In a session last week at the eTail East conference in Boston, Richard Cohene, director of marketing at Beyond the Rack (BTR), a private shopping club that sells designer apparel, footwear and accessories, detailed the brand’s mobile strategy as well as offered tips to those in attendance on how they can best capitalize on the fast-growing sales and marketing channel.
Mobile has changed the world we live in, Cohene declared, adding that close to 50 percent of BTR’s business on Monday through Friday occurs on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Here’s a step-by-step guide to how BTR is using mobile to grow its business:
Step No. 1: Build a mobile site. Seems obvious, right? BTR enlisted the help of Mobify for its mobile site, which features a three-click checkout for members. Step 1a is to build a tablet-optimized site, Cohene said.
Step No. 2: Implement responsive design emails. Sixty percent of BTR’s revenue is generated via its email program, Cohene said. All of the retailer’s emails, from product emails to customer service emails to order confirmation emails and more, are optimized to be read on mobile devices. By using responsive design for its emails, BTR has seen its clickthrough rate increase by 18 percent.
Step No. 3: To build or not build apps … we did. Cohene cited the following advantages of having a mobile app:
- user experience that’s unique to yourself;
- ability to send push notifications (to opted-in users), which is cheaper than sending emails and they see much higher open rates;
- customers that have downloaded your app want to hear from you; and
- permanent branding (i.e., your logo) on customers’ mobile devices.
Tips for Mobile Commerce
Cohene offered some tips on how retailers can improve their mobile commerce efforts:
1. Control your reviews in the App Store. If we get a thumbs up, we send the review to the App Store, Cohene said. If we get a thumbs down, we send out a support ticket to see if we can fix their problem.
2. Use smart banners — and customize them.
3. Accept PayPal. This has been a game changer for BTR, Cohene said, noting that 25 percent of BTR customers transacting via mobile use PayPal. There’s an ease and trust factor with PayPal, Cohene said.
Looking to the Future
Here are the mobile trends that BTR is focusing its attention on going forward:
- wearables, particularly the Apple Watch;
- shift in iOS dominance vs. Android;
- the new lineup of features that will be available with the soon-to-be-released iOS 9 update; and
- keeping ahead of the mobile wave — we don’t want to be last to the party on Apple Pay or wearables, Cohene said.
Related story: Top E-Commerce Trends at eTail East