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Ep. 74 - Reach Out To All the Customers in Your Funnel Using Push Notifications with Felix Suellwold

Felix is the Head of Marketing and Partnerships at PushOwl. He has been part of the Shopify ecosystem since 2017 and is currently based in Bangalore, India.

Originally from Germany, he is a vivid web push evangelist joining Shopify events around the world to spread the idea of frictionless re-marketing via push. 

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [0:59] Felix and Chase talking about the pronunciation of Suellwold
  • [1:53] Felix’s background, working on cool apps
  • [2:45] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com
  • [3:14] What is a push notification?
  • [4:34] Push notifications are relatively new but they are remnants of the app surge
  • [5:25] The types of messages better suited for push notifications
  • [6:58] Sponsor: Postscript postscript.io/install
  • [7:28] Felix’s take on “SMS vs Push Notifications”
  • [9:44] Do push notifications need more data from a site visitor to work properly?
  • [11:12] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [12:00] Pushowl’s pricing compared to competitors, email, and SMS
  • [14:15] Things to consider before adding push notifications to marketing strategies
  • [16:03] The number one reason why businesses should use push notifications
  • [16:40] Coupon code HONESTECOM for a free trial of PushOwl’s Business Plan!
  • [17:39] The features of push notifications similar to email marketing

Resources:

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Transcript:

Felix Suellwold  

Build one more subscriber list that you are in control of. One more list that you can own and you can have [a] very easy [and] frictionless way to reach out to your fans [and] your subscribers.

 

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

 

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

 

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. Nothing like 2 takes in 2days. I can't get this intro right, so I'm just gonna be honest with everybody. Anyways, I am Chase from Honest  Ecommerce. Your host. 

 

Today, (laughs) we welcome to the show, Felix. Felix is coming to From PushOwl, I would say his last name, but even he told me he didn't know how to explain it to me, so I'll let him share his last name with me. But, welcome to the show. Felix, how are you doing today? 

 

Felix Suellwold  

Hey, Chase. Thanks for having me. [I'm] doing good. 

 

Chase Clymer  

All right, so how do we pronounce your German last name?

 

Felix Suellwold  

Yeah, so Germans actually say it 'Su-ll-vold' but then... I get it. It's pretty tough for the international community.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. So everybody --I don't know if you know this-- but there's an onboarding form that we do for the podcast. And he just said, "You're not gonna be able to figure it out." I was like, "Okay." (laughs) So, thanks for being honest with that. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

(laughs) It's Honest Ecommerce, right? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, exactly. All right. So let's talk about PushOwl. PushOwl is a cool app that does push notifications. So this whole episode is going to be educating people about push marketing and all that jazz which is cool because actually, I don't know much about it myself. 

 

So I'm going to be asking a bunch of questions. So before we get into that though let's talk about what you were doing before you started working with PushOwl.

 

Felix Suellwold  

So before PushOwl, I actually worked for another Shopify app called Judge.me [that is] doing product reviews. So I've been with Shopify for 2...  A bit more... Yeah, 3 years now. 

 

And before that, I was working in different software companies. I was working for metasearch engines at one point. So, I did a lot of different things. 

 

Always trying new stuff, working [at] different countries, just trying to get more experience, basically. And then I found PushOwl. And then this has been a really good journey so far. It has [been] one year now.

 

Chase Clymer  

You're going from cool app to cool app. We are fans of Judge.me over at the agency.

 

Felix Suellwold  

Oh, awesome. Good. 

 

Chase Clymer  

All right. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

We have an integration, actually, with PushOwl in Judge.me, as well. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Oh, that's cool. We can talk a bit more about that. 

 

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Chase Clymer  

For people that are just unaware. What is a push notification? How does it work? How is it different from all the other marketing tricks out there? I don't know how to really best describe it, so I'll hand it over to the expert.

 

Felix Suellwold  

(laughs) Sure. So most people, I guess, are somewhat familiar with web push notifications because it does have a high adoption rate. More and more websites are using it. So as the name says, it's "web push". 

 

So it is coming from the web browser on your mobile phone [or] on your desktop. So it's not a mobile app. It's different. You just need a browser to run it. And you don't need to install a mobile app from the App Store and such. 

 

And then the concept is maybe similar to email marketing. So you opt-in somewhere and then you receive messages. 

 

And the opt-in is happening [in] a browser front. That's something we probably all have seen. We go to a website and then there's this pop-up widget, a prompt shows up and says "Do you want to allow notifications from this website?" 

 

And then you click "Allow". And that's how you subscribe. And then afterwards, you are receiving these web push notifications with text, images, and links. So that's the basic explanation of web push.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So I feel like there was a huge push a couple of years back [that says] "Everybody needed an app." And the only thing that was actually cool about having an app is you could do these push notifications. 

 

More and more, I feel like you can get away with... If you're an Ecommerce brand, you only need your website. But if you do want that push notification feature, now it's that part of... That was a leftover from that whole app surge a few years ago. 

