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How Beyond the Rack’s retail app eclipsed its mobile site

PALM DESERT, CA – A Beyond the Rack executive at eTail West 2016 revealed that the online discount retailer’s mobile application saw higher conversion rates, with members becoming 10 percent more valuable post-download.

During the keynote session, “Don’t Leave Money On The Table: Beyond The Rack’s Mobile Review,” the executive discussed his brand’s journey to a responsive design mobile site, which was prompted by the discovery that consumers spend approximately 20 minutes during each browsing session. Additionally, rolling out a mobile app proved to be highly effective for Beyond the Rack, as apps contain several commerce-friendly features that mobile sites are currently unable to provide.

“The UI has to be slick, because when someone spends 20 minutes shopping on your site, it can’t be a pain,” said Richard Cohene, vice president of marketing at Beyond the Rack. “Everything has to be clean: no extra copy, no extra pixels.”

Pushing for responsive design
As the industrialization of the Internet of Things continues to occur, brands and retailers must clamor to keep up with the influx of mobile traffic stemming from on-the-go consumers.

“Things are moving two or three times faster than they did in years past,” Mr. Cohene said. “It’s our jobs to stay relentless.”

Beyond the Rack, a private members’ shopping club that offers discounts on name-brand items, sought to revamp its previous mobile site to better cater to customers.

One area of the revamp focused on removing extraneous copy and highlighting product imagery. The first responsive design attempt increased click-through rates by 18 percent. A second try ensured that huge graphics were the main focus of the emails and the new site, which resulted in a CTR rate increase of 44 percent.

However, while the mobile responsive site was instrumental in driving more sales, the user experience is even more enhanced on an app, as consumers do not have to deal with the nuances of browsers such as Chrome or Safari.

“If you sell stuff on the Internet, you need to have an app,” Mr. Cohene said.

App advantages
When Beyond the Rack first launched its eponymous mobile app, the brand saw a higher conversion rate in session among shoppers. Also, individuals who were already members of the shopping site and downloaded the app were 10 percent more valuable post-download, proving apps’ abilities to bolster loyalty.

Mr. Cohene believes that mobile apps offer several major advantages over their site counterparts. Marketers can leverage apps to send out push notifications to user who opt in, an action that is not currently widely available on the Web.

Branding is also easier with the help of apps. Consumers can easily spot the corresponding brand logo on their smartphone screens and shop products within seconds, instead of going through Google search or typing information into a mobile browser.

Mr. Cohene predicted that apps are going to go beyond mobile one day, potentially appearing on Apple TV and desktop.

Additional app pluses are the ability to deep-link from emails and customize smart banners.

Beyond the Rack also drums up its in-app reviews by sending a prompt to customers post-purchase, asking them to rate their experience by clicking on a smiley face or a sad face emoji. Choosing the smiley face will bring users to the App Store, where they may leave a review, while the sad face will bring them to a ticket where they can describe what went wrong.

Perhaps most importantly, apps can integrate with mobile wallets and offer consumers a plethora of payment choices.

“I don’t believe in monogamy when it comes to payment processors,” Mr. Cohene said.