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Beyond the Rack exec: PayPal still has a strong following

NEW YORK – A Beyond the Rack executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015 discussed several key advances in the retailer’s strategy that have driven results on mobile, including responsive design, mobile-optimized emails and offering PayPal.

During the session, Beyond the Rack: Behind the Retailer’s 360-Degree Strategy, the executive pointed to mobile payments as an area that is quickly evolving. While Apple Pay is growing and the focus of a lot attention, the executive said PayPal is unique in that it boasts an affluent customer base that has significant trust in it.

“PayPal’s biggest threat is Apple Pay and Android,” Richard Cohene, director of marketing at Beyond the Rack. “I know that if something goes wrong with PayPal, the user is protected – I don’t think Apple has made that pivot yet.

“Because Apple Pay doesn’t have that insurance policy yet, PayPal is still going to have a following,” he said.

Mobile Marketer organized the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015.

Big day
When Beyond the Rack first deployed PayPal, it accounted for 12 percent of revenue in less than a day. This meant a significant number of customers who already had their credit card information on file with the retailer had to override that information so they could pay with PayPal.

A year later, PayPal accounts for 25 percent of the retailer’s revenue.

The day that PayPal launched for Beyond the Rack was also the retailer’s single biggest day for first-time transactions from consumers who were already on file, which Mr. Cohene attributed to an email blast from PayPal to its users in Canada.

Beyond the Rack is a marketplace where brands and consumers meet for a short period of time, with shoppers hopefully getting a deal on something they wanted to buy. Deals are available for a limited-time or until merchandise runs out.

Mobile options
The retailer sees between 45 and 50 percent of its revenue coming from mobile between Monday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, up to 60 percent of revenue is coming from mobile, including the Web, apps, tablet and apps.

One of the first things that retailers need to think about on mobile is building the best mobile Web site they can build without taking a cookie-cutter approach.

Responsive design is one way for retailers to ensure they have the best mobile Web experience. When Beyond the Rack updated the site with responsive design, it increased clicks by 18 percent, translating to more revenue.

The executive also recommends not overlooking tablets as the user experience so different from desktop.

Optimizing email
Retailers also need to optimize their emails for mobile devices. While many may be doing this for their big email campaigns, Mr. Cohene recommends taking an inventory of every single email that is sent out, including transactional and customer service emails.

Beyond the Rack sees 60 percent of its emails opened on mobile devices.

A strong mobile experience requires maximizing the space with full-width images and the elimination of big gutters. However, a lot of retailers still fail to maximize this screen space on mobile, per Mr. Cohene.

When Beyond the Rack introduced full-width images and overlaid Shop Now buttons for email, it saw a 44 percent increase in clicks on its daily emails.

In terms of the debate over whether or not to have a mobile app, Mr. Cohene is in favor of apps.

Apps offer other benefits such as the ability to do push notifications, which offer a different way to engage consumers. With push notifications, retailers can push customers back into their app with content that is almost as personal as a text message.

Apps also offer a branding opportunity thanks to the app icon that lives on the home screen. This means that every time consumers are looking at their phone, they will see a retailer’s app even if they do not open it.

There are key strategies for driving app downloads, such as smart banner technology. When consumers are on Beyond the Rack’s mobile Web site, a banner appears at the top encouraging them to download the app if they do not already have it on their phone or to open the app  if they have already downloaded it.

The day that Beyond the Rack activated smart banner technology, it saw a significant spike in downloads.

Apps are important because users can be among retailers’ most valuable customers.

Beyond the Rack has found that users who start on the Web and then download the app are worth 10 percent more, with higher revenue per session.

“Go big, build it and they will download it,” Mr. Cohene said. “Mobile apps are better than anything else that is out there. Period.

“If you build a mobile Web site, you are restricted by Safari, by Chrome, by browser behaviors they requires,” he said. “When you have a mobile app, you get carte blanche, the user experience can be exactly as you wish.”

“By default, your conversion rate should be better, you should be able to extract more revenue per visit.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York