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One in five retailers have fully-realized mobile strategies: study

June 30, 2010


Mobile commerce is increasingly seeing integration into cross-channel campaigns.

Three-quarters of all retailers have plans for engaging consumers in the mobile space, according to a report by Forrester Research Inc.

Forrester surveyed 109 major retailers as part of the “State of Retail Online: Marketing, Social Commerce and Mobile Report” – conducted in partnership with – and found that 74 percent already had a mobile strategy or had plans for developing one. The report also found that one in five retailers already had fully realized mobile strategies.

“The key finding is that there is a majority of retailers that are pursuing mobile strategies and making investments in mobile as part of their digital retail strategy,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of, Washington. “I knew mobile was hot, and we’re hearing a lot of interest from retailers in this topic, but to see that three-quarters are already going down the path of developing a mobile strategy was an impressive amount of companies.”

Cambridge, MA-based Forrester is an independent research firm that advises businesses in the areas of proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events and peer-to-peer executive programs. is the digital division of the National Retail Federation. It claims that among its 700 members are the 10 largest retailers in the United States.

Report findings
In addition to the news that three-quarters of all retailers have mobile plans underway, the report also detailed a number of other key findings.

The report noted that companies looking to go mobile are doing so as part of cross-channel initiatives.

Content that supports the in-store experience is particularly popular, per

“We’re seeing that making product information available, particularly ratings and reviews, is on the rise,” Mr. Silverman said. “Making coupons available is on the rise as well.”

Additionally, while the vast majority of companies have mobile ambitions, the degree to which they pursue plans in the mobile space varies substantially.

Retailers responded that, on average, they are spending $170,000 on mobile Web sites this year.

However, the biggest multichannel retailers are spending significantly more – several times that amount – while small online-only retailers are investing much less than average.

The biggest spends are on already-popular mobile marketing tactics such as paid search (which accounts for 40 percent of mobile marketing budgets), email and affiliate marketing.

Eighty percent of retailers who responded to the survey reported that they are using social media strategies to try out new ideas and review their potential.

In terms of returns, retailers are reporting that mobile-optimized Web sites account for about 3 percent of overall site traffic and 2 percent of total revenue.

The ROI potential of social media marketing remains unclear.

Twenty eight percent of respondents said that social marketing helped grow their businesses, but there is little data on direct sales from social marketing tactics.

Recommendations for retailers
For marketers, it is important to carefully consider the mobile options available before deciding on a definite approach, per

“My recommendation would be to look at the wide variety of mobile apps, from helping customers find stores on the go, to allowing them to buy things on their phone – or just having a mobile-enabled Web site,” Mr. Silverman said. “And then, look at what your customers are already doing.

“Do some research to understand how mobile can enhance their relationship with you in some way,” he said. “Start with what the customers are going to want and what the customers are going to need.

“A pitfall would be moving ahead without doing some research into what is going to make sense for your customers – you may see another retailer pursue a particular strategy, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to make sense for your retail customers.”

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