If you have a WordPress ecommerce website, you may not yet be utilising one of the best tools for getting visitors’ attention or compelling them to action: the notification bar. In this article we unpack the many opportunities this humble yet effective web element presents.
What Is A WordPress Notification Bar?
A notification bar – also called an announcement bar, hello bar, welcome bar, banner bar, floating bar or sticky bar – is like the more polite version of a pop-up. It’s a banner, either visible when you log onto a website, or sliding onscreen when you’re on a certain part of the website or perform a particular action. Here’s an example:
It normally sits at the top of the page but can also be on the side or at the bottom. It carries a message and may invite you to perform an action. It may carry a series of messages that change in step with actions you take (see the section on free shipping, below).
Unlike a pop-up, a WordPress notification bar doesn’t obstruct your browsing. You can interact with it or close it at any time, or you can simply ignore it and continue browsing. Notification bars are effective because they’re always likely to catch your eye and you’re likely to read them, even if unconsciously. Yet they only take up about 5% of the entire page and are designed to complement, not clash with, the site design. The thing is, they’re usually “sticky”, meaning they stay where they are even when you scroll down the page, always staying in the corner of your eye. This article has some great examples.
To add notification bars to a WordPress website, a plugin must be installed, like ours: FooBar. Here are some demos of FooBar in use. A website may carry several notification bars, serving different purposes. Let’s discuss some of them.
Uses For Your WordPress Notification Bar
You’ll have interacted with cookie notices on many websites you’ve visited, often in the form of an irritating pop-up. Cookies are small text files that a website downloads to your drive in order to track your behaviour, remember things like your login details and preferences, and possibly display targeted ads to you.
Launching A New Product
What better way to highlight a new product, or a product update, then with an eye-catching notification bar with a catchy message? You can set a notification bar to stretch site-wide and sit on every page of your site, to make sure that visitors don’t miss the direct link to your featured product. This could provide a revenue-generating boost to initial sales.
Announcing A Sale
Sales are a great way to leverage holidays or special occasions, test customer demand for different products or categories, or clear overstocked items. We went into the dynamics of sales (when and how to run them) in this earlier article.
With a plugin like FooBar, you can design an attention-grabbing sale notification complete with a countdown timer. Incorporating this can add a touch of urgency to the sale message (see our next paragraph on FOMO), making visitors more likely to click through. Once the sale is running, you can adjust the timer to count down the days and hours left in the sale.
“FOMO” – the fear of missing out – is a psychological phenomenon we explored in an earlier article. It’s often used by marketers to compel consumers to cash in on an opportunity while they can – whether it’s a limited-time sale, discount, promotional coupon or free gift. You can also drive FOMO by promoting “scarcity” – meaning stating the quantity left of a given product in your store.
FOMO can also be used to dissuade customers from abandoning their trolley at checkout, perhaps by offering them a last-minute special offer or discount, if they complete their purchase (adding a countdown timer to the offer may give them the nudge they need). For all of these FOMO tactics, a customisable WordPress notification bar is the answer.
If e-mail campaigns are a valuable part of your marketing efforts, a notification bar is a great way to encourage sign-ups – perhaps in exchange for a discount or mystery free gift? Cosmetic Capital, an Australian ecommerce site selling trendy cosmetics, experimented with various tactical notification bars and popups, before striking gold: it strategically paired an e-mail sign-up prompt with the intrigue of an exclusive mystery offer – available for a limited time only (FOMO at work). The result? A 300% increase in daily leads. Read more about it here (but be ready for a bunch of both popups and notifications).
Offering Free Shipping
Should your ecommerce site implement free shipping, if it doesn’t already? On the one hand, it might increase sales. On the other, it could impact your profit margin. There are strategic ways to make free shipping work for you – and we covered them in detail in this article. Here’s an example of how this would look:
With FooBar, you can create a notification bar for your site that adds up the value of items customers add to their trolley in real time, until they have reached the minimum spend amount to qualify for free shipping. Then the notification bar changes, with an invitation to proceed to checkout. 65% of ecommerce customers say they usually check for free shipping thresholds on items they’re considering buying (Jude Akinduyo, Funnel Strategist).
Cross Selling And Up Selling
Want your customers to add more to their trolley? Besides offering free shipping for a minimum spend, you can create notification bars for certain products, which suggest complementary products customers might like to consider buying. Or you can upsell, inviting customers to view more products in the same line, at different price points. Statistics say that 10 – 30% of most e-commerce revenue is generated through upsells.
Post Engagement Courtesy Bar
When a visitor to your site performs an action, like signing up to your newsletter or completing a survey, and is rewarded with a discount or other offering, a notification bar can appear onscreen to keep it top of mind as they browse, thereby prompting them to use it. If the reminder includes a countdown timer – saying, for example, Your discount expires in 4m 56s – they’ll be motivated to act on it while they can.
Keeping Customers Informed Of Changes
Good customer service is good for customer loyalty – and it means ensuring that visitors to your site don’t miss important updates. For example, you might have to do some site maintenance from time to time, with a risk of impacting site functionality or the user experience. It’s a good idea to notify customers in advance, just in case this happens.
Driving Social Engagement
Notification bars can help you grow your brand’s social media audience. You can use them to invite customers to share products, purchases, special offers, blog articles or other content to their social media profiles (on sharing products, make sure your store has beautiful product images – here is a how-to guide for taking professional product photographs, without spending a fortune).
We hope this article has inspired you by covering some of the benefits and uses of the versatile notification bar. You’ll probably never be able to un-see them now! Ready to add some to your website? Get the FooBar plugin here. In this earlier article, we outline exactly how to add it plugin to your website and customise it for different purposes. Have fun getting creative.