Retail marketers not making enough of mobile
Too few retailers have a solid mobile channel in place, despite the fact that 41% of retailers plan to have a transactional mobile site or application in place within the next year, according to research from the Association for Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME), the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).
The study found that while mobile commerce is still very much at the 'consideration' stage, the majority of retailers surveyed expect mobile commerce to be part of their main strategy within the next 12 months.
eDigital Research conducted the commissioned survey of 140 marketing professionals from the retail, advertising and mobile service provider sectors in the UK to better understand current attitudes, behaviours and perceived challenges to mobile commerce.
More than half (59%) of the senior-level representatives from UK retail brands that took part expected their mobile revenues to increase over the next 12 months, and 94% saw it as a real opportunity for their business.
The research highlighted a need for retailers to move faster to keep up with consumers who are already seeking out retail web sites via their mobile phones. Each month in the UK, a staggering 4.2 million consumers are visiting retailers' web sites using the mobile internet (according to figures from GSMA and comScore).
However, only 4 of the top 20 most frequently visited retailer web sites are presently optimised for the mobile channel, and only 8 of the top 20 have any kind of mobile application for smartphones such as iPhone, Blackberry or Android devices. This effectively means that many retailers could be missing out on additional revenues from 'ready and willing' mobile consumers who want to use their web sites while on the move.
While most retailers believe their mobile revenues will increase over the next few years, around 63% either make less than 1% of their total revenues via mobile, or - more worryingly - they don't even measure their mobile revenues at all, citing a lack of knowledge and expertise about the mobile platform.
Increasingly, consumers are looking for best deals, and mobile increasingly represents the most convenient tool for instant redemption in the form of coupons and loyalty clubs.
According to Alex Kozloff, mobile manager for the Internet Advertising Bureau, "For many brands, extending their presence into the mobile channel has been a daunting prospect, simply due to the new jargon, technologies and tricks of the trade that need to be understood in order to make the most of the channel. But with consumers already seeking out brands on their mobile phones it is essential that marketers ensure the mobile experience they offer is just as useful, usable and engaging as their other properties, both online and offline."
Andrew McClelland, director of operations for IMRG, concluded: "Consumers are once again driving demand for a new, convenient shopping channel, just as they did in the early days of online retailing. This time, the cultural shift required for retailers is much smaller and, in many cases, requires the optimisation of an existing web presence rather than a whole new technological development."