Specialty Retailers Lagging In Mobile Development

SallyBeauty-AppEven as the big-box stores and major retail chains scramble to polish up their app and mobile Web strategies, the overwhelming majority of small and medium-sized specialty retailers appear to be off the mobile grid. E-commerce solutions provider Briteskies did its own survey of 75 online retailers in the small-to-medium specialty segment across multiple categories to find that only 17%, or 13 of the 75, has mobile-optimized sites.

Companies like Fry’s Electronics, Omaha Steaks and Windsor Fine Jewelry were found to have no mobile Web destination. The relative handful of mobile-optimized experiences came from companies like ThinkGeek, Sally Beauty Supply and Springfree Trampoline.

It is not entirely surprising that this middle tier of verticals is where larger retail providers sat vis-a-vis the mobile Web two years ago. Briteskies surveyed popular retailers in the electronics, pet supplies, health and beauty, educational supplies, food, gifts, clothing, sporting goods, hardware, and automotive areas. But all of these retailers in the 75-company review are very active online and in e-commerce already. Many of these companies feel stymied by the move to mobile, says Briteskies Director of E-commerce J. Michael Moores. “Many retailers struggle not only to define their mobile strategy but also to ensure that the content and design in the mobile channel support that strategy, all working within the limitations that exist with some e-commerce platforms,” he states.

For many companies the actual e-commerce piece of the mobile design is the choke point. Ensuring that mobile experiences match the online experience can be a challenge. And in many cases a mobile-optimized site reverts to the non-optimized experience when it kicks the user over to the payment system.  

Tags: mobile, retail
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