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Learn how to send the perfect web push for eCommerce brands

What are we trying to achieve with our web push campaign?

When thinking up new use cases and campaigns, the primary question to answer is; what business goal does this web push help us achieve?

Or, to think about it another way, what action do we want the recipient to take?

The answer shapes every aspect of the campaign, from your choice of words to send time and the images used.

Web push notifications should never become “set-dressing”, there should always be a clear purpose.

This will also help you determine a KPI for your campaign, and give you a metric to compare when deciding on the right variation during A/B tests. 

How do we define the objective of each web push?

There are essentially 5 reasons why your brand might send a web push notification. Each one is linked to a very specific business goal.

  • To welcome or onboard
  • To educate*
  • To inform**
  • To sell
  • To win back

*An educational web push refers to product and service updates or new features

**An informational push pertains to transactional messages like purchase confirmation or estimated delivery times.

One or two may not be relevant for every brand, depending on your revenue model and vertical. I can’t think of any marketer that doesn’t want to sell more or recover lost sales, though!

The small character limit and formatting constraints of the channel mean it is best to focus on a single objective per campaign. This also helps to keep your messaging crisp (we’ll talk more about that later in the article).

Leveraging web push’s primary advantages

Instant visibility

The most obvious advantage that push notifications have, compared to other engagement channels, is visibility.

As the message is delivered in real time, while the device is in use, we can be sure that the recipient will see it.

Now, of course, they may not interact with it there and then, but it gives us the best opportunity to nudge the customer towards goal completion.

What we are trying to do with all of these use cases is capitalise on this visibility and provide obvious and immediate value. We do this with succinct, impactful copy and arresting imagery.

Easy to read

Web pushes arrive “ready-to-read”. What I mean is, there’s no action required from the recipient to consume its content. They don’t need to open it up or, crucially, navigate away from their current task.

The challenge, as a marketer, is how to craft a brief message that says everything in less than 120 characters.

I tend to see this as a welcome relief, rather than a drawback, however! Think about the effort you put into writing an email. There’s an expectation that the email will have a certain amount of content in it.

If you opened a marketing email up and saw a single sentence you’d probably think it was spam!

As consumers, we understand that web pushes are brief. There is an art to writing effectively for them, yes, but you don’t need to take up space just for the sake of it.


Once you’ve gotten their attention, you then need to direct the user towards the relevant content. Web pushes allow you to link to any page on your website (including the checkout). Selecting the right page to bring your audience to is a fundamental part of any campaign.

Where you direct the user to is determined by the objective and the use case (i.e. a category page, a specific product or an account registration form).

A web push is a promise of future value; the user is trusting that you aren’t going to waste their time. It’s vital that your messaging aligns with the destination. 

The keys to an engaging web push

I’m going to talk about the 4 elements of a web push here; the title, the body, the CTA and the picture. In a good web push, each part works in harmony.

Together, they should tell a micro-story that compels the reader to act.

One of the mistakes that marketers make is confusing the purpose of each element.

Think of the relationship between them like this:

  1. The title creates the desire to read the body
  2. The body creates the desire to act via the CTA
  3. The CTA should simply align with the content and the expected outcome (Buy, read, view etc)
  4. And, obviously, the image must support the messaging and catch the eye

One thing I will say generally, however, is that there’s no trickery required! We aren’t trying to hoodwink the recipient into clicking by over-promising or misleading them.

Be honest with the copy you write and write for your personas. Remember, it’s a permission-based channel. Trust in the fact that they want to hear from you.

There’s so much potential here to be creative. Writing web pushes should be fun! It’s a chance to show off your brand’s personality. In fact, I would say it’s essential that you do that.

For all of the nuances of creating a message, there is one crucial thing to note. I’m probably going to say this a couple of times; proper segmentation and targeting are what really drives results from web push.

Writing better web push titles

Be careful of falling into the trap of simply replicating your email subject lines. 

I can see why people do it, and yes, there are similarities between them. But an email subject needs to stand out amongst a bloated inbox full of competitors all trying to do the same thing.

