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Urban Outfitters’ timed, targeted mobile messages increase retention rate

Urban Outfitters is maximizing user engagement by sending push notifications, email and in-application messages at times when consumers are most receptive.

Intelligent Delivery, developed by marketing automation for mobile apps firm Appboy, offers an algorithm to marketers seeking to target consumers with the right message, at the right time, based on previous interactions. Urban Outfitters claims the feature has resulted in high levels of success, with over 100 percent improvement in performance.

“Given that push notifications are an important driver of most mcommerce businesses, Urban Outfitters was initially looking for a dedicated push solution, but once they started working with Appboy, they realized the potential of a strong multi-channel messaging strategy,” said Mark Ghermezian, co-founder & CEO of Appboy, New York. “Unlike many apps that face an acquisition hurdle, for UO the desire was to increase engagement outside the store by providing rich content via mobile.

“By being able to create segments, according to gender for example, and send 25 percent off coupons on grooming or beauty depending on the intended audience, or use location targeting to deliver more personalized messaging – such as a push notification to customers in cold weather states to advertise winter arrivals, Urban has seen engagement increase dramatically,” he said.

Increased retention rates
Retention rates for campaigns are much more likely to increase when the consumer is receptive to receiving communication and interested in the content being presented. Urban Outfitters revealed that its one week retention campaign directed to male Urban Outfitters members increased by 138 percent.

Both Appboy and Urban Outfitters recognize that with the average consumer engaging with 26 mobile apps each month, attention spans are limited and each message or push notification sent needs contextually relevant information to boost engagement.

“Depending on the message type, there are different methods of measuring engagement,” Mr. Ghermezian said. “To get a sense of the immediate impact of the way your customers interact with your outreach, via our Appboy Dashboard we recommend looking at clicks, opens and conversions for specific notifications.

“Bigger picture items include whether the messages are helping MAU/DAU sessions increase over time.”

Greater mobile strategy
Timed and targeted messaging is the latest tactic in Urban Outfitter’s growing mobile strategy. Earlier this month, the clothing retailer updated its app to include new filters, sorters and search functions designed to help users search for merchandise more easily (see story).

Consumers may locate products by using filters for style, price, color, size and brand and can also sort items by ratings and name.

Urban Outfitter’s brand Free People is also currently undergoing changes to its mobile Web site to boost conversion rates and page views. The revamped site will feature bigger visuals, off-screen navigation and a smoother checkout experience (see story).

However, by focusing on push notifications, Urban Outfitters is likely to send relevant, timely messages to its consumers, something that is paramount as the holiday season begins and consumers become even busier.

“In order to succeed outside the brick and mortar dynamic, brands need to learn how to personalize their messaging to create relevant experiences for their mobile audiences,” Mr. Ghermezian said. “Given the rising amount of users who rely on mobile for their purchases, it’s crucial that retailers become aware of how multi-channel messaging can nudge users to interact and engage with their brand.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York