Will Web Push Notifications Replace the Need for App?
Now that the latest iOS versions support Web Push Notifications, where does that leave App?
We think it’s great that web experiences continue to be enhanced on mobile. Mobile is the preferred channel for many and push is a great way to communicate with your users. Poq truly believes that web should be fully optimized for mobile and adding web push is certainly another step forward, but is this something Native App should feel threatened about? In short, no!
Push is only one item on the App menu
Web push is a welcome new channel for consumers, who can benefit from receiving push notifications around events like flash sales. It’s also a welcome new channel for brands who can leverage it to boost conversions through automated notifications at specific points during the customer journey e.g. abandoned baskets. However, push notifications are only one feature of what an App offers. Web push will suit smaller retailers who probably aren’t ready for a mobile App yet, but for larger brands then there is no substitute for the convenience, engagement and ROI that a Native App brings.
App reaches more users with more opt-ins
It is important to note that a brand still needs to convince their user to opt-in to push notifications before they start receiving them, but with Native App this can be done as part of the onboarding journey, giving the brand the opportunity to pitch why push notifications will benefit the customer. It’s extremely important to note that the opt-in rate for Mobile App users is far higher than web users. In a survey by Emarsys, iOS App users had a 43.9% opt-in rate. In comparison, only 10% of web users opted in!
Apps send push when and how users want
Native Apps also have the ability to empower the user to craft the experience they want through functionality like preference centres, where they can choose what type of notifications they want to receive, taking them beyond just discounts, sales etc. This gives the user a much richer experience than the black or white opt-in/opt-out choice faced by those who can only receive web push notifications, and ultimately increases brand loyalty through a stronger relationship. Having the ability (and new channel) to communicate with someone is great but you must take careful and respectful consideration of what that communication should be, given the user has the ability to break that communication channel at any time. Thankfully, App facilitates this consideration
Apps offer ease of use
There is also ease of use to consider, one of the reasons why Consumers Spent Nearly 110 Billion Hours in Shopping Apps in 2022. App gives a persistent login experience keeping that communication channel always open, in comparison to web, where more effort is required from the user. They have to bookmark the website on the phone home screen, so you have to ensure that they are getting enough value to encourage them to do that. Also, what happens when they are logged out of the website?
In summary, we love web push notifications and believe that it’s great news that mobile web continues to be optimized, but you have to seriously consider the purpose of each channel. Web is not a replacement for App, just as App is not a replacement for web, and we aren’t the only ones who think this. Check out our panel discussion recording where Igor Faletski, VP Product – Commerce at Salesforce states “web and Apps are like yin and yang”. You need to offer customers both channels to seriously realise your full digital revenue potential and in these challenging times, retailers are in danger of leaving new revenue opportunities on the table if they don’t offer their customers an App channel.