Push Notifications for Visitors: Driving Retention in the Cultural Sector
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Push notifications are simple alert messages on iOS and Android devices. They can be triggered by an event from a content management platform. web-service or external API. For example, when a friend adds you on Facebook, the app sends a push notification to let you know. Push notifications are used for a whole range of purposes. They can do anything from let you know about updates for your favourite apps,to advising you about an approaching hurricane.
When it comes to museums, push notifications are usually not being used to their fullest potential.Because visitors are often tourists, some museums tend to focus on the first visit and less on repeat visits. This is one of the reasons museums don’t often use push notifications to keep in contact with local visitors. However, retention is extremely important to any organization, whether its goals are to generate profit or number of visits. Push notifications can be a great way to drive repeat visits by communicating relevant, personalized content and promotions.
There are three important ways in which mobile apps with push notifications can improve visitor retention for your museum:
One of the reasons museums exist as institutions is to inform and educate their visitors. In order to do that, museums must engage visitors by appealing to their interests as individuals and including them in the community. A push notification can let visitors know about an event starting in another part of the museum that they otherwise may not have known about. For example, a push notification at a Comic Book exhibition could advise visitors that their favourite cover artist is about to start signing autographs on the other side of the museum.
When most people visit a museum, there’s usually 1 or 2 pieces that really stick with them. Even so, only a small percentage of visitors will come back to a museum regularly. Today, mobile apps for museums have features like liking, saving, and sharing content. Armed with this information, the mobile app can suggest relevant exhibits at a later date. The visitor who saves four works from Bill Viola at the Grand Palais might very much welcome being notified that two more pieces have been added to the collection.
Last but definitely not least, push notifications can be great for suggesting products from the gift shop. Gift shops are very importantto museums, but what many people don’t realize is how much of an impact push notifications can have there. They do this by advising visitors about new products and sales promotions through personalized, highly relevant messages. For example, a fan of the piece “National Lottery” in the Mucha Museum in Prague might be disappointed to learn that the gift shop has completely sold out of the prints. Conveniently, using information from the visit such as length of time spent at an artwork, the app’s push notifications informs them that the print can be delivered directly to their home, free of shipping fees.