Automated Push Notifications

Message Flows provides automated push notification sequences that allow merchants to engage with consumers in personalized, context-relevant ways.

My role

I led the design of end-to-end experience with processes starting from user journey mapping, to creating an entirely new framework, to working with engineers to polish to the final product.


1 Product designer,
1 Product manager,
1 Program manager,
2 User research,
6 Engineers




Mar 2021–Jun 2021
(4 months)


Retaining a strong customer base is one of the top factors into establishing a successful ecommerce business. In order to capture their audience, merchants commonly use marketing automation services.

The problem

Merchants were frustrated on the limited capabilities inside the push notifications center

Merchants saw a clear value in sending push notifications as it increased overall consumer engagement. However, research informed us that there were a few underlying problems that often led to their dissatisfaction with the product:

  1. The process to send push notifications was laborious and manual for merchants
  2. Merchants could only send push notifications to their entire customer base with the same messaging
  3. The inability to deep-link were lost opportunities for the merchants to convert consumers to take action on specific pages
  4. Only showing the number of subscribers was not informative enough to gain insights from
Push Notification feature

The solution

Tap into the push notifications automation space with a suite of prebuilt templates

Our team built a discrete push notifications automation feature where the merchants are able to segment their push notifications and target different consumer groups with personalized messages. This creates a strong retention framework which is vital to any ecommerce business.

The goal & Mission statement

Build an MVP for the beta version of Message Flows

User journey mapping

Paring down to the essential user journey

I identified a set of user scenarios ranging from happy path to unhappy path, and focused on the middle ground path that I predicted would have the broadest application. I analyzed user thoughts and opportunities based on the actions taken along the user journey. I came out of the exercise with a few objectives to be applied across the feature.

User journey mapping

The approach

I started my design process by going through the merchant experience with creating their own message flow from scratch. During this process, I kept referring back to key objectives that came out of the user research and the user journey mapping exercise.

Prebuilt templates to trigger push

I designed and curated 6 templates inside the landing page. For each template, I gave a theme color along with a tagline in order to create excitement and motivate them to take action. The flow-builder page is auto-populated from the get go to jump start a user’s activation.

Adding filters to target different consumer groups

I designed the functionality to add filters inside ‘trigger step’—a set of actions that trigger the consumers to opt into message flows. This allows merchants to target specific consumers and diversify strategies around push notifications.

Trigger step – adding filters

Personalized and context relevant push notifications to better engage with consumers

I surfaced the icon inside of a push notification component to be read as ‘variables’—a list of variable properties that a user could insert inside of their message. Upon clicking on a variable, I opted to reflexively open a dismissible popover where the user is prompted to insert variable fallbacks. This design pattern could further prevent merchants from sending error messages inside their push notifications.

Push notification step – adding variables

Deeplink to improve the consumer app experience

Previously, consumers were always sent to land on the homepage when opening the push notification. Instead, merchants wanted their push notifications to be contextually relevant on a functional level. I enhanced the experience by defaulting the destination to the particular page set by the template where consumers are encouraged to re-engage, thus increasing the chance to convert.

Push notification step – choosing destination

Data analytics to show the push notifications performance

Once the merchant activates the message flow, the template component will be updated to display the top data analytics related to push notifications performance. Merchants are able to take the performance as an insight and improve their business.

User research

In-depth usability testing

In order to optimize overall experience and the UI, we conducted usability testing with the same 6 participants that we’ve interviewed during the initial research sessions. We guided them through the flow from when they land on the entry page, to the flow-builder page, to turning on the flow, and to coming back to the entry page.

We received positive reactions overall with an average rating of 8.6/10 for the feature’s value. Many merchants said that the feature could be a game changer. They unanimously called out that the interfaces used throughout made the entire experience easy and effortless.

“This is exactly what we’ve been looking for our app.”

Merchant @ Buce Plants

“Message Flows has the potential to change how we use Tapcart as a marketing platform.”

Merchant @ Pusheen

Merchants reacted to a few areas differently than how we expected. Some of them still wanted to be able to see the aggregated analytics of total push notifications performance. This led me to add in ‘Top summary’ where we surface the desired metrics.

Copy ‘Activate flow’ was misleading when hovering over a template card, and they were worried if clicking on it would activate the flow immediately without being able to customize the flow in the builder page. I updated the copy to ‘Get started’ to mitigate the confusion.

Iterated design


Tapcart’s leadership has decided to take a pause on the feature for 2022, so it hasn’t gone live yet. However, going through the project I went through a lot of design challenges where I got the opportunity to learn to serve our users better.

I would like to continue to iterate on the templates and potentially adopt new templates that merchants need. In addition, we need to observe how common it is for the merchants to create more than one message flow for each template. Our expectation is that it would be quite rare; however if the assumption breaks down, I would love to iterate the product overall to be suited for the multiple message flows per each template.