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Mobile accounts for 2pc or less of sales for majority of retailers: Report

While quickly growing, mobile commerce is still in its infancy and accounts for 2 percent or less of sales for 63 percent of retailers, according to a new survey conducted by Direct Response Forum.

The annual Q1 Merchant Survey found that only 17 percent of retailers report mobile sales more than 10 percent. Additionally, retailers reported that 17 percent of mobile customers are new customers.

“There are those that are embracing and jumping into the area with both feet and those that are dipping their toes into the water,” said Chantal Gaspie, executive chair at DRF, Brookfield, WI.

“There are a number that have launched a mobile site and are well versed in the payments process,” she said.

“For the smaller retailers, it is new and they do not have an understanding yet of what mobile is.”

Jump in
Mobile commerce is playing a growing role for retailers who have jumped in and are embracing it with their own mobile commerce sites.

For example, following the launch of its first mobile-optimized site in the fall, Sundance Catalog saw the number of orders placed through handsets increase by 2.1 times and mobile revenue increase by 2.4 during the holiday season.

However, many retailers are waiting for further mobile commerce growth before entering the space in a big way.

Retailers are also struggling to figure out what contribution mobile is playing for sales.

The Direct Response Forum’s survey found that 54 percent of respondents were unable to determine much about their mobile customers because their internal systems are not yet capable of providing visibility into mobile commerce at this point.

Another key finding is that 17 percent of retailers indicate their mobile customers are existing customers who are now purchasing via a mobile device.

The results also show that a majority of retailers do not currently accept mobile payments and do not have plans to do so.

Focus is elsewhere
With mobile commerce still accounting for only a small percentage of retailers’ overall sales, many merchants report that mobile commerce is not a top area of focus for them in 2012. Instead, they are focused on international payment strategies and reducing credit and debit card processing fees, which can contribute larger and more immediate returns on investment.

Mobile commerce is expected to become more important to retailers as the volume of sales coming from mobile devices continues to grow

The Direct Response Forum is not-for-profit educational organization that brings together leading direct merchants, acquirers, card companies and service providers.

“There is a gap between the people who are doing the payment processing and the marketing team,” Ms. Gaspie said. “The marketing team has an idea that we are going into mobile.

“The billing people want to know what that means to them – is it a mobile site with information or one where you are actually going to do transactions,” she said.

“The marketing teams want to do this but it has not been figured out on the billing side yet.”