Web push headlines don’t need to try quite so hard! You can’t close the deal in the title, you can only create the opportunity to close.

If the title is too obviously “salesy” then chances are we’ll dismiss it without even reading the body.

Instead, write web push titles that amuse or intrigue the reader. Pose a question or create some mystery. Give them a reason to read the body…

writing a push notification title

Again, we’re leveraging the fact that a web push is easy to consume.

Offer something of value in the body of the web push

Excuse the bluntness, but if you don’t think your audience wants to hear about your offer or piece of information then just don’t send it. Honestly, an annoying and/or pointless web push does more harm than good!

If you wouldn’t engage with the message you’re sending, why would someone else? 

What you offer in the body of the message is also dependent on the recipient’s relationship with your brand. Are they a VIP customer who buys from you regularly, or are they someone who has visited your website once and hasn’t been seen since?

Exploiting this data is fundamental. 

And be direct with your language. If there’s a discount then include the percentage. If you want them to read something, then say that. You only have a brief window to state your case!

Above all, you must communicate what’s in it for them!

Don’t get hung up on the exact character count either. There are articles out there that say things like “76 characters is the perfect length!”

Ignore them.

There’s no magic number and every brand has its own particular audience and requirements anyway. Focus on writing well and providing value, and the character count really won’t matter.

Keep your Call To Actions clear

“Read more”, ‘Buy now”, “Get discount”. These are tried and tested CTAs that work because the customer knows what’s going to happen. They tell the reader exactly what’s going to happen when they click on it. 

That’s really all there is to it. There’s no silver bullet CTA that will convince everyone to buy. If someone just doesn’t like the offer they won’t click.

You aren’t going to squeeze some extra conversion-juice* out of a clever CTA, you’ll only end up confusing those who do want to buy.

*Yes, I did just make that expression up

Selecting the right image

Perhaps more than in any other vertical, eCommerce brands can really up their engagement rates with well-chosen imagery.

Currently, you can only include pictures in web pushes sent to Windows and Android (Chrome) devices. They are by no means essential either. Don’t feel obliged to use one unless you believe it will add value. And of course, you can always A/B test a web push with and without an image.

Learn more about the creative options available to you and how to correctly format your pictures and logos here.

A/B test your web pushes!

I cannot stress the importance of A/B testing enough. This is especially true if you are new to sending web pushes. But even seasoned digital marketers test their theories.

Every element of a web push can and should be tested, but only choose one at a time. The generally accepted principles of A/B testing (as with emails or pop-ups, for example) still very much apply here.

Don’t be afraid to try things. If you are testing out your tone of voice, for example, be bold. So long as the content is good, and the web push is sent in good faith, I wouldn’t be concerned about people opting out.

When testing, it’s important to have 2 (or 3) good options.

If you naturally have a preference for one type of message (you believe the language should be really informal for example) then, without meaning to, it’s possible to sabotage the other option and skewer the test! 

So make sure that every variation is one that you really believe in. At the same time, it’s important that they are different enough from one another that definite conclusions can be drawn.

Segmentation and personalisation

I said it earlier, but it bears repeating: segmentation has the greatest influence on the success of your campaigns.

Unless you are sending a blast message that concerns your entire database (like a service update), there’s no such thing as a perfect web push. There’s only the right message for the right audience

Seriously, spend less time fretting over your CTA and more time thinking about segments! They an integral ingredient in a successful one to one marketing campaign.

Within the Xtremepush platform, you can create segments of users based on previous behaviour or inactivity.  Use “and/or” rules (more information on this can be found in our guide here) to really personalise the message and improve your targeting.

For example, you might create a segment of users who have made a purchase in the past but who haven’t been active on the site in 3 months (or whatever length of time you decide).

This would be an ideal group to remarket to. Let them know about your latest product (in the same category as their previous purchase perhaps) and get them back on-site. 

Or you might create a segment of users who have visited the site 3 times but have yet to buy anything. Again, there is obviously some interest there, maybe you just need to send a web push to incentivise that first purchase (with free shipping or an attractive discount) and sweeten the deal.

