When you have an online store, or a mobile app, or both, you’re likely to send your customers messages and notifications. With e-commerce, these messages are called in-app messages.
They’re powered by a third-party provider. In-app messages are a great way to notify customers of new products, special offers, or even let them know your site is undergoing maintenance.
But did you know that you can customize these messages to increase customer loyalty to your brand?
In this article, we’ll explain what in-app messages are, how they work, and how you can use them to increase customer loyalty for your online store.
What is in-app messaging?
In-app messaging is the process of sending messages to customers to inform them of certain benefits, information, or updates.
Characterized by being quite short, these in-app messages often – if not always – include a call-to-action (CTA).
In-app messages can also work as an educational feature. So, if you’re launching a new product or feature on your e-commerce website or mobile app, you can use the messages option to educate customers about a new collection, new products, or a new coupon.
In-app messages vs push notifications: What’s the difference?
Before we dive into the meat of things, let’s clarify the differences between in-app messaging and push notifications in Gameball.
Ultimately, both messages and push notifications look the same. But their functions are significantly different.
Push notifications are used to notify customers of a completed action, a product they purchased, or an update. That is, something that’s already happened.
If a customer adds a product to their cart (or removes one), they’ll get a notification of the change. Similarly, if they complete a purchase or get a cashback reward, they’ll get a notification with something like “Purchase complete! Your package is on the way!” or “Your cashback reward is ready for your next purchase.” Or “Your cashback is in! Grab it with your next purchase!”
On the other hand, in-app messages are designed to get customers to take action. They’re essentially a marketing and customer engagement tool.
The purpose of an in-app message will differ based on the campaign messaging and the action you want your customer to perform.
In the following sections, we’ll show you how and when to use in-app messages through several use cases and customer engagement ideas.
Why use in-app messages
As you can see, there are many ways to use in-app messages. But did you know you can use in-app messaging to build and increase customer engagement and loyalty?
But that’s not the only benefit. Let’s look at some of those benefits here:
In-app messaging helps you:
- Increase conversions from your marketing efforts
- Reduce cart abandonment
- Drive more sales
- Get customers to use your loyalty program more often
- Get customers to use their points
- Increase customer referrals
- Get customers to take part in challenges and earn rewards
- Increase customer retention
- Boost customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Create FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Get customers to leave ratings and/or reviews
When to use in-app messages
Before we explore the benefits of using in-app messages, let’s first clarify the top ways you can use these messages in your online store.
Here are the 6 main areas to use messages:
You can create any number of in-app messages for customers as part of your marketing campaigns. Each message or set of messages will differ based on the purpose of the campaign and the action you’d like customers to take.
So, if you’re running a referral marketing campaign, your message(s) should inform customers of the benefits they get when they refer others and have a call-to-action that takes them directly to their referrals page or referral code section.
– An upcoming sale
You may want to let customers know that you’re running a sale on a certain section of your online store or a store-wide sale. Use in-app messages to give them a heads up.
Bonus tip: Combine the in-app message and email notifications options for best results. This way, if your customer logs into your site, they’ll see the message and if they access their email first, they’ll get the notification there too.
Combining in-app messaging and email notifications serves as a reminder for customers to visit your store on a specific day, when they may not have done so otherwise.
– A flash sale
This is similar to the upcoming sale. But unlike the upcoming sale message, you can customize this message more with emojis and FOMO (fear of missing out) text.
Flash sales usually span a few days. But they offer the best deals for customers who may not have otherwise been looking to make a purchase.
– New collections
A great way to drive traffic and sales to your online store is to tell customers about new collections you’re stocking.
Most businesses have new collections coming in at the start of each season or during a specific time of the year, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Halloween.
You can use in-app messaging to notify customers about new collections ahead of time.
Bonus tip: If you’re getting a limited-edition collection or limited-stock of certain pieces, use the messages feature to notify your loyal customers first.
– Back-in-stock messages
Have you ever had customers look for a product only to find it has run out or that their size isn’t available? It can be a real bummer.
But as an e-commerce business, you can easily restock certain products.
But how do customers know that the products they were looking for are back in stock? The best way to do so is by using messages and email notifications.
This way, customers know that the products they need are available once more and you can easily start selling your new inventory.
Use in-app messages to notify customers of news and announcements.
These may include:
- New partnerships
- Site maintenance (so you may ask customers to avoid making purchases during certain hours)
- Special and annual holidays
- New collections
- Flash sale(s)
We’ve mentioned that most in-app messages come with a call-to-action. However, some announcements like partnerships or site maintenance don’t warrant a CTA. So don’t worry if you can’t think of a CTA to go with every message.
If your partnership comes with a press release or blog post, you can direct customers to it. Otherwise, don’t fret 😊
We’ll go into more detail and offer several examples of how you can use in-app messages to grow your business.