 

That feature, the best feature of having an app is now available for anyone that has an Ecommerce store.

 

Felix Suellwold  

Right. And it's very, very recent. It's a pretty new technology. I think Chrome introduced it in 2015. So it's still... If you think email marketing has been around for a long time, push [marketing] is still relatively new in the market. 

 

Chase Clymer  

So there are so many ways to get a hold of your customers these days. So we could hit them up with an email, you can do an SMS, which I would say is almost similar to push notifications. 

 

Where would you say push marketing falls in line as far as the types of notifications that you probably would want to use push for? What are the messages that you should probably be sending your customers through push notification? And then which ones should be reserved for other things?

 

Felix Suellwold  

I think that push notification, oftentimes, is used when you want to nudge your customers into making another purchase or nudging your subscribers with another purchase. 

 

So a good use-case is a flash sale, for example, because the web push notification would show directly on your phone or directly on the desktop. And with one click, you're back exactly where... You're back on the product page or you're back on whatever page you, as a merchant, want to send your subscribers to.

 

Or another good use case is, for example, abandoned cart reminders. So that makes it a pretty frictionless experience, because as soon as somebody leaves something in their cart, you can send them this push notification, and they receive it with one-click. They're back on the cart page. 

 

So I think whenever it has to be very frictionless, very crisp, I think that's when push notifications are very useful.

 

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By the way, we're powering our text messages with PostScript, the #1 text message marketing app for Shopify stores. Check out the show notes for a link to install PostScript for free today. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. So, I feel like push notifications might almost be a competitor for SMS in a sense. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here, but what's your opinion on that take?

 

Felix Suellwold  

I think, [at the] end of the day you need to send the right message at the right time on the right channel to the right person. So for example, the way we see [where] SMS used a lot is that... I think when people give you their phone number, they have a much higher intent. So I don't have the numbers. 

 

We don't run SMS. But I think that if you are... Your SMS subscribers are probably down the line, giving you their phone number during the checkout, etc. And web push usually happens much early in the funnel. It's [when] people enter your website and then they start subscribing so it happens relatively early. 

 

So you do have these... Your subscribers are going to be very different. I think your SMS subscribers, you can send them stuff that... I don't know. I don't know how the SMS campaigns look like. But I think they have a higher intent. 

 

While with web push, you might have more subscribers overall, but not everyone is going to buy. And [push notifications] do not have the click rates than maybe you have in SMS.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I think SMS is a little more intimate. So yeah, it's probably [for] a warmer audience. It's a little further down the funnel. I would agree with you there.

 

Felix Suellwold  

For example, something we see with... We do count... We help our merchants to figure out the best way to use push and one merchant used something interesting. 

 

They use the push audience to send them to a landing page for SMS. 

 

So he was aware that the push audience might be a little further down the road and then he brings these people to a landing page to also "cross-pollinate" his own marketing channels.

 

Chase Clymer  

No. I think that's fantastic. And it goes with the timeless best practice of "Don't rely on one channel." They're constantly evolving. 

 

So make sure that you're trying to get people on all of them. But with that being said, pick one at a time. If everything's important, nothing is important. 

 

Chase Clymer  

And then (laughs) that's how that works. I got some nerdy questions about the technology, is that okay?

 

Felix Suellwold  

(laughs)

 

Felix Suellwold  

Shoot them at me.

 

Chase Clymer  

Alrighty. So I'm on a random website. They don't know my name, they don't know my email, they don't know my phone number and they asked for push notifications. 

 

Are they gonna ask for anything else if I say yes? Or is it just [that] it makes an agreement with the browser on my phone and then I'm on your push list? How does that work?

 

Felix Suellwold  

Kind of like that. Yeah. So on a technical level --I'm trying to do my best job here explaining it-- Technically, there is a token exchange. 

 

You ask [the] browser, so web push is specific to that browser. You can exchange the token with, let's say, a server.

 

So that basically allows that specific domain to send you push notification on that specific browser. So this is where this agreement happens. And I think most push services, most web push services don't ask for anything else. They just want you to click "Allow". 

 

They might run some widgets to point you in that direction. And then you try to --over time-- collect some data with that subscriber. For example, a credit card [number]. 

 

[If] they make a purchase, then you obviously know who that person is and you can connect it with a Shopify data, for example, to segment that subscriber later on. 

 

Chase Clymer  

That's pretty cool.

 

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Chase Clymer  

Now as far as the cost goes, because there is... As far as SMS goes, SMS is probably the most expensive channel to reach out to, individually. Email is a little cheaper. How does the cost perspective look at using this technology [push notifications] to reach out to people?

 

Felix Suellwold  

So for us, as a solution provider, we have to run the servers. 

 

We have to support [a] very large scale [of data] because some customers have a huge amount of subscribers. So that's our cost. 

 

And now we then have a pricing plan. What we do is we charge by impressions. So we feel that [that] makes a lot of sense. Impressions, meaning successfully delivered push notifications. And then that's basically if you have 10,000 impressions, that's $19. So we think that's pretty straightforward and pretty affordable. 

