Study: 87% of Online Retailers Have Beefed Up Mobile Capabilities

Smartphone ShoppingHuntington Beach, CA—Online shoppers can expect even more emails from online retailers, all aiming to keep up with the growing phenomenon of mobile shopping. And as e-tailers strive to increase their market share, they are investing heavily in tried-and-true favorites: email and paid search.

According to Shop.org/Forrester Research’s new study, “The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” nearly nine in 10 (87%) online retailers surveyed either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in 10 will optimize paid search for smartphones (71%) and tablets (73%).

Retailers say that, on average, 28% of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; the stakes are higher for small retailers who say that on average 42% of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.

“As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the United States reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director at Shop.org. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.”

Across all digital platforms, 80% of the e-tailers plan to invest more in email and search this year than last, signaling these retailers’ understanding that they need to balance investments and resources in both retention and acquisition.

Adding Videos to Product Pages

Consequently, online retailers plan to bolster their search and email investments with employees skilled in these areas. About 40% of retailers surveyed said they plan to hire for positions in marketing analytics this year. This reflects the need to “wrestle down volumes of marketing data to create more effective interactions and an improved customer experience.”

For merchandisers, improving the customer shopping experience is key. And for online retailers, those enhancements come in the form of video, personalized content, and more.

According to the study, product detail page improvements, particularly video offerings, will be a top focus this year: nearly three-quarters (72%) will invest in integrating video onto their sites.

Another 62% indicate that recommendations and personalization features will be a priority, including integrating capabilities to create different home pages and creating unique pages for customers based on their purchase history.

“Retailers continue to optimize the customer experience on their site and to that end have made investments in A/B testing, product detail page enhancements, and personalization mainstream,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president/principal analyst at Forrester. “Going forward, however, we expect to see much more emphasis on checkout enhancements, as that is a key obstacle for direct transactions on mobile devices.”

About the Study

The State Of Retailing Online research series, which provide annual industry benchmarks of marketing and business investment and activities, surveyed 65 companies. Industries surveyed included apparel, footwear, general merchandise, home furnishings, and personal care.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is an international community for digital retail, offering thought leadership through original research and gold-standard events. Shop.org members include some of the world’s largest and most respected retail, technology, research, and consulting companies. www.shop.org

 

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