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Retailers could increase engagement 85pc via mobile site optimization: study

November 16, 2010

Some retailers are missing opportunities that the mobile medium provides

Some retailers are missing opportunities that the mobile medium provides

Web retailers could increase consumer engagement 85 percent by having a mobile-specific Web site, according to a report by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research Inc.

The partners’ Mobile Omnibus Survey found that nearly one in two consumers are more likely to do business with a retail store if the store has a mobile Web site. The survey was conducted Oct. 4–10 among 1,000 respondents representative of the United States population.

“We think the key finding is that retailers have an amazing opportunity to engage consumers on the mobile Web, and to date very few are taking advantage of it,” said Dan Flanagan, managing partner at Brand Anywhere, San Diego, CA. “The consumer demand is there—one in two expressing the preference to shop with a mobile Web-enabled retailer is huge.

“The most surprising finding was the lack of top online retailers who have a site formatted for the mobile Web,” he said. “If you put that into the context of consumers saying they would increase engagement with those retailers by 85 percent if they had a mobile site, increasing average site visits from 3.5 to 6.5 per month, it is even more surprising.

“Coming in a close second are the number of online retailers delivering Adobe Flash to iPads.”

Luth Research helps companies collect and analyze the opinions that drive their business. Luth’s research panel includes more than 3 million respondents worldwide.

Luth is the official research partner for the Mobile Marketing Association.

Brand Anywhere is a mobile agency that helps traditional agencies sell mobile marketing services to their clients.

Retailers take note
Key findings of the report include:

● 51 percent of consumers more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific Web sites

● 4.8 percent of U.S. retailers have mobile-specific Web sites

● 22.8 percent of the top retail Web sites ranked by Alexa have mobile-specific Web sites

● Web retailers could increase consumer engagement by 85 percent with a mobile-specific Web site

A significant gap has emerged between the number of retailers who have mobile Web sites and the consumers who want to shop on mobile sites, according to Brand Anywhere. This gap varies greatly across different retail categories.

The Brand Anywhere Mobile Indexer is an application that looks at web pages on 10 devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Droid, SonyPSP, and BlackBerry Bold.

Approximately 7,000 companies representative of U.S. retailers were indexed.

The Brand Anywhere Mobile Indexer also logs which retailers show Flash to mobile devices.

According to Luth Research, 45 percent of Android users cannot see Flash because they have not installed the Android 2.2 upgrade.

Additionally, nearly all iPhones, iPads, and iPods do not support Flash. Retailers who show Flash to these devices are surrendering this point of influence to their competitors.

Key Flash statistics:

● 20.8 percent of all U.S. retailers show Flash to iPhones

● 44 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 500 show Flash to iPads

● 36 percent of the Alexa Top 500 Shopping sites show Flash to iPads

Mr. Flanegan said that the research indicates that consumers stand ready to reward retailers who provide a good mobile Web experience.

This is especially true in high-ticket categories such as automotive where consumers spend more time researching and comparing products prior to making the decision to purchase.

“Consumers are making more of their purchase decisions based on information they obtain on their mobile device, pure and simple,” Mr. Flanegan said. “Given the numbers we have seen, there is a window of opportunity for brands and retailers to embrace mobile and gain a competitive advantage—their consumers are asking for it.

Luth and Brand Anywhere asked consumers to rank the information they wanted from retailers on their phone.

Ways to save money—coupons and special offers—came in first, followed by product pricing and then store location.

The report also found that higher-priced product categories such as automotive indexed especially high with consumers’ need for a mobile experience. 

“Clearly we are using our phones to make purchase decisions, save money and comparison shop,” Mr. Flanegan said. “The state of the economy has people using their phones as a research tool.

“As a retailer, if your promotions, prices and locations are available in mobile, you have a better chance of engaging potential customers, period,” he said.

Final Take

Supply & Demand of the Mobile Web: Retail from Brand Anywhere on Vimeo.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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