Importance of customer segmentation whens ending a web push

As in the example above, it’s always good to personalise the message with a name! But personalisation is also about understanding and respecting the recipient’s individual interests.

According to global I.T. consultants Gartner, brands who use personalisation in their marketing see increases in revenue of between 10-15%.

This is the kind of data that you build up over time and gradually layer into your marketing language.

And don’t forget, Xtremepush is also integrated with Google Analytics.  This means you can easily import existing insights and segments to enhance your campaigns right away.

Real-time and delayed event triggers

At the heart of automated campaigns are event triggers. This is an action or a pattern of browsing behaviour that will trigger the sending of a message.

Within the Xtremepush platform, you can choose to send a real-time message as soon as an event is completed or delay the message for a specified amount of time.

Types of triggers include;

  • Number of pages viewed
  • Specific page viewed 
  • Cart abandoned
  • Incomplete registration 
  • Hasn’t visited the website in a specified amount of time

Which event triggers you choose, and when you time your web push, depends on the campaign objective and the use case.

Examples of web push use cases in eCommerce

Abandoned cart recovery campaigns

For a lot of brands, this is the big-ticket item! 

If we took a show of hands amongst eCommerce marketers, then reducing the number of baskets left at the checkout would undoubtedly be the most common goal.

Web pushes are an ideal channel for these campaigns, providing direct access to customers as they browse the internet, when they are in a position to complete the purchase.

Using a push notification to recover abandoned carts

If possible, offering an incentive like free shipping can dramatically increase conversion rates.

Seasonal campaigns

Leverage holidays like Halloween or Christmas, or key dates like Valentine’s Day or July 4th to create seasonal, ad-hoc campaigns. Nurture sales 4 weeks, a week or a day or two before (to help those who’ve left it until the last minute!). 

Time-sensitive coupons and discounts

The immediacy of a web push lends itself perfectly to time-sensitive deals and flash sales. We have one client that does daily price-drop campaigns which get incredible results. That frequency wouldn’t work for every brand, but it is definitely worth sending a “limited time only” type push once in a while.

Think back to the hypothetical segment from earlier; users who’ve viewed the website several times but haven’t made a purchase; this is a perfect group to target with this sort of campaign.

Incorporate dynamic content into the message template to ensure the recipient always has an accurate picture of the time remaining.

Using web push for flash sales

Recently viewed/ browse abandon

We’ve seen a lot of customers have success with these campaigns. If a visitor has spent a decent amount of time on a specific page then you can be fairly certain that there was genuine interest there, the timing just wasn’t right. 

It can be worth sending them a web push that links them back to that page at a later date. 

Back in stock

This is a more specific variation of the above use case. If a particular product is out of stock for a certain amount of time then send a web push to people who viewed that page during this time period. 

It’s not very complicated, but who said marketing has to be? We’re simply leveraging the data we have.

"back in stock" web push

Drive account registrations

If you can convince more of your website visitors to create accounts then the odds of converting them at some point increase significantly. 

Drive eCommerce account registration

The segment is probably going to be something like; has visited website three times and no account created. 

Shipping updates

This is a great way to build up a strong relationship with your customer. It’s a selfless act that your audience will really appreciate!

Oh, and it will also help cut down on the number customers sending your support team emails asking where their order is…

Push notification with shipping updates

Wrapping it up!

The key takeaways;

  • Start with a clear objective
  • Always segment
  • Write for your personas
  • A/B test

I hope this guide has given you some inspiration to go out and create your next eCommerce web push campaign. 

Related reading: check our post to drive better ROI from your multichannel campaigns over Cyber Weekend and the holiday season!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Xtremepush solution then get in touch with today and schedule a demo with one of our eCommerce experts.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the complete digital engagement platform, purpose-built for multichannel marketing. It empowers brands to deliver personalised, relevant and real-time messages across email, web browser, mobile app, sms and social messengers.

The platform is completely modular and combines enterprise-grade analytics with a full suite of campaign and automation tools. This provides brands with accessible and actionable data, enabling them to unify the silos, create dynamic customer experiences and execute core business goals at speed and scale.

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