 

And then you can upgrade your plans, etc. So I think the costs... I'm not ready to compare it to email right now. I don't have the... Most email services charge by the subscriber and that's a different metric.

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

But compared to SMS, yes. It's much, much cheaper, I think.

 

Chase Clymer  

And when you say you're charging by impressions, is that per campaign or per month?

 

Felix Suellwold  

Yeah, we do calendar months. So because there are not only campaigns where you send push notifications to everyone to the segment, but there's also automations running in the background. 

 

So [there are] a lot of different moving parts that consume impressions. So we just do this many impressions per calendar month, and then that's your plan.

 

Chase Clymer  

And now is that pretty much how it looks in the landscape with your competitors, as well? Is that a pretty standard billing system?

 

Felix Suellwold  

I've seen most competitors doing something on a subscriber base. Maybe because that's more typical in the Ecommerce landscape. 

 

Because like a lot of these CRM systems charge by subscribers. We just felt... I mean, we just observed some Ecommerce businesses send a lot of push notifications because they run, maybe, a lot of flash sales or they run a lot of automations, and some send less. So we felt just like the true value of what we do is showing push notifications. And that's why we wanted to charge for that.

 

Chase Clymer  

That makes sense. That makes sense. So where, where should I be in my journey as a merchant... What kind of traffic should I have? What kind of sale should I have before I consider adding this to my marketing stack? Where are people starting to get actual returns when using technology like this? 

 

Felix Suellwold  

To be honest, we see all kinds of merchants' onboarding. We see people who are starting out, who don't have sales yet, who are trying to just build a subscriber list. 

 

So that usually happens on the free plan. So people just try to build a subscriber list to then reach out to their store visitors. 

 

As soon as you have some sales, as soon as you start optimizing [or] tweaking your store, it comes in pretty handy because you do like abandoned cart recovery, shipping notifications, etc. 

 

And we make our money with a lot of very large enterprise clients to send a lot of campaigns who need all this segmenting and all these advanced feature sets. It's really... You can start on all levels, to be honest. It's not really something that means... You don't need to reach a certain amount of sales. 

 

Chase Clymer  

That makes sense. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

But maybe to add on this, obviously, people have to subscribe, right? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, 

 

Felix Suellwold  

If you have very little store visitors, you're not gonna see a lot of subscribers and then your list is coming pretty small. That's also the reality of whenever you need people to subscribe.

 

Chase Clymer  

And I think that goes... I think that just comes with the territory of any sort of marketing automation. All it does is it helps and it does reengage people but it needs people to re-engage. So, if your traffic is not there, it's not a silver bullet. It's not going to help. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

Absolutely yeah.

 

Chase Clymer  

Alrighty, so if you could distil it down to the number 1 reason people should be using these types of notifications, what would you say it was?

 

Felix Suellwold  

I think the number one reason is just to build one more marketing channel. Building one more subscriber list that you are in control of so you are less reliant on Facebook ads, using that for retargeting

 

And you just have one more list that you can own and you can have a very, very easy frictionless way to reach out to your fans and subscribers.

 

Chase Clymer  

That's great. And then I do know that you guys are going to offer an awesome deal to our listeners. Do you want to talk about that a bit?

 

Felix Suellwold  

Yeah, sure. Yeah, we're gonna drop a coupon code for everyone who is listening: HONESTECOM. And what that's going to do is it basically gives you 30 days of the business plan, so our paid plan for free. 

 

So independent of if you're starting out or if you have sales or if you just like --on a very high level-- tweaking your store, you can definitely try the app 30 days for free. So this is gonna give you abandoned cart reminders with rich push notifications. 

 

So that means do you get your images, etc. Shipping notifications, all those features will be included. And you will have an easy time just testing, and building a little subscriber list, and seeing how it works.

 

Chase Clymer  

Thanks so much for doing that. Is there anything that I forgot to ask you today that you think would be valuable for our listeners?

 

Felix Suellwold  

I think we covered most of all the aspects. One thing I get asked a lot --so I just want to mention it here-- is that a lot of people know email marketing so they ask us "Okay, what features are in web push already?" 

 

So if you are very sophisticated in email marketing, you probably have set up your segmentation. For example, understanding who has purchased. You want to have win-back campaigns. 

 

For example, reaching out to people who have purchased 60 days ago or longer and you want to reach people in a certain location, or people who have engaged with you, or people who pursue collection... All these things are available in web push as well, so you can build pretty sophisticated marketing campaigns actually.

 

Chase Clymer  

That's awesome to know. I can't wait to get in there and play around with it. 

 

Felix Suellwold  

Awesome. Cool. 

 

Chase Clymer  

All right. Felix, thank you so much for joining the podcast today.

 

Felix Suellwold  

Yes. Thanks, Chase for having me.

 

Chase Clymer  

I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well. 

 

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!