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Retailers are quite active in mobile: Study

March 3, 2010

dooneyOnly about 10 percent of retailers are full mobile players, with services such as a mobile-optimized application and a dedicated mobile Web site with commerce capabilities, according to Rosetta research.

This study’s objective was to determine the extent to which major retailers in the United States currently employ the mobile channel as part of their marketing mix. Rosetta looked at 98 retailers and their presence in the mobile space, the mobile services of choice and the degree to which they have embraced the mobile channel.

“Major retailers are much more active than expected in the mobile space,” said Radu Iancu, who led the study for Rosetta, New York. “Virtually all active retailers are using modern mobile marketing techniques, such as dedicated mobile Web sites and/or native applications, many in parallel with traditional, SMS based solutions.”

All of the retailers in the study have implemented one of the following: SMS/MMS based marketing program, mobile dedicated Web site, native mobile application and mobile commerce capabilities.

Virtually all retailers (except one) that have mobile dedicated services are using more than just basic text messaging based mobile marketing (mobile Web and/or mobile applications).

Target's iPhone app

Target's iPhone app

Also, 44 percent of the retailers have at least one dedicated mobile service in place (mobile application or dedicated mobile site).

About half of the retailers that have a dedicated mobile service are offering mobile commerce capabilities.

Additionally, 83 percent of retailers that have a mobile application do not include commerce capabilities in the application.

The study found that 57 percent of retailers are offering users an acceptable mobile browsing experience.

At the retail category level, department stores and sports/outdoors retailers included in the study lead the pack in mobile marketing adoption, while home and garden and grocery retailers are still behind the curve.
The study’s conclusions indicate that regardless of their business scope, retailers no longer ignore their mobile presence, and the mobile space is getting more crowded by the day.

Also, while mobile applications are still the ”talk of the town,” most retail brands do not use them as direct revenue generators allowing users to complete purchases from their mobile devices, but rather as awareness and retention tools, establishing a presence in the mobile space.

walmart1“Mobile marketing is moving out of the test phase and the gap between the active and inactive players is growing at an accelerated pace,” Mr. Iancu said.

“Accordingly, new comers have to be very active from the get-go, in order to be relevant,” he said. “In other words, the time for pure brand awareness plays is almost gone and the definition of success in the mobile space is changing significantly.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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