Since converting its email newsletters to responsive design, Richard Cohene says his company’s conversions from emails on mobile devices has increased 44%.

Cohene, vice president of marketing at Canada-based flash sale e-retailer Beyond the Rack, made the remarks while speaking at eTail East in Boston yesterday during his keynote presentation Don’t leave money on the table: Beyond the Rack’s Q4 2014 review.

Responsive design is a web design technique that automatically adapts the look of a web page or website to the device the consumer is using, eliminating the operational headaches of operating separate pages and web formats for mobile phones, tablets and computers. 

Still, according to analysis contained in the forthcoming 2016 Mobile 500, few retailers are using responsive design—at least for their web sites—although the number is growing. 54% in the upcoming 2016 Mobile 500 have separate, dedicated mobile websites, 20% use responsive design (a 109% increase from last year) and 18% dynamic serving, which is a hybrid between responsive design and a standalone website. The rest of the sites had no clear mobile-optimized site presence. For a website that uses dynamic serving, the URL the consumer sees is the same on a mobile site and desktop, but the server detects that a consumer is on a mobile device and displays different content pulled from a separate code base.

40% of Beyond the Rack’s sales that occur Monday through Friday stem from mobile devices, Cohene said. When it comes to mobile, Cohene also suggested retailers take advantage of push notifications to market to consumers who have a retailer’s app rather than fight for shoppers’ eyeballs in email inboxes, a space often cluttered with marketing messages. 


Cohene also discussed the creative methods Beyond the Rack uses to learn from bad app reviews. When a customer submits a poor mobile app review, Beyond the Rack opens a customer service ticket to look into the issue noted, Cohene said.

A show of audience hands during a panel discussion, Turning traffic into sales, found about 30% of attendees had used Apple Pay. In his presentation Cohene advised not to dismiss PayPal, which he said performs well without being more specific. “Pay Pal was a game changer,” Cohene said. “It’s a trusted payment method that offers ease of use.”

Recent studies suggest the jury is still out on Apple Pay. Only 13.1% of shoppers who have the newer Apple Inc. mobile devices that work with Apple Pay have ever tried the payment system at a store, according to a June InfoScout study. The study was based on a June survey of approximately 1,500 consumers who have an iPhone compatible with Apple Pay, made a transaction at a store that accepts Apple Pay and use one of InfoScout’s receipt-storing apps: Shoparoo, Receipt Hog, ReceiptBin or Out of Milk.

Apple Pay is Apple Inc.’s mobile payment technology that allows shoppers to tap their iPhone (6 or 6-plus) to a checkout terminal equipped with the Near Field Communication technology required to make a wireless connection with the shopper’s phone. Apple Pay also allows consumers to checkout in apps using their fingerprint. This survey, however, only measured in-store Apple Pay use. 13.1% of consumers is less than InfoScout’s March Apple Pay survey, when 15.1% of Apple Pay-enabled consumers said they tried the mobile payment method. Apple declined to comment on the survey results.


Part of the slow in-store adoption of Apple Pay could be because many stores do not have terminals equipped with NFC technology, which is required for Apple Pay. As of June 2015, about 1 million retail locations accept Apple Pay or other NFC payments, and there are about 9 million retail locations in the United States, according to Thad Peterson, a senior analyst with consulting firm Aite Group.

Chris Vitale, vice president, digital operations and e-commerce at auto parts retailer Pep Boys, noted the importance of getting senior management buy in for mobile in a session entitled Pep Boys a 360 journal of mobile. “Make sure you have a mobile champion,” Vitale said. Pep Boys was late to the mobile game creating a mobile-optimized site in 2012, he said. However, after ignoring mobile for years, it is now a strong part of its business, Vitale said. Pep Boys’ recently said more than half of online traffic stems from mobile devices. Pep Boys also recently began accepting Apple Pay at its retail locations.