What retailers think of mobile marketing

More than half of large retailers say mobile is their top priority, so why aren't they investing more?

Marketers are getting the message that serving the consumer at the mobile moment should be their top priority. So are they investing mightily in mobile marketing tech? Not as much as you might expect.

Forrester Research and Shop.org, a division of the US National Retail Federation, surveyed 71 mostly large retailers in the US to learn about their online efforts. More than half of survey respondents said mobile is their top priority, followed by omnichannel and marketing optimization.

Mobile is a good place to focus, considering that 28 percent of sales now flow through mobile devices, mostly smartphones. In fact, sales via smartphones grew an average 87 percent in 2014 from the year prior. Sales via tablets grew less quickly yet still impressive at 52 percent.

Making Money From Mobile

With mobile, retailers are targeting responsive design and mobile site optimization. The goal is to ensure marketing content is displayed effectively on smartphones and tablets. Retailers say the features and functions of a mobile website that matter most are the capability to locate stores, place orders, receive special emails, identify where products are sold, read product or store reviews, redeem coupons, among other capabilities.

What's missing in a retailer's mobile plans? Try branded mobile apps. Retailers are still developing branded mobile apps but not with the same fervor of yesteryear. Sure, some apps such as Starbucks have been blockbusters, but the majority are duds. A little more than half of retailers said apps are not a key component of their mobile strategy to consumers.

With so much riding on mobile, you'd think marketers would be opening up their wallets. But this just isn't the case. Retailers in the survey reported an average 3.1 full-time employees dedicated to mobile development. While some retailers poured seven-figure-dollar amounts into smartphone projects, half of the retailers said they invested less than US$250,000. Nearly one out of three retailers spent less than $100,000.

Related: Building your mobile marketing strategy

While the majority of retailers plan to increase their mobile budgets by at least 20 percent this year, the lack of investment dollars to date is somewhat surprising. On the other hand, there's no question that foregoing proprietary app development in lieu of mobile website optimization saves a boatload of money. In-house mobile app development and app-install campaigns targeted at fickle consumers are costly endeavors.

"One of the best insights in recent years is that solid, elegant mobile experiences that can deliver a double-digit share of sales actually don't need millions of investment dollars," says Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru in the report, The State of Retailing Online 2015: Key Metrics, Initiatives and Mobile Benchmarks.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in