Nowadays, with the ever-changing online landscape, the channels you choose to reach your potential customers are more important than ever. You need to deliver timely content to engage user interests with your brand even when your customers are not on your site.

Automated push notification is an optimal channel in the post-GDPR era, allowing growing e-commerce brands to "push" communications to target users.

What are Web push notifications? Simply put, they are messages that are pushed to the recipients' device via Web browser. The main difference between push notifications and other messaging channels is that push doesn't require the end recipients to be active within the specific medium: As long as the person is online with their devices, the message will appear at the specified time.

Therefore, it is the perfect channel for your e-commerce shop to communicate with visitors about after they have left your site.

This article will share insights about the potential of push notifications, covering these three key topics:

  1. How effective are e-commerce push notifications?
  2. Push notification marketing vs. email marketing
  3. Three automated push notifications to start with: cart abandonment Web notification; price drop Web notification; browse abandonment Web notification

1. How Effective Are Push Notifications?

Let's look at the myth that everyone opts out of Web push notifications. Automated push notifications have an opt-in rate of around 5-15% compared with 2% for email newsletters!

A crucial part of your e-commerce push notification marketing strategy is to optimize, optimize, optimize! Push notifications are only as effective as you make them.

To get the most out of Web push notifications, you need to track what topics visitors show interest in while they browse on your site, and follow up by sending relevant content to keep them engaged and get them to click.

Another perk of using push notification is that, since there are opt-in/opt-out options, end users have greater control over the content they wish to receive, resulting in the alerts' being of a higher value to your customers. That, in turn, helps drive down your unsubscribe rates.

2. Web Push Notification Marketing vs. Email Marketing

Open Rates and Accessibility

Email marketing is traditionally the channel with the best ROI in e-commerce. Some of the advantages of using an automated email campaign are that around 2.6 billion people have an email account; and since email stays in viewers' mailboxes, it is more accessible for viewing later on. Web push notifications, on the other hand, are often difficult or even impossible to access at a later time.

What sets automated website push notifications apart from email, however, is that they can be delivered to a device—mobile or desktop—even when the user is not on your website.

Also, along with a higher opt-in rate, push notification also receives an average engagement rate of 21%, whereas the average email click-through rate is only 3% percent.

It's All About Timing

People check their personal emails for a total of only 20 minutes each day, on average. Furthermore, the average amount of time it takes before an email notification is opened and viewed is 6.4 hours. That greatly contrasts with the average 16 hours a day that a smartphone is turned on or the time a person is online.

Content Supported

The email template provides a lot more real estate to work with, which means heavier text, richer media content, and even HTML designs that can be loaded in most email clients.

Push notification, however, is limited in both the text and images that can be supported.

Sample layout of a push notification

Most browser and mobile messages can support on average 120 characters (500 characters max) with limited headline space, one brand icon, and one small image within the main body.


Visitors who opt in to push notifications are more likely to see your push notification on their devices; they are also up to 88% more likely to engage with your brand because of push compared with other channels.

Example of browse reminder notification from online food delivery site

3. Three Automated Web Push Notification Examples to Start With

Setting up automated push notifications with e-commerce scenarios

Cart Abandonment Notification

Let's review some push notification marketing examples, starting with one of the most dreaded situations in e-commerce, the abandoned cart.

Abandoned carts have accounted for trillions of unspent dollars. Visitors' shopping habits of browsing now to maybe buy later has resulted in an average cart abandonment rate of 70%.

However, marketers can recover some of that loss by using an automated push notification with cart reminder.

Here's how it might work, with a customized series of notifications:

  1. Starting one hour after visitors have abandoned a cart, you use a push notification to remind them of the product they left behind.
  2. Then, 24 hours after the first notification, the second push would simply remind them that their purchase awaits.
  3. Finally, 48 hours after the previous reminder, with your third notification you can offer a deal or discount.

Price-Drop Notification

Since 46% of people are motivated to opt in for Web push notifications in order to receive personalized alerts regarding upcoming sales and promotions, or other time-sensitive content, having a reliable communication process in place is a must.

First off, you need to extract the best performing products from your e-shop. Next, identify and prioritize which items have a repurchase cycle. Lastly, set up repurchase reminder push notifications on these items and... presto! Customers maximize their savings and you sell your product while building trust and loyalty!

Browse-Abandonment Notification

You can recover users who are browsing your site but abandoning without purchase with Web push notification in a way that you can't with an automated email campaign. That's because with automated push notification campaign for browse abandonment you are able to target those visitors in real time, directly on their browser.

Web push notifications make it easier to win back visitors. You've heard that choosing words that evoke emotions with your copy will help get clicks? It's true. Web push notification gives you and ideal way to make customers feel valued and leave them feeling that they are getting an exclusive deal before it's too late.

Example of automated push notification with abandoned-browse reminder

You Don't Have to Choose: Just Combine

There is no need to pick either automated push notifications or emails for your media mix. The maximum outcome comes when you combine both channels because you increase your potential reach and touchpoints with visitors.

The push notification marketing tips discussed in this article aim to help e-commerce marketers not only convert more customers but also gain brand loyalty and thereby create repeat customers.

Push notification automation has its advantages and disadvantages; but, as with most trends or tools, if you act quickly and adopt it before the late adopters, you will be able to monetize it before your competition.

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Automated Push Notifications Are the New Secret Weapon of E-Commerce

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image of Joyce Qian

Joyce Qian is director of marketing and growth at ContactPigeon, an e-commerce-focused marketing automation solution used by L'Oreal, The Body Shop, Hertz, and hundreds of online businesses.

LinkedIn: Joyce Qian

Twitter: @qian_joyce