Consumers’ increasing appetite for mobile applications is driving online retailers to speed up their mobile marketing initiatives. According to a Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) study produced in partnership with Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s digital division, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of online retailers either already have or are developing a mobile strategy. One in five boasts having a fully implemented mobile strategy in place already. The survey of 109 companies is part of The State of Retailing Online research series, which provides eBusiness professionals with an annual industry benchmark for marketing and business investment and activities.
“It’s imperative for online retailers to stay on top of what their customers want, and these days it’s all mobile all the time,” said Scott Silverman, executive director, Shop.org. “Mobile commerce has tremendous potential and will no doubt grow to become a significant part of overall sales volume in years to come. Whether to increase customer satisfaction, grow their brand, or drive traffic and sales, online retailers are in this game to stay.”
“Mobile investment is modest now, but we see that it will pick up in the future, especially among the biggest brands that have already invested significant amounts in their mobile operations,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president, principal analyst, Forrester Research, and lead author of the report.
Earlier this year, Forrester forecast US online retail sales to total $173 billion in 2010. According to “The State Of Retailing Online: Marketing, Social Commerce and Mobile Report,” Web retailers with mobile strategies:
- Are investing in features that support the cross-channel experience. Product and price information, store information, and coupons to support the in-store experience are among the most popular features that retailers are offering consumers.
- Have varied levels of investment. On average, respondents anticipated spending $170,000 on their mobile sites this year, large multichannel retailers are spending several times that amount, while smaller online pure plays on average are investing much less.
- Are experiencing modest gains. Retailers reported that their mobile browsers at this juncture are generating a little less than 3 percent of overall site traffic and just 2 percent of revenue.
Marketing And Social Media
Tried and true marketing tactics such as paid search, email, and affiliate marketing command the biggest percentage of an online retailers’ marketing budget. According to the report, retailers are spending nearly 40 percent of their marketing budget on paid search.
Retailers are finding value in social media marketing, but the ROI for driving online sales remains murky. Listening to customers is the most significant objective for social tools according to respondents, with 80 percent of retailers reporting that they are pursuing social strategies to experiment and learn. And while 28 percent noted that social marketing has helped grow their business, direct sales from social tactics are not widely measured.
“The State of Retailing Online: Marketing, Social Commerce and Mobile Report” is available to Shop.org members and can also be purchased directly at www.shop.org/soro. Forrester clients will be able to access the report as part of their subscription service one month from publication.
Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org’s 700 members include the 10 largest retailers in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It’s where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge, and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multichannel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events, and networking communities.
Shop.org is a part of NRF’s Mobile Retail Initiative, which serves to lead the industry in the implementation and dissemination of mobile related best practices and standards.