Beyond the Rack: How An Online Retailer Is Using Mobile To Improve the Customer Experience

By the Editors

If you are a bargain shopper, you’ve probably heard of Beyond the Rack. The specialty retail site offers customers exclusive access to limited-time discounts on everything from clothing and accessories to electronics and home décor. If you want to save money, all you need to do is sign up. Recently, the popular e-commerce site has announced that they will be launching a dedicated tablet site to improve the customer experience. Here’s why the retailer is choosing to focus on this channel, and here’s what you can learn from their case study.

Beyond the Rack has been offering deep discounts on designer brands since they launched their website in 2009. In just five short years of being in business, the company has skyrocketed to success. In 2011, their sales topped $100 million and they’ve been growing ever since. Beyond the Rack is widely known in the retail world for their innovative business model and extraordinary deals.

In 2012, the popular e-commerce site decided it was time to take things mobile. Upon conducting an analysis of how shoppers were using their site, they found that there were high drop off rates among mobile users. After taking a deeper look at their traditional site, they found several issues with the design that were likely sources of frustration for potential customers browsing on their smartphones and tablets. Rather than simply relying on their traditional site to generate additional sales revenue, the company decided to take action.

They worked with a mobile developer to create an optimized site designed to be easily navigable for smartphone users. After launching the site, sales conversions among mobile users skyrocketed from 10% of total revenue in mid-2012 to nearly one-third by 2014.

Most recently, Beyond the Rack has revealed that they plan to focus on making connections with tablet users in the coming year. This is a smart move for the popular retailer. While recent research revealed that tablet users represent less of the site’s total traffic overall, further analysis indicated that tablet users spend nearly 25% more per transaction than the average mobile or desktop user. By shifting their focus to this channel, Beyond the Rack is hoping to attract the attention of more customers using their tablet devices to make purchases. The new website is expected to launch in the next month.

If you take a deeper look at Beyond the Rack’s target audience as compared with a typical tablet user, it becomes  clear that the retailer is focusing their mobile marketing efforts in the right place. Beyond the Rack’s core customers tend to be college-educated females in their 30’s and 40’s with a higher than average household income. Typical tablet users tend to be between 30-50 years of age with an average family income of over $75,000. The luxury online retailer has used their in-depth knowledge of their target market to direct their mobile efforts. We expect that focusing on tablet users will pay off with increased sales for Beyond the Rack.

Beyond the Rack isn’t the only retailer paying closer attention to tablet shoppers. Many of the most popular brands now offer iPad apps for customers, and more are beginning to focus on optimizing their sites for tablet devices. For example, H&M and White House Black Market have both developed dedicated tablet sites. Countless other retailers have dedicated apps that can be downloaded for tablet devices. As tablet use continues to grow, we anticipate more online retailers following suit in the coming year.

Adapting your mobile marketing strategy is critical in the year ahead. With the Pew Center for Internet Research estimating that 60% of consumers own smartphones and a third own tablets, mobile devices are increasingly important for retail users. Following Beyond the Rack’s example, businesses should look closely at both their core audience and their existing conversion funnel. Finding opportunities to improve the mobile experience and gaps in the conversion process have a dramatic impact on company’s bottom lines.

Are your customers using their tablets to make purchases from your site?