Mobile at Retail Seen As Critical; Investment, Not So Much

While most retailers see mobile as critical to the growth of their business, the majority aren’t planning to put significant money behind their efforts.

In terms of the level of investment in mobile and tablet initiatives this year, more than half (62%) of merchants plan to spend fewer than $100,000 with 11% planning no spending at all.

This is based on the e-tailing group 13th Annual Merchant Survey, which surveyed 108 senior executives with omni-channel responsibility.

Most retailers identified the importance of mobile to business growth, but many also appear to be at the early stages, based on the survey results:

  • 75% -- Mobile effort is critical to the growth of our business
  • 61% -- In the early stages of our mobile initiatives and just hoping to keep pace
  • 56% -- Working on achieving a superior omni-channel experience and mobile plays a key role
  • 50% -- Mobile represents the growth in our business and we are investing accordingly
  • 39% -- It’s hard to know where to invest relative to mobile initiatives



The level of investment varies, with more than a third (37%) planning to spend more than $100,000 on mobile initiatives this year, while 9% plan to spend more than $500,000.

But mobile does top the list of technology investment planned, with cart abandonment strategies near the bottom of the list. Here’s the location of tech spending, based on the survey:

  • 42% -- Mobil optimization (e.g. apps, etc.)
  • 30% -- Omni-channel integration
  • 28% -- Retargeting
  • 27% -- Personalization and targeting
  • 27% -- Testing
  • 27% -- Big data or related CRM initiatives
  • 26% -- Logistical improvements
  • 16% -- Cart abandonment strategies
  • 15% -- Marketing automation

As we’ve written about here in the past, mobile commerce is a global phenomenon. Of the retailers surveyed, the majority (51%) already are selling and shipping internationally.

Almost a quarter (22%) of survey respondents work in companies with more than $1 billion annual revenue.

One of the challenges the survey identified is that when interacting with consumers across different channels, most retailers (52%) cannot recognize their customers. Only 7% can recognize their customers all the time and 41% some of the time.

The long road to the mobile revolution at retail continues to be built.

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