same can actually be done with web push notifications.
For instance, triggering location-based push notifications is a smart tact to increase engagement rates. Going by stats and numbers, location-based notifications have a 50% higher rate than simple personalized alerts. Your in-store footfall is more likely to increase if your users nearby are timely informed about discounts and offers that they can avail from their favorite brand right around the corner.
Supplemented with FOMO factors such as urgency and scarcity, this kind of deep geo-location based personalized can supercharge your push notification engagement rates. People will definitely not want to miss an additional discount they can avail at their favorite brand by walking into their brick and mortar store.
In fact, there are many ways to use web push notifications in your Shopify marketing strategy and we listed them all down here: 13 types of push notification campaigns that drive higher sales.
These are just a few things about email and web push that can go a long way in helping you frame the right engagement strategy for your target audience. The channel you ultimately use more frequently to communicate and interact with your shoppers should depend on your campaign goal and what your numbers have to say.
But what metrics should you be measuring to see which Shopify marketing strategy works best for you?
Metrics to measure for Web Push and Email
Email has proven to deliver a higher ROI. But so has web push notifications, for stores like HeadphoneZone, who have gained 126x ROI.
Now considering there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a Shopify marketing strategy, it is important to take a call based on numbers. Here are a few metrics that will help you understand the channel of engagement your shoppers prefer:
Deliverability: Before looking at any other metric, take a look at how many emails and web push notifications actually got delivered over a set period of time.
Open rates: After delivery, analyze how many shoppers actually opened the Shopify notifications you sent across. This is measured by the open rate. It’s important because unless the shopper opens your message, the chances of them clicking through it are negligible.
Click through rates: Just opening the email or web push is not enough. The idea is to get the user to click on the ‘action’ button that’s termed as the call-to-action. Once this action is taken, the user arrives on the landing page.
Conversion rates: People who successfully complete the above two steps are expected to take a desired action on the web page. This can be to complete a purchase or simply create a wishlist.
Opt-In rates: One of the most important metrics for both email and web push notification. It is the percentage of shoppers who subscribe to your email list, or in the case of web push, agreeing to receive push notifications from you. It’s really important to improve opt-in rates because this is a metric that clearly shows you the percentage of people who intend to receive your messages.
Revenue: Ultimately, it is the revenue that you gain from a marketing channel that decides whether it’s worth your efforts. This is the macro goal for both email and web push. One step ahead of revenue, however, is the return on investment. If you are spending too much on email marketing software and not hitting your expected conversion rates with web push notifications, you should rethink your Shopify marketing strategy.
So which channel should you use?
Email’s not dead. It’s evolving. However, one of the biggest problems with using email alone is that with 111.1 billion emails are being sent and received every day. So what are the chances that yours will be opened and read? Even though Gmail nicely segregates ‘Primary’, ‘Social’, and ‘Promotional’ emails, it’s tough to get the message across to the user at the right time solely by email.
The bottom line is, the modern inbox is clogged.
Web push notification, that way, are more upfront. They show up right in time. You don’t need to click open your inbox and scroll through tons of emails to dig out one that might pique interest. And since they don’t really require anyone to subscribe using their emails, they also have a comparatively higher opt-in rate.
What are we trying to say?
Using emails and web push notifications together is the only way to ensure you’re reaching the modern shopper at the right time, with the right message.
All you need to do is dig into your marketing data to understand who your shoppers are, what channel they tend to use the most to interact with your Shopify store and how you can bridge the gap for those who have been inactive, using the two channels.