Now we Notify

Notifications – the art of contextual messaging is getting louder and louder in the corridors of tech thinkers.

Notifications are not new, we’ve had them from the early days of ‘give us your email address to get our newsletter’ of the ’00s, to you’ve had a friend request to you’ve missed a call. This simple activity based trigger notification has received good and bad press. Yes, helps you stay on-top of your connected life, enhances a sense of belonging and increases your likelihood of spending more time and therefore adding more value to the different sites. On the down-side researchers have been advising us to turn off our notifications, simplify and prioritise your life – white sandy beaches and palm trees here we come.

So why are notifications the new now?

Two key factors. Firstly the OS of mobiles (in particular) has greatly improved enabling all apps (native and non-native) to push notifications directly through the device. The elegance of apps is becoming more and more refined with sophisticated trigger points and user control. Improved capabilities with Geo-location and behaviour based data. Secondly notifications are the ‘MS DOS’ of the offline-online integration. They can be contextual, meaningful, relevant (I use they because still many don’t use them to personalise as much as they could) and it is the first step.

For example: I’m walking down the high street in my lunch break. I have 1 hour till my next meeting so I’ve got some time. At the weekend I was looking at winter coats for sale online and I recently asked a friend on Facebook about where would be good to get a winter coat. She had told me to go to Topshop for some great deals. This is the data landscape that my digital life has captured. So as I walk past Topshop a notification pops up to say ‘would you like to look at that coat you saw’ giving re-assurance ‘you’ve got 30mins before you need to be back in the office’ and reason to ‘there is an offer on at that moment click here to get the code’.

Even me with my cynical Marketing hat on would expect a pretty high conversion rate against this.

This seamless cyborg experience still has limitations, it is overlaying a 2D experience in a 4D world – it is drawing against assumptions. For example maybe I’m looking at the coat for a gift, maybe I’ve already brought one at a different shop – there are still many pieces of the puzzle that are missing.

Another cultural shift towards this experience is that of set-up – to receive notifications customers need to accept across all products and services. There is quite a bit of heavy-lifting for the majority of users to get this sort of experience established. So is it a matter of incremental puzzle pieces being added or do we need to turn to one central solution that ticks all the boxes at the start?

This area links with Internet of Things, Internet of Self as well as hard technology like Google Glass, Graphene and more to show a glimpse of the future.

Thinkers, time to get thinking.

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