Engagement through in-app push notifications is a key driver of app retention

In today’s mobile-centric world there is an app for almost if not everything. With 1.2 million applications in Apple Inc.’s App Store and more than 1 million Android apps on Google Play, we’ve become app-saturated. And an alarming fact is that apps rarely stick. According to Gartner Inc. research, 95 percent of apps are abandoned after just one month. However consumer preference is strongly in favour of apps (85 %) over a mobile site. The most common reasons for this is that apps are seen to be more convenient (55%), faster (48%) and easier to browse (40%).  Gartner predicts that by 2017, applications will generate revenue of more than $77 billion per year — bringing in a hefty revenue stream for successful app creators.

With the growing number of smartphone users and since the launch of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Apple iOS 8 release in the fall the cost for marketers to acquire loyal users has reached an all time high at $2.25, which is an increase of 21 %. A loyal user is defined as a user who opens an app three times or more.

Organizations typically invest between $15,000 and $20,000 to develop an app, and with high abandonment rates, from an ROI perspective that can be really scary. Although the cost for marketers to acquire new users is rising, in order to make the investment worthwhile in the first place engaging your users is key. As the mobile space matures there is an increasing focus on user engagement, retention and personalization. An effective way of driving loyalty and retention and ROI in your app is through in-App push notifications.

Engagement and In-App Push Notifications

App users who opt-in to receive push notifications show significantly higher engagement and retention. Through the segmentation of push notifications, users receive content that is likely to appeal to them based on their behaviour and preferences and in turn encouraging them to re-engage with the app in question. Engaging your users through in-app push notifications can help to retain loyal users and to increase ROI. As mobile apps become more sophisticated and rich, there is an increased focus on in-app messages as a way to drive repeat usage. In-app messages support more feature-rich content, like images, links and longer copy.

Starbucks has mastered in-app messaging to send out coupons and offers in addition to recommending apps and iTunes downloads.

in-app-purchase-starbucks                Starbucks uses in-app messaging to tie in with free song downloads

Also it is worth noting that the trend in larger smartphone displays is giving rise to better app engagement and this will lead to more in-app purchases. If you are eager in not only engaging your users but driving user retention and app loyalty, ourselves here at Xtremepush would love to hear from you.

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Abandoned carts and push notifications

abandoned-shopping-cart

Cart abandonment is a major challenge faced by online retailers. The availability of alternative merchandise to the consumer and the fact that your customers can shop 24/7, a lot of the time, mobile users are window shopping. They are on the go looking to be persuaded. Invariably six in ten shoppers who place items in a cart do not check out.

So where does mobile come in to play? Well the increase in consumers using Smartphones to shop can be contributed to the increasing cart abandonment rates on mobile devices. In fact, between 66% and 97% of shopping carts are abandoned on mobile. Consumers may use the cart to compare online prices and shipping rates, or treat their cart as an ongoing shopping list and often prefer to switch to a PC or laptop to complete their purchases. To increase conversion rates on mobile retailers need to work out a strategy to turn browsers into buyers. And as consumers buy more from mobile and tablets, retailers will need ways to recover sales from the high percentage of carts abandoned in their mobile app

To combat cart abandonment Email Marketers have already gotten on the bandwagon so now is an opportune time for Mobile Marketers to do the same. The results of email remarketing after cart abandonment are favorable; research can reveal that email remarketing drives higher order values, showing an increase of as much as 55% and that the majority of customers who are going to buy as a result of a remarketing campaign, will do so within 24 hours of abandoning a purchase.

Here are useful ways push notifications can be used for abandoned carts:

  • Buy within the next hour and get free shipping
  • Add a handbag and get 25 % off

In the above examples in the case of a retailer, through tight integration with their checkout flows in their app, they can send personalized push notifications to shoppers who have abandoned a cart. And with this, a retailer can notify shoppers through re-engagement where there is already a product in the shopping cart.

Similarly to shoppers who haven’t put anything in the cart a personalized push notification could be sent out such as:

  • That Ted Baker Skater Dress with Lace is available in red
  • The Karen Millen Black Patent Strappy that you looked at are available in your size

These pushes were delivered following on from the customer selecting a colour or a size.

Unlike email Push messaging can help to deliver a frictionless experience to the customer. With push messaging the shopper is placed right at the checkout, removing friction where your message and brand are elevated above the noise of the customers already crowded email inbox.

