A strong mobile commerce infrastructure remains many retailers' top competitive weakness heading into the 2014 holiday season, yet 68% participating in a study released Monday have no plans for new or continued investments prior to the end of the year.
In fact, only one in three online retailers cite mobile commerce as an investment priority, although one data firm estimates local mobile ad revenue at $4.3 billion in 2014, rising to $6.6 billion in 2015.
The findings from the eBay Enterprise 2014 Holiday Retail Audit, released Monday, signal a lack of urgency to cement long-term mobile infrastructure plans, despite the increase in mobile commerce use by consumers.
While ecommerce on mobile devices continues to grow, retailers still find it difficult to make a smooth transition into the media. It's more difficult for retailers to allocate technology and resources to mobile ecommerce, because they see an easier and more immediate benefit from other strategies, per Heather Bonura, marketing manager for omnichannel operations at eBay Enterprise.
"Responsive design needs to become more of a key priority," she said. "It's easier for retailers to affect customer service and price changes than to put responsive design in place and develop a mobile ecommerce strategy."
The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. retailers with revenue between $5 million and $250 million evaluates technology trends heading into the 2014 holiday season. The findings reveal that consumer data capture methods, mobile commerce, local fulfillment and global expansion are key trends as the holiday season approaches.
Building a mobile ecommerce infrastructure remains on the back burner, but retailers identified a renewed focus to invest in tools with data capture and analytical capabilities. Some 29% will focus on social media; 22, email promotions; and 12%, search engine optimization. Some 87% said the investments make them feel better prepared to capture in-store consumer data.
As retailers focus on collecting data to more accurately target messages across media and devices, breaches remain top of mind, especially for the large retailers. While 77% have not experienced a data breach, 65% said they have "heightened concern around data security at their company.
The study also cites top markets for global ecommerce expansion. Some 23% said they will expand in Canada, followed by 16% in the United Kingdom, 15% in China, 7% in Australia, and 5% in Mexico. About 33% of the large online retailers cite a lack of reliable local partners as the top priority for entering a new market, followed by 32% that point to declining market demand, while 31% cite weak inventory capabilities.