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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in