Push messaging can be used as a mechanism to reengage your customers who may have abandoned their carts or are on the verge of doing so. And for the retailers that embrace push notifications in this way, they will be miles ahead of the competition. And if it yields comparable results to email, you could recover up to between 12% and 16% of abandoned carts. However before your customer abandons ship there are mechanisms you can put in place to combat cart abandonment. One significant determining factor is free shipping, where a Deloitte study found that 69 % of customers are more likely to shop with online retailers who offer free shipping and 61 % of shoppers would quit their order if free shipping wasn’t offered. Ultimately with more and more consumers using their smartphones to shop and their carts being abandoned, now more than ever is an opportune time to take advantage of push messaging.

Why a Mobile Marketing Strategy is essential this Christmas

merry-mobile-christmasThe days of shopping for Christmas presents on the desktop computer are disappearing and there has been a surge in mobile activity during the Christmas season. In December 2013 Mobile traffic accounted for 48 % of all online traffic, with a notable growth in Mobile sales accounting for 29 % of all online sales, up 40 % over 2012. Increasingly more and more consumers are now shopping on their mobile devices and turning to mobile to buy gifts.

Last December Smartphones drove 28.5% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 18.1%, making it the browsing device of choice. And when it came to making the sale, tablets assorted 19.4% of all online sales, more than twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 9.3%. Whilst 25 % of shoppers said they had a preference for shopping in-store  and 10 % of all shoppers plan to use their mobile devices to check retailer’s products or prices or read reviews, while they are already shopping

The multiple mobile devices being used by the consumer during the Christmas shopping journey means a multichannel shopping approach is advised for your mobile marketing strategy this Christmas season; For instance your customer orders online and then proceeds to click and collect in-store.

Below are some reasons why a mobile marketing strategy is essential this Christmas season:

Reach Extreme Last Minute Shoppers
Holiday gifting procrastinators
We have all been there, it’s 3.30 on Christmas Eve and you have yet to buy those Christmas gifts for loved ones, with the shopping shelves empty, and the wrapping paper scarce, you can’t help but panic. However with Mobile thrown into the equation panic mode can be sedated; and the rush to complete those purchases can somehow be more organised. Last-minute shopping is likely to be easier than ever; a later cut-off period for Christmas delivery together with click-and-collect options mean it’s easier for these last-minute shoppers to buy their presents online, 11% of shoppers in 2013 planned to leave their Christmas shopping until the last week. In the meantime, mobile-enabled consumers can compare prices, find nearby stores and with some retailers they can reserve stock while they are already shopping.  Retailers need to cater to these mobile-enabled shoppers by rolling out options on their mobile website and/or mobile app to check stock availability and reserve products in nearby stores.

Build Wish Lists and Shopping Lists
Their making a list and checking it twice…
As a retailer through usage behavioral segmentation in your mobile app you can become more responsive and coming up to the Christmas shopping frenzy you can encourage users of your app to tag favorite products or build wish lists and shopping lists within your app. And based on these wish lists created by the user, coupons that relate back to your users wish lists can be digitally delivered to their mobile phones, and similarly through coupons to digital wallets mobile coupons can be updated in real time. And its Christmas Eve, the shelves are empty and they have not gotten around to ticking everybody off their list. Well now with digital wallet capabilities you can conveniently send gift cards directly to a loved one’s smartphone.

Also for the last minute shoppers who may have a wish list but may be waiting until the middle of December to buy presents in online “Christmas sales” per say or for the shoppers who may be waiting for stock to be made available again, a particular size or color etc. As a retailer this is an opportunity to encourage users to download your app and build a wish list of items they possibly intent to purchase before Christmas day.

Through behavioral segmentation users who have created a “wish list” would then be able to receive an alert through a push notification if any of the items were to go on sale and or become available again.

Dedicate a Line For In-Store Pick Ups
Because the likelihood of having a clear path to purchase is as likely as Santa Claus traveling faster than light…
And lastly it is no secret that Consumers come out in their droves during the Christmas season and the likelihood of having a clear path to purchase is as likely as Santa Claus traveling faster than light. Most of the time Christmas queues are unavoidable, with one quarter of shoppers having a preference to visit stores rather than buying online. On the other hand for consumers who decide to pre-order their Christmas gifts through Click and Collect you can help your customers to avoid the queues by having a dedicated line for in-store pick ups. iBeacon technology can also be deployed in a store  to trigger alerts through push notifications to consumers when they arrive in store to direct them to their collection points.

