Push notifications are a style of Internet-based communication where the request for a given transaction is initiated by a central server. It is contrasted with pull, where the request for the transmission of information is initiated by the receiver client app.
Push notification services allow to propagate small messages to devices (smartphones, tablets and computers) by applications and apps registered to receive those notifications. Each device establishes an accredited and encrypted IP connection with the service and receives notifications over a persistent connection.
Brands can connect with push notification services through a persistent and secure channel while monitoring incoming data intended for their digital customer experience app. When new data for their app arrives, the brand prepares and sends a notification through the channel to push notification services, which deliver the notification to the target device.
Push notifications not new: web conferencing and instant messaging are typical examples of push services. Email can also be push: The SMTP protocol is a push protocol. However, the last step — from mail server to your smartphone, tablet or computer — typically uses a pull protocol like POP3 or IMAP.
Nevertheless, as smartphone and tablet growth continues to accelerate, push notifications continue to grow in importance as a channel for apps to communicate with and re-engage users.
In the Age of Customer we live in, where markets have become conversations and customers are the storytellers, push notifications are the most effective way for brands to suggest behaviors and trigger actions: when customers are at the right place (i.e. close to one of our stores), in the right time (i.e. when we have a few people in our store and so plenty of potential attention time from our store employees), with the right piece of information (i.e. a promo or instant sale).
As location and microlocation-based targeting allows for increased relevancy, with customers more likely to tap a push notification applicable to their location, digital customer experience apps can and should be used to increase both digital and in-store sales and become part of the traditional marketing mix.
Smartphones are means to connect and stay engaged with customers during the entire shopping process, both going mobile-first in any e-commerce initiative, and from pre-store to in-store information and promotion and drive-to-purchase experiences.
Once a customer leaves a store, the mobile engagement does not stop there, as building a post-store experience and maintaining the customer engaged is crucial to building brand loyalty.
By taking advantage of push notifications (also in graphics on Apple iOS since 9-9), brands can and should keep on building long-lasting relationships with customers through retargeting, loyalty programs with gamification, inbound marketing and a strong mobile-first customer service.
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