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Frank & Oak drives app engagement, sales with targeted push notifications

In March, online men’s apparel retailer Frank & Oak began using a way to segment and personalize the push notifications it delivers inside its mobile application, helping it to drive sales and sign-ups more consistently throughout the month.

A key learning since Frank & Oak implemented Taplytics’ new Smart Push service is that the performance of push notifications drops significantly when they go out to 20,000 or more app users. More specifically, reaching out to customers during down periods with relevant messages has proven to be a success for the retailer.

“Smart Push has enabled us to connect with our customers on a more regular basis, and in a more engaging way,” said Ethan Song, co-founder and CEO at Frank & Oak. “We’ve also been able to really target and personalize our push communications, and that’s helped us prompt customers to take action when they might not otherwise.

“For instance, given the nature of our business, we tend to see a spike in purchases every time we release a new collection,” he said. “We’re using Smart Push to reach customers during other parts of the buying cycle by reaching out to them with relevant promotions that come with a sense of immediacy, thereby driving sales and sign-ups consistently throughout the month.”

App marketing
Push notifications can be an important way for retailers to engage with customers who have downloaded their app.

However, as with email, the messages can quickly start to feel like spam to users if they are not personalized and relevant. The danger in sending too many overly general push notifications is that recipients will begin to ignore them, or worse, remove the app.

With this in mind, Frank & Oak is taking a more targeted approach based on where recipients are located, with messages also including a relevant deeplink.

We used Smart Push for a series of ‘last chance’ campaigns that were some of our highest performing to date,” Mr. Song said. “The Smart Push messages were targeted specifically to customers who live in a region where we have a physical store, such as Toronto, and included a call to action and discount code.

“Our strategy centered on three components that helped us create urgency and focus in the campaign,” he said. “The first was targeted delivery with a relevant deeplink to maintain context, the second was a focused message that implied urgency, and the last was a pertinent offer to drive engagement and sales.

“These three worked dynamically together to show our customers that we’re thinking about them as individuals and delivering something of real value.”

Personalization is key
Smart Push, which was introduced by Taplytics in March, enables app marketers to segment users in a number of ways. Marketers can also personalize the message down to the individual level, such as sending discounts to users based on the items they have browsed within an app.

The service can also be used to A/B test messages, delivery times and other mobile campaign variants to see exactly which elements are working and which need to be adjusted to spark engagement.

The use of targeted push notifications is the latest example of how Frank & Oak continues to push it mobile strategy forward.

Earlier this year, the retailer rolled out new digital ads that allow users to purchase through the video content on mobile devices (see story).

“It may be the marketing buzzword of the moment, but I will say that personalization is the key to a successful push messaging campaign,” Mr. Song said. “The batch-and-blast approach that marketers used to take with email completely falls flat in the highly sensitive mobile realm where you’re communicating with a device in someone’s hand or on their wrist.

“Our messages are very targeted and we’re segmenting our customer base to a greater degree to reach even greater heights of personalization,” he said. “If you look at our recent top-performing push campaigns, they’ve gone out to fewer than 5,000 users.

“As soon as you start sending the same messages to 20,000 or more people, you see a drastic dip in performance.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York