The rapid increase in mobile shopping promises to be one of the defining characteristics of this Christmas for retailers, along with further growth of click-and-collect. Along with consumer confidence on the up, a strong retail trend is expected to continue this Christmas season. And what better way to embrace these trends than to carry out a mobile marketing strategy of your own and allow your brand to shine.

If you would like to hear more about how XtremePush can help you to reach your extreme Last Minute shoppers and much more – we would love to hear from you.

Afterall – tis the Season to have a Merry Mobile Christmas!!!

Our Recent Presentation about iBeacon Tech at an Apple event

XtremePush‘s CEO Tommy Kearns was recently asked to present at an Apple sponsored event in the headquarters of Apple re-seller Exertis Plc about how iBeacon will affect workforce mobility and their interactions with enterprise applications. There were speakers from other market leaders such as Cisco Meraki and Plantronics discussing how mobility is changing the modern workforce. You can see Tommy’s presenation on slideshare here

5 Industries iBeacon has taken off in

fly_the_aircraftiBeacon is an indoor proximity system that allows your mobile device to understand its position even indoors. iBeacon enables an app to trigger push notifications when in close proximity to an iBeacon. Although retail was one of the very first industries to utilize iBeacon, the airline industry is another area where iBeacon is, along with events, hospitality, banking and mobile all of which can be seen below:

1. Airlines
iBeacons have the capacity to provide multiple solutions to passengers in airports and can provide a boost to their overall journey experience. Using iBeacon airlines can easily provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and inform passengers in real-time of boarding updates. Very often passengers arrive into airports that are of unfamiliar territory and quite often it can be an overwhelming experience. Particularly if you were to arrive into Dallas Forthworth Airport with research revealing that 65% of passengers arrived at the gate early because they are often nervous about whether they are at the right gate. Following on from this research iBeacons were deployed at the Dallas Forthworth Airport where American Airlines app users could automatically receive information and directions to their gate via their iPhone or iPad when they were at the terminal.

2. Events
Mobile event apps using iBeacons have the capability of enhancing features like contact exchange, exhibitor information, maps, line-up information, sponsorship, advertising and promotions, seat upgrades, in-game prizes, scavenger hunts and geo fencing. Networking events such as the Cannes Lions Festival has used iBeacon for networking. The company used iBeacon to allow attendees to network with an “Around Me” feature in the event’s app that display nearby attendees. The feature was integrated with LinkedIn profiles allowing attendees to send messages and connect instantly if they’ve opted in. GenieConnect an event app introduced a new iBeacon-enabled audience response solution for the convention and corporate events industry. The solution utilizes the proximity awareness of iBeacons to ‘push’ session content to attendees and, if desired, locks their handset screen during the session to minimize distractions.

Similarly iBeacons are being embraced at sports events. Here at XtremePush we teamed up with Leinster Rugby and deployed iBeacons during the recent RaboDirect Pro 12 semi-final at the RDS stadium. Mobile-minded supporters received push notifications through the Leinster Rugby App, triggered by specially placed iBeacons, when they entered certain areas of the stadium. The push notifications directed the fans to collect special prizes from Leinster’s Blue Crew within the RDS.

3. Hospitality
iBeacons used in hotels can allow a hotel to enhance and deliver a greater overall customer service experience. iBeacons can look after those hotel formalities that you would rather not have to think about, freeing up time for guests to enjoy themselves. In the case of formalities such as check-in, your reservation number is automatically opened up in passbook and upon entrance of the hotel you are then provided with an electric room key. Beacons can help you to solve the potential maze you will have to solve when you are trying to find your room. The James Hotels based in the United States, released an app called the James Pocket Assistant with iBeacon integration. The app promises to give hotel guests a concierge like experience, providing location-based suggestions for dinner, shopping, and activities.

4. Banking
iBeacon offers exciting opportunities for banks. iBeacon can target customers as they walk past or enter a branch. These opportunities include welcome communications, customer recognition, availability and wait times, personalized product offers, surveying and branch analytics. St. George bank branch in Australia was the first ever deployment of ibeacons in the banking industry. When a customer walks into the bank, the iBeacon senses the person’s entrance and sends a welcome message and personalised information directly to the iPhone or iPad. The bank hopes the service could help to reduce queue times. The bank has said that their investment in iBeacon has the ability to anticipate customer’s needs, understand what matters to them and act on that knowledge to surprise and delight them.

