Mobile devices are the remote controls for our lives. As the consumer becomes more sophisticated and tech savvy they are demanding more from their applications. An app with a pulse is not enough anymore. On the other hand an app with a pulse and a good notification strategy gives the user control over what they receive and provides the option to immediately take action. This will become key to meeting mobile users’ extremely high expectations when iOS 8 is released.
With the beta release of iOS 8 Apple are giving us a glimpse at a key enhancement that will reduce friction for bidirectional communication between users and their apps. Some of the new features for push notifications include; Interactive notifications, Widgets and enhanced Location services. Interactive Notifications are something that brands can—and should—quickly adopt.
Interactive notifications lets you respond to push notifications without switching apps. Also an interactive notification could be another way to gather customer feedback. For example you have ordered food from an app like ‘Just eat’, you receive your meal and you receive a notification asking “How would you rate the restaurant?”, whilst another notification which could be sent out would be “Would you dine with this restaurant in the foreseeable future?”
An Interactive Notification
iOS 8 offers an incredible amount of potential for businesses to improve their app’s stickiness and drive continued engagement, even without having their end-users directly in the app. Here are a few examples: A customer is in Starbucks and they receive a notification saying “Your balance hit $0.00 after your last purchase” the future notification would allow the customer to reload their balance with the same amount they last reloaded their balance with.
With iOS 8 users will have the same level of multi-tasking that Android users already enjoy. Interactive notifications and widgets will enable consumers the ability to take specific actions on a push notification (either as a banner or on the lock-screen). The possibilities are endless for retail. From a purchasing perspective, retailers might offer an interactive notification to users whose wish-list item just came back into stock, giving them the option to add it directly to their cart without leaving the app they’re currently browsing. The more users interact with the initial interactive notification the more precise your profile of the user becomes.
Another utility benefit of the iOS 8 is the ability of the user to take action outside of an app through actionable notifications which let you respond to in the notification tray such as typing a reply or comment on a Facebook photo tag without switching apps.
An Actionable Notification
Another important addition is Widgets in Apple’s Notification Center and lock screen, which, offers users immediate, non-intrusive information. Instead, iOS widgets will share the drop-down hub with app notifications. These miniature iterations of apps will go into the Notification Center for iOS 8 and provide small bites of information provided by the app, the new widgets inside the notifications panel. One example of a widget could be from the eBay App widget, showing items your currently bidding on and the time left until the end of the bid.
Even more compelling is the possible integration of interactive notifications with iBeacons. From a customer service standpoint where beacons recognise that you have walked into your favourite store, an interactive notification sent after the customer has walked in store could quickly provide an interactive, yet non-disruptive notification…“Welcome back Annmarie, is there something we can assist you with today”? A quick tap of “yes” could alert the floor manager to send a customer service assistant in Annmarie’s area to help her find what she needs. Maybe Annmarie taps “no” and then enjoys browsing the sales without being bothered. It’s a small touch that can have a great impact on customer experience.
One interesting development with the iOS 8 operating system is in regards to location services. Rumour has is that an app icon to the left hand side of the lock screen would appear whenever a user is in the vicinity of a location that has a corresponding app in the App Store. The device’s current location is used to recommend relevant apps on the lock screen, the user doesn’t even have to have the app installed on their device. For instance you walk up to a nearby Apple Store and an app icon appears on the Lock screen. This new feature will tie in nicely with iBeacon. When a user is within close proximity of a business for example Starbucks an icon from the Starbucks app will appear on the user’s home screen as can be seen below.
iOS 8 offers numerous advantages for both businesses and consumers in their update to how push notifications may be improved and how iBeacon will continue to grow in relevancy to the users local interactions with their apps. Businesses have a new platform for engagement that can improve brand awareness and stickiness whilst consumers can easily respond back without having to make a conscious effort to navigate back to one application.