Retailers Ramp Up Mobile Sites, Apps

by , Oct 12, 2011, 12:00 AM
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With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, more consumers than ever are expected to turn to their phones to research and make purchases this year. At least half of mobile consumers view their device as a holiday shopping resource for product information, coupons and sale information, according to a recent Mojiva survey

Retailers, likewise, are ramping up mobile operations to capitalize on the growing appetite for m-commerce. A new report by digital strategy firm Acquity Group indicates that 37% of retailers now have mobile sites -- up from 12% last year and 4% in 2009.

More stores are also embracing mobile apps. One in four (26%)  retailers have at least one mobile app, up from 7% in 2010. Nearly a quarter (23%) have an iPhone app, and 10% an Android app. Few are creating apps for other smartphone operating systems such as Windows Phone 7, WebOs and BlackBerry.

A smaller group of retailers (18%) have both a mobile site and an app, and 26% have a mobile site optimized for each of the most popular smartphone platforms. The results are based on Acquity’s annual audit analyzing Internet Retailer’s Top 500 companies on their rate of mobile adoption. 

Which businesses are in the top 10 when it comes to m-commerce, according to Acquity? Amazon, Armani Exchange, Barnes & Noble, Buy.com, Cabela’s, Gilt Groupe, The Home Depot, Newegg, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart. The ranking is based on various factors including having a mobile site, rendering a home page correctly, offering a checkout/booking capability, and having an app. 

“Not only have they implemented mobile-optimized sites to support a wide range of devices, but they have taken initiatives a step further with exceptional transactional functionality and well-designed apps that meet customer needs,” said Tom Nawara, vice president of digital strategy and design, at Acquity.

The study pointed out that mobile adoption, and specific mobile tactics, can vary widely by industry. The health and beauty, food and drug, and mass merchant categories, for instance, skewed much higher than flowers, gifts, hardware and home improvement in launching iPhone apps -- 66% compared to 36%. 

Only 20% of companies in the music/books/video vertical have mobile-optimized sites compared to nearly 70% in the office supplies category and more than half among apparel sellers. Less than half of retailers are putting up mobile sites to date -- probably because they don’t see a big upside yet to building out a mobile presence.

A Forrester study in June estimated that retailers in 2011 can expect just 2% of their online Web sales to be conducted via mobile. While m-commerce will grow 40% each year for the next five years, it will still only reach 7% of sales by 2016.

1 comment on "Retailers Ramp Up Mobile Sites, Apps".

  1. Ernest Ramos from JMango
    commented on: October 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.
    We're bound to see mobile affecting holiday shoppers more this year than the last. It's high time that retailers start taking advantage of the opportunity presented by mobile. That said, the number of retailers embracing mobile is still low right now. Hopefully we will see a bigger uptake next year.

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