5. Mobile Payments
iBeacon and mobile payments is the latest industry to embrace this technology. Hailo has a new ‘Pay with Hailo’ service that is fully equipped to use iBeacon technology. This feature uses iBeacon which can automatically recognize taxis with the option to connect and pay for a journey automatically as soon as you step foot inside a vehicle. And in the the new year PayPal will be deploying PayPal Beacon to connect to a customer’s PayPal app when they enter a store. With one vibration or sound on your phone, you’ll know you’re checked in and when you’re ready to make a purchase, all you have to do is say you’re paying with PayPal and the transaction is automatically completed: no cash, cards, taps, or signatures required – all hands free.

The Power of Mobile App Push Notifications

Marketing today is all about capturing the consumer at the right time and in the right context. One way to achieve this is through push notifications on mobile devices. A push notification is the most direct way to engage with your app users. What’s more, of those who download a brand’s mobile app, 68% opt-in to receiving push notifications from that app. With push notifications you can keep users informed with timely and relevant content, whether you app is running in the background or inactive. Notifications can display a message, play a distinctive sound, or update a badge on your app icon.

McDonalds-push-notification So why are push notifications so powerful?

Well for a start the consumer is mobile. The global smartphone audience has surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. Push notifications provide a direct-to-pocket channel and are within arms-reach of the consumer. Although this may seem like a passport to reaching your consumer it is important to capture their attention also. Similar to email, push notifications consider the user before delivering push. Messaging can therefore become more relevant by including previous location information, in app behaviors, stated preferences and purchase history. For instance, you’re walking past Starbucks at 8.00 am on a Monday morning and you’re a long time loyal customer at this location, chances are you would love a coupon for a Tall Latte. Push notifications when used sparingly and correctly can be good for your brand and can allow you to connect with your mobile audience in a helpful but influential way.

1) Push can drive unplanned purchases

Push not only promises to build customer loyalty, but it can also motivate impulse or unplanned spending. In a study on shopping behavior it was found that shopping apps are considered most useful and more likely to impact shopping behavior. Email and online product reviews were also included; the common denominator being their ability to influence the consumers shopping behavior and satisfy their shopper needs.

2) Push can influence the consumer on their journey

Push can be part of a holistic customer journey, for instance giving customers the information that they need from various devices from their smartphone when they are on the move (researching a product) to their tablet when they are at home (getting out their credit cards to make a payment). Whilst push notifications are concentrated on mobile phones and tablets they are quickly expanding to reach all kinds of new internet devices. In fact, the world will have more connected devices than people – 75 billion devices connected to the “Internet of things” by 2020.

3) Push can drive customer retention

Push can promise to help with customer retention. For most app marketers minimizing churn is a major pain point. Retention for push-enabled users is significantly higher than for those who disable push notifications with a nearly 3 times higher retention rate compared to those who disable push. To keep users coming back into the app months down the road, it becomes extremely important to send timely, actionable push notifications. Even just one month after first downloading the app, the difference in retention is staggering. The cost to acquire an app user is $1.79 which is based on a quality user, defined as a user that will open the app at least three times. If you are willing to invest such an amount in capturing your user in the first place, with the cost per acquisition potentially lower then your lifetime value, you should be willing to invest more into retaining the user.

XtremePush wins R&D Intellectual Property Award with iBeacon solution

homepageIPAwardsOurselves here at XtremePush, a leader in mobile analytics, iBeacon, push notifications and app engagement, entered the Intellectual Property Awards with our iBeacon location proximity solution back in April. We are delighted to have emerged as the winner in the category of indigenous IP R&D. The IP Awards are Ireland’s most highly prized awards in Intellectual Property, recognising and celebrating those involved in IP development.

Our indoor proximity solution works through both Apple’s iBeacon and WIFI wto deliver a higher precise of indoor location mobile engagement. A number of commercial real time location solutions exist but they typically attempt to replicate GPS indoors, requiring the installation of expensive custom hardware solutions. Most of these are aimed at industries that are concerned with “where stuff is” for example logistics and manufacturing. In contrast the proximity solution we provide works with any mobile device and requires no custom hardware or tags. Our solution means an app can now easily, and economically, analyse, target and engage with a higher level of relevancy and accuracy than ever before. Deloitte estimate that in the US by 2016 smartphones are likely to influence between 17% and 21% of retail purchases equating to $628-782 billion in sales.

