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44pc of retailers plan to grow mobile headcounts:

September 16, 2011

Barcode scanning is one area of mobile investment for retailers

Although mobile is still a small percentage of overall ecommerce sales, it is growing quickly and retailers are responding by investing more into the space, according to a new report from

“The State of Retailing Online 2011: Merchandising, Headcount and Global Strategies” is the second of two reports detailing the findings from a survey of online retailers conducted by Forrester Research. Retailers were asked to rate the effectiveness of a list of online retailing strategies as well as what their investment levels are for mobile this year.

Mobile tactics investment
Retailers reported that they are increasing the number of resources dedicated to the channel, with 44 percent saying they will grow their currently lean headcounts dedicated to mobile efforts.

Retailers said they currently have one or two employees dedicated to mobile.

While mobile tactics were ranked in the bottom half of effectiveness by retailers – often because they are still unproven –  the results of the survey show that mobile is still attracting relatively strong investment levels from retailers.

One of the biggest areas of investment from a mobile perspective is accessing price comparison information for a product either scanned or photographed in-store with a phone, with 32 percent of retailers saying that are investing here even though only 3 percent say this is effective.

The survey also found that 24 percent of retailers are investing in making customer ratings accessible via mobile phones while 22 percent say it is effective.

When it comes to daily deals, 22 percent find this to be an effective tactic but only 15 percent are making this an area of focus.

Other mobile tactics that retailers are looking at include storing a shopping list via mobile, with 25 percent making this an area of investment but only 7 percent saying it is effective.

Additionally, 27 percent are investing in scanning a bar code to add something to a shopping list stored on a mobile phone, with 5 percent saying this is effective and twenty-two percent said they are investing in sharing shopping lists with others via mobile and 3 percent say it is effective.

Virtual catalogs are an emerging tactic for retailers.

Tablets enable virtual catalogs to be more browsable and are a good way to supplement, or replace, print media.

While virtual catalogs have existed for some time online they have been typically regarded as ineffective and had been falling out of favor until the explosion in tablets happened with the introduction of the iPad.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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