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Beyond the Rack debuts app to rake in holiday sales

With 85-90 percent of mobile traffic coming from iOS devices, flash retailer Beyond the Rack has rolled out an iPhone and iPad application in time for holiday shopping.

Forty-four percent of weekend and 30-35 percent of weekday sales for Beyond the Rack come from mobile, spurring the company to launch a deeper mobile experience. Beyond the Rack worked with Plastic Mobile to develop the app.

“Android is definitely in our roadmap, but we really wanted to get the iOS ones out as soon as possible because there are just so many people using those devices, right now” said Richard Cohene, marketing director at Beyond The Rack, Montreal.

“We see about 85 -90 percent of mobile traffic is iOS compared to other [operating systems], so it’s so much more market share,” he said.

“The nature of our business is very time-sensitive in that we have merchandise that sells out and is available for limited times in limited quantities, so users may not be sitting at a desktop or laptop when our sales go live, and they don’t want to miss out. Being able to offer our shopping experience on their mobile devices gave them that opportunity to buy from us whenever and wherever they want, which was the theory behind why we should do this.”

Mobile sales
Beyond the Rack’s mobile app features a couple of unique features that are developed specifically for the flash sales business model.

For example, merchandise is displayed in real time, and a countdown clock shows shoppers how much longer a product will be on sale.

There is also a customized search function that funnels down products based on price, discount or size.

Products are also broken down by categories, such as women’s, men’s and children across the top of the page.

The products can also be shared via email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Similar to other flash sale apps, notifications are a key part in how Beyond the Rack is leveraging mobile to drive daily traffic and sales. Push notifications will also be tied into the retailer’s CRM strategy.

When a consumer adds a product to their shopping bag, a clock begins counting down from 20 minutes, which is how long consumers have to checkout.

The app has a three-tap checkout option that lets consumers store all of their available payment and shopping information.

The checkout page also includes options to enter a gift card code or attach a 200-character message if the item is a gift.

Consumers can track their orders via the app and view a map that estimates how long an item will take to ship.

Beyond the Rack claims to have 9.5 million members, and the app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

The app is being promoted via social media, email and with on-site banners.

Growing market
Beyond The Rack also has a mobile site, a mobile-friendly tablet site and is in the process of launching a fully-optimized tablet site.

According to Mr. Cohene, mobile could hit 50 percent of weekend sales and more than 40 percent of weekday sales this holiday season.

The company is also betting big on mobile email with mobile and desktop-specific campaigns that are sent everyday.

Given mobile’s growing role in the past few years, retailers can expect to see a surge in mobile-generated sales this holiday.

In fact, Google predicts that 88 percent of millennials will use mobile for holiday shopping this year (see story).

“Year after year, online shopping becomes more and more popular,” said Melody Adhami, president/chief operating officer at Plastic Mobile, Toronto.

“This holiday season retailers that offer customers many channels for shopping and making purchases will see the benefits,” she said. “Beyond The Rack has done everything they can to allow better access for their customers this holiday.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York