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A just-released study by Urban Airship showed that push notifications increase retention rates for retail brands among opt-in mobile users.

The mobile engagement platform provider analyzed 63 million new app users that first opened an app in September 2016 through December 2016, and examined the first 90-days of usage within retail, media, sports and recreation and utility and productivity verticals.

The company released the results at the ShopTalk event today in Las Vegas. Clients of Urban Airship include Adidas, Redbox and Walgreens, among others.

According to the data, brands are more focused on app user acquisition than user engagement and retention. The report found that on average, this wastes 95 cents of every dollar spent by marketers when new users are acquired and not messaged within the first 90 days of opening the app. Urban Airship calls this “APPathy” toward increased communication counterproductive, as the high cost of mobile app user acquisition and the loss of future potential customer value quickly becomes costly and unsustainable.

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Mobile commerce is changing how retailers interact with consumers.  Shutterstock / GaudiLab

Across Android and iOS devices, opt-out users from retail brands have higher retention rates than opt-in users who receive no messages: Rates are 50 percent higher on Android, and 36 percent higher on iOS. Also in the retail category, opt-in users retained 40 percent longer than opt-out audiences on iOS and 90 percent longer on Android.

Marissa Tarleton, the chief marketing officer of RetailMeNot Inc., a marketplace that connects brands and retailers to consumers, commented in the report and said that “consumers today start their shopping journey on a mobile device while most purchases still happen in-store.

“Mobile push is an opportunity to reach the right shoppers, at the right time, in the right place, with the right content,” Tarleton explained. “Growth opportunities via mobile push are centered on the importance of affinity targeting, contextual relevance and personalization efforts. By focusing on these three things, we have more engaged users, which are the most valuable to our business.”

It was also found that app users who receive any amount of notifications in their first 90 days of usage have an average retention rate nearly three times higher than retention rates for opt-out and zero-send audiences. Of all four categories analyzed in the study, retail had the lowest share of zero-send users, at 18 percent of all opt-in users.

Erin Hintz, the chief marketing officer of Urban Airship, said the “data study findings clearly show that many apps are missing out on the single biggest opportunity to improve user retention by not messaging users that have opted in, which is incredibly easy to address.”

She added, “Once the basics are tackled, apps can zero in on customer-centric engagement strategies that produce optimal messaging frequencies for their industry to multiply retention rates, as well as take advantage of new machine-learning predictive capabilities to identify users at risk of churning while there’s still time to drive preemptive action.”

For more on retail trends:

Retail Marketing Platform Ecrebo Secures $15 Million Investment

Mobile Commerce to Transform Retail From Transactional to Conversational

Bamboo Rose Partners With Council of International Fashion Designers

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