Use cases and ideas for using in-app messages to grow your business
Now that we’ve covered the what and the why, let’s see how you can use Gameball’s in-app messaging feature to grow your business.
1) Drive sales
In-app messages or pop-ups can help you drive sales. How? Use them to notify customers about new products and collections. You can also inform them of new inventory that just came in.
Using a customized pop-up message, you can direct customers to explore your new collections, and possibly buy them. Use personalization to make your connection with your customer stronger.
Here’s an example:
Here is another example of an in-app message used to boost sales.
2) Drive traffic on slow days
Anyone who has run an e-commerce business will tell you: It’s not always bunnies and rainbows. Like physical stores, there are some days where your website will see a drop in traffic.
Your analytics may help you determine if this is a regular thing, like fewer people coming to your store at the end of the month because they’re waiting for their next paycheck. Or it could be random.
But slow days have been a part of commerce since the day people started buying things.
You can use in-app messages to overcome this dilemma and attract traffic and drive sales.
Bonus tip: We recommend combining your customized in-app messages with Gameball’s challenges feature. That way, the whole experience becomes a win-win for you and your customer.
3) Get customers to sign up for your rewards program
Messages are a great way to get more sign-ups to your customer loyalty program. When a visitor, that’s someone who doesn’t have an account on your online store, visits your store, they’ll see a message telling them about your loyalty program and what’s in it for them.
You’ll find that many of the world’s best beauty loyalty programs, for example, include a special sign-up or first-order reward.
4) Ask for reviews
Here’s another idea to use in-app messages to increase customer engagement. You can automate this process, but be sure not to appear spammy or nagging-like.
Send in-app messages to customers asking them to review their recent purchases. Whether it’s through star-ratings, comments, or both.
Bonus tip: Reward customers with points for every comment or rating they leave. Maybe 10 points per rating? Or 20 points per rating and review?
The number of points will depend on the value of your points used in your rewards program.
Bonus tip 2: Use the challenges feature to entice customers to leave more reviews. That way, they get points and a shiny badge on their profile.
Though Gameball doesn’t offer a reviewing feature, you can add the Judge.Me app or any other product review app and integrate it with Gameball to boost engagement and create social proof.
5) Increase customer engagement
Another perk to using in-app messaging is boosting customer engagement on your e-commerce website, mobile app, or both.
You can include in-app messaging as part of your broader customer engagement strategy.
6) Boost your conversions
Who doesn’t want more conversions from their marketing efforts?
Use in-app messages to increase conversions.
If you’re running ads on social media or Google, use the in-app messaging feature to offer customers a one-time discount on their first purchase.
Here are other ways to boost conversions through in-app messages:
– Voucher or coupon messages: Send customers discount vouchers to complete a purchase.
– Happy hour: Message customers about ‘happy hour’ or a ‘mid-month sale’ where customers can get double points or double cashback rewards when they complete purchases during a specific time frame or on a certain day.
– First order reward: Use messages to notify first-timers and others who are browsing your site but have never bought from you about a special first-order reward. If they make their first order, they get a cashback reward or several points to use on their next purchase.
7) Reduce cart abandonment
Did you know that the average cart abandonment rate for e-commerce businesses is nearly 70%? (Ouch!)
Use Gameball’s in-app messaging feature to reduce that cart abandonment in your store.
Automate the process for customers who have one or more products in their cart for 3 to 5 days. Entice them with a 48-hour limited-time discount or a cashback reward.
For example, if you offer a 5% cashback reward, give customers the chance to earn 10% or 15% cashback if they complete their purchase in the next 48 hours.
8) Increase average order value
Average order value (AOV) is one of the most important metrics in e-commerce. Using the pop-up messaging feature can increase AOV if you offer customers a certain discount or double points if they reach a certain amount.
For example, customers can get double points if they complete a purchase for $100 in the next 24 or 48 hours. That way, if a customer has a couple of products on their wish list, they may move them to their cart and buy them to get the discount.
9) Increase customer referrals
Referral marketing is a great way to grow your customers. Couple it with in-app messaging and loyalty points and you’ve got a great concoction here!
Use the in-app messaging feature to ask customers to refer you to friends, family, and others who can benefit from your products.
Another way is to remind customers of how many more referrals they need to earn the next reward. Here’s an example:
Here’s another way to give Allison a heads up about her upcoming reward:
Another example of a thank you and an invitation to refer more people:
You can even stop at ‘loyal customer’ and see if customers will invite more people after they see that message or not.
Tips and best practices for in-app messages
Are you thinking of what your next message to customers will be?
Here are a few best practices and last-minute tips to ensure your messaging efforts are successful:
– Automate and schedule
Use Gameball to automate your messages to go out on a certain date, dates, or time. Be sure to include a call-to-action when possible and relevant.
