Marketers love being able to reach out to shoppers who have downloaded their apps with push notifications about new products or sales. But those messages only reach consumers with a brand’s app who have chosen to receive those alerts.

Web-only retailer Beyond the Rack has deployed a new technology that lets it send messages to consumers who don’t have its app. And it lets the e-retailer reach consumers who are on computers as well as mobile devices.

The system works on any device with Google Inc.’s Chrome browser, and Beyond the Rack was one of the companies that participated in the beta test when Google introduced the technology in May.

Beyond the Rack first started with desktop and a month and a half later rolled out the technology on mobile devices, says Richard Cohene, vice president of marketing at the Canada-based flash sale e-retailerApple’s Safari browser offers a comparable technology, which Cohene plans to eventually use as well.

When a consumer first visits the Beyond the Rack website on the Chrome browser, a notification shows up in the corner of the screen, like a banner ad, asking the consumer if she wants to opt in to web push notifications. If she taps yes, the notification will ask her to confirm that choice, making it a double confirmation, Cohene says. If a consumer clicks she does not want to receive notifications, she is not asked again. A consumer can opt out of push notifications by right-clicking on any push message she receives and selecting the opt-out option.

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Once she is opted in, she can receive notifications from Beyond the Rack regardless of what she is doing on her device, as long as Chrome is open in the background. For example, if a consumer is writing a text message to a friend, a small notification shows up in the corner of her screen with a message from Beyond the Rack. If she clicks on that message, she is taken to that page on the Beyond the Rack site.

50% of consumers prompted to opt in do so, Cohene says. The desktop to mobile breakdown of who opts in to push notifications is about equal, Cohene says.

Of the consumers who receive browser-based alerts on desktops and mobile, on average 20% of consumers click on them and those consumers spend 26% more per visit than an average consumer, Beyond the Rack reports. On average, consumers who arrive at the retailer’s site via a web push message spend 72% more time on the site versus a consumer who comes to the site in another way. Also, in the few months after implementing push notifications for mobile repeat visits to Beyond the Rack’s mobile site increased 50%, the retailer reports.

Messages alert consumers if there is a free shipping promotion going on, or if a certain brand is featured in that day’s sale. Beyond the Rack sends no more than one message a day, and sometimes as few as three per week, depending on its promotion schedule, Cohene says. The messages are not personalized, he says.

These kind of push notifications offer the advantage that Beyond the Rack doesn’t have to fight for attention in a consumer’s email inbox, as it does when it sends marketing emails, Cohene says. He also likes to get in on early on new marketing techniques like this.

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“I like to be a first mover and not a late adopter, and our customers are definitely at the forefront of technology,” Cohene says. “If something exists in technology and our customers know about it, I want to be the first to deliver it to them.”

Mobile devices account for 52% of Beyond the Rack’s online traffic and 50% of revenue for the web-only retailer, Cohene says.

Beyond The Rack uses m-commerce technology provider Mobify to deploy this technology. It took less than a month to get started, Cohene says. The cost is a flat monthly fee regardless of the number of messages Beyond the Rack sends, he says. Overall the cost is palatable and less expensive than traditional marketing, says Cohene, who would not disclose exact figures.

Sign up for a free subscription to Mobile Strategies 360, a newsletter reporting on how businesses in all industries use mobile technologies to communicate with and market and sell to their consumers. Mobile Strategies 360 is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes Internet Retailer, a business publication on e-retailing.

 

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