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Wanelo launches push notifications for sale items

Wanelo also has begun accepting direct product feeds from retailers, which it prioritizes on its site with the knowledge that the data is accurate. Retailers can input each product individually to send to Wanelo, or they can use the same feed that they send to Google Shopping, for example.

“For any of these retailers, when a product goes on sale, we can send a push notification to any of the people who have saved that product in their profile,” said Sean Flannagan, vice president of product development at Wanelo. “It’s very early, but we want to always find new ways to get sales information to users.”

Flannagan spoke last week at a session called “Reorganizing Shopping Around People: How to Communicate, Market and Sell to the Mobile Consumer” at the Mobile Summit at eTail East in Philadelphia.

Customer demand
Wanelo started sending out sales push notifications in mid-July in response to demand from users. It is currently sending hundreds of thousands of such notifications per day.

The social commerce site, which generates 90 percent of its traffic via mobile devices, sends the notifications as a call to action for users to come back to the app and complete a purchase. Products on sale are promoted via push notifications to users who have expressed interest in receiving sales alerts on products they’ve saved.

The sales alerts are live with retailers who have submitted their product data feeds to Wanelo.

The open rates for the sale push notifications are among Wanelo’s highest, relative to the other push notifications it sends, the company said.

“We’re taking this as a strong signal that our users are interested in this type of information, so we’re experimenting with more ways to get sales information to users,” Mr. Flannagan said. “For example, the latest version of our Android app, released just a few days ago, allows users to filter search results and stores by what’s on sale, and it features an On Sale Now feed of products that we know just went on sale.”


All of Wanelo’s push notifications are created internally. When items users have saved go on sale, Wanelo sends a message saying, “SALE alert! An item you saved just went on sale.”

When users click the push notification, it brings them directly to the product on Wanelo, which a user can then purchase with one click.

Leveraging apps
In an other focus of his talk at eTail East 2014, Mr. Flannagan said mobile applications and the mobile web should work hand in hand for retailers.

Even though building good apps is challenging, and users tend not to use most apps over and over, retailers should still focus on developing them as a primary vehicle for interaction with their customers, Mr. Flannagan said. The goal should be to use the mobile app to drive users to the product pages.

Once shoppers arrive on the product pages, they should have a rich discovery experience that allows them to explore related products. However, retailers need to be cautious about not filling the mobile Web page with too much information.

He cited Urban Outfitters as a company that does a good job with its app by keeping users engaged and sending them to the mobile Web site.

“I would suggest optimizing for a world of apps,” he said. “People use them to get to the mobile Web site, and to your mobile web product pages. Make your mobile pages are fast and scrollable.”

He pointed out that a lot of Web sites do not work well on mobile, including Restoration Hardware.

“We send them a lot of traffic, and lot of that traffic is from mobile, but their site is not optimized for mobile,” Mr. Flannagan said.

He also said he believes mobile Web sites should be responsively designed, noting that Google recommends responsive design.

“The number-one reason is this is what Google wants and Google recommends, and if you care about SEO, you should listen to what Google recommends,” Mr. Flannagan said, referring to search engine optimization.

He said that many Wanelo users are posting products to their pages using mobile devices and then returning to a desktop Web site later to purchase the product. This works best if responsive design is used.

He said the most important consideration when implementing responsive design is the speed at which the pages load. Sites should load within one or two seconds, ideally.

Removing non-essential information helps make these site load more quickly, Mr. Flannagan said.

The H&M app for iOS

He cited H&M’s mobile site as a good example. The mobile site keeps extraneous information to a minimum, showing only a product image and the price, which loads quickly on a smartphone.

H&M also uses a three-column grid, which Flannagan said Wanelo also finds very effective. It also shows related products beneath the main product once users click through, which keeps users engaged.

“Ideally they should continue to go down this rabbit hole of product discovery,” Mr. Flannagan said.

Final Take

Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York