Automate and schedule messages on special events like Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day (or any other date).
– Create action-triggered messages
Make the most of the messages feature by using action-triggered messages. These are messages that appear to the customers (are triggered) when they perform a certain action.
Let’s clarify with an example:
You can create a message that gets triggered when the ‘customer adds an item to their card but doesn’t complete the purchase.’ The customer can see a different message when they visit a specific collection.
Did a customer visit a collection you want to clear out soon? Have a message appear notifying them of an ongoing discount on this specific collection or a limited-time double cashback until Thursday.
Did a customer visit a new collection that just came in? Create a message that informs them it’s new and stocks are flying off your virtual shelves!
– Use customer segmentation
Customer segmentation is a great way to build customer loyalty and reward your top-paying and most engaged customers. You can segment customers based on criteria of your choosing and message them based on what you want them to do next.
For example, you can segment customers based on criteria like ‘recently completed a $100 purchase in the past week or month’ or ‘completed 3 challenges in 3 months’ or something broad like ‘top-spending customers,’ and so on. Then send automated messages to these segments with a special gift, challenge, or even a heads-up about an upcoming sale.
Make sure you include perks like points in the mix so that they can NOT miss this chance.
You can also use segmentation and messaging to create celebratory messages or even a thank-you message.
Here’s an example:
For customers, this looks like points coming down from the sky. It also makes them feel special!
– Personalize all the way
Customers today care about brands that care about them and appreciate them. A great way to do so is to personalize customer experiences using customized messages.
Slideshare reports that 80% of shoppers are “more likely to buy” from a store or brand that offers a personalized experience. Similarly, 63% of customers say they’ll “only engage with personalized marketing messages.” (SmartInsights)
So how can you combine messages and personalization?
The best way to do this is to use customer attributes, like their name, gender, age, or even geographical location, so that your message speaks to them personally.
Got customers in India? Send them a message congratulating them on Diwali. This would be an automated but personalized message without a CTA.
Signed a partnership with a clothing brand you’ll be featuring in your store? Send your loyal customers an automated message about the partnership with a link to the collection where they can stock up before other visitors.
This way you can:
- Inform customers about a new collection
- Boost traffic to the new collection
- Create a personalized message for loyal customers
- Spice up your loyalty offering
All with a single message!
Other attributes you can use to combine personalization and segmentation include:
- Gender (if provided by the customer)
- Age or age group
- Geographical location (country or city)
- Previous purchases (or interests)
Using previous purchases is a great way to add flavor to your customized messages. Let’s say you’re a clothing brand with several offerings from sweaters to tank tops to sneakers and boots. Your target audience includes both men and women.
You can customize messages so that people get notified about their favorite ‘type of purchase’ the moment they log in.
Here’s an example:
“Hey Jeff! Did you see our newest collection of sneakers?” Check them out here!
“Welcome back, Jeff! Our new sneakers are running out fast, but we’ve saved a few for you. Check them out before they run out!”
In-app messages like these speak to the customer personally. Adding a bit of urgency –every now and then– creates a sense of FOMO and can increase traffic and revenue.
Bonus tip: Be aware of who your target audience is. In the examples with Jeff, we assumed Jeff is a guy between the ages of 25 and 40. But if your audience includes Amelia, aged 60, you may want to tone it down a bit.
How to measure the success of your messaging campaigns
You’ve created several messaging campaigns on your online store. How do you know if they were successful?
Like any kind of marketing effort, you’ll need to measure the success of your messaging campaign(s).
Here’s how to do that:
1) Measure your CTR
With messages that include a call-to-action (CTA), you can look at your click-through-rate (CTR).
The CTR is the percentage of people who clicked your link.
2) Measure the response to your messaging campaign
Want to know if your messages are effective? See what customers are doing after you send out your message.
In other words, track customer behavior to see how impactful your messages are. And which messages are driving people to take action more than others.
Let’s say you created an automated in-app messaging campaign for Christmas. See what customers did after seeing your message.
Did they click the link? Did they take action? Did people add more products to their cart? Did the messaging campaign result in higher sales?
Compare your messaging-campaign results to the previous season when you didn’t have the campaign. Or to the previous month.
When exploring new marketing tactics and techniques, be sure to track what you’re doing and how it’s affecting your customers. It’s how you know if you’re successful or not.
Bonus tip: Keep track of your best-performing messages.
Wrapping it up
As you can see, the sky’s the limit for using Gameball’s in-app messages feature. You can get as creative as you like.
Just be sure to have only one call-to-action per message. And not to over-do it by sending too many messages on the same day.
If you’re already using Gameball, you can start creating your messages in your dashboard. Our Help Center will guide you through every step of the setup process.
Got questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below.