Outdoors GPS is king. A custom standard for location detection, shipping with every mobile device. However indoors GPS does not work. Our patent pending indoor proximity solution which overcomes this problem works through either iBeacon or WIFI. App developers can easily install a package to their app so the app can be contextually aware of it’s location relevant to a beacon or WIFI router within a range of half a meter to 70 meters. This breakthrough is the result of two years of development through an innovation partnership with Clarity, the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, Dublin City University, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland an with ourselves here at XtremePush. It has developed from a proof of concept to a commercial technology over the last 24 months by our CTO Dr. Kevin Collins himself.

Our CEO Tommy Kearns has stated “With Apple’s release of iBeacon technology it has bolstered our proximity solution to make it easier and economical for apps to engage in-doors or in a highly localized and contextual relevant manner. Our mobile engagement platform is completely compatible with iBeacon and WIFI technology and we are delighted to be recognized by the IP Awards for our innovation in this area. The opportunity for brands to learn, analyse, engage and retarget their users presents a new vista for consumer insights.”

Our mobile engagement and analytical software solution has over 300 apps signed up through a global customers base in Ireland, UK, USA, Mexico, France, Argentina and Brazil. Brands use our platform to automate push notifications based on app analytics, user segmentation, geo fences for outdoors and now beacons for indoor proximity awareness. And we are very excited about the future of the mobile market.

Apple’s Mobile Payments and Proximity Purchasing using iBeacon

paypal-mobileThe development of smartphones has gone and replaced the necessities and utilities we grew up with; the watch, the alarm clock, the tape recorder, music players, and it seems that very soon, we can add cash and wallets to that list. Mobile payments are garnering more attention throughout the world due to an improved user experience and the new opportunities it can provide for financial institutions, operators and merchants. This attention has been driven by the growing demand from the consumer side for mobile payments. According to Gartner, the number of mobile payment users in the world will reach 384 million by 2015, in 2009 there were 70 million users.

Mobile payments can now be based on proximity using iBeacon 

Proximity payments are going to make in-store shopping a lot more interesting. Proximity payments are a form of contactless payments which is more convenient than swiping credit cards. In a store setting you can use a mobile device to complete a payment by way of short-range communication technologies including Bluetooth, RFID and now iBeacon. Mobile payments fall into three categories; mobile proximity payments or in-store payments, mobile peer-to-peer and mobile commerce. Whilst growth will occur over the next few years for all three, the growth in mobile proximity payments will far outpace the growth of the other two.

Mobile is unleashing convenient commerce and enabling consumers to purchase how and when they want whether on a phone or in a store. By 2017 Mobile proximity payments is expected to reach $40.1 billion, up from $1.1 billion volume expectations in 2013.

Two companies embracing mobile proximity payments include Hailo and PayPal:

Hailo

Up until now Hailo drivers and passengers are matched based on both availability and proximity using GPS-enabled smartphones. The new ‘Pay with Hailo’ service is now fully equipped to use iBeacon technology. This feature uses iBeacon which can automatically recognize taxis with the option to connect and pay for a journey automatically as soon as you step foot inside a vehicle. According to Tom Barr CEO of Hailo “We are taking the friction and the hassle out of taking a taxi and making it easier for people and for drivers“. Ultimately Hailo’s vision is to provide a seamless experience for both drivers and passengers. Currently our-selves here in Ireland have been lucky enough to be the very first country to get our hands on Hailo’s new payment features. The Hailo app proved successful at the Web Summit in Dublin last year, and with attendee figures set to double to 20,000 this year, now is an optimal time for Hailo to embrace this technology.

Hailo-mobile-payment

PayPal

In the new year PayPal will be deploying PayPal Beacon to connect to a customer’s PayPal app when they enter a store. With one vibration or sound on your phone, you will know you’re checked in. And when you’re ready to make a purchase, all you have to do is say you’re paying with PayPal and the transaction is automatically completed: no cash, cards, taps, or signatures required—all hands free. PayPal Beacon will connect consumers to enhanced shopping experiences such as automatically ordering your favorite dish at your usual lunch spot, or getting personalized service at your favorite clothing store. In addition, you can choose to accept messages from stores that you walk into, so that you can take advantage of special offers in the product aisle. You can get notified immediately when your prescription is ready, order your usual lunch at your favorite restaurant, or simply walk to the counter with your purchases and say you’re paying with PayPal, the merchant does the rest and you receive your receipt electronically. With PayPal Beacon it has the potential to change the landscape of mobile payments.

paypal-ibeacon