Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more! 85pc of purchases come from mobile Web, not apps

SAN FRANCISCO – A Brown Shoes Co. exec at the Mobile Shopping Summit said that 85 percent of mobile purchases come from the mobile site and not its applications, proving that retailers should focus on having a Web presence before jumping on the app bandwagon.

Panelists during the “Mobile Roadmap Part I: Key Evaluation Criteria For Developing Your Initial Mobile Platform – The Keys To Mobile Merchandizing” session discussed the challenges and success their companies face with mobile. The panel was moderated by Marci Troutman, CEO of Sitminis, Atlanta.

“We had a strong ecommerce platform,” said Pete Hogan, vice president of ecommerce at Brown Shoe Co., St. Louis. “We were seeing a lot of agencies contact us about mobile and there were few players in the game two years ago.

“Eighty-five percent of our mobile sales come from the mobile Web and not apps,” he said.

Future of mobile
According to Mr. Hogan, the company’s long-term mobile strategy will involve the use of HTML5 to provide a richer experience to consumers on their mobile devices.

For companies that are looking to develop mobile sites or apps, it is important to keep the consumer in mind and try to make the overall mobile commerce experience as seamless as possible.

“Think about your business and how many times people touch your business,” Mr. Hogan said. “If you’re Starbucks then it’s daily, if you’re McDonalds it’s weekly.

“If our customer is a registered customer, we wanted to make sure we auto filled their shipping information,” he said. “That’s where you help them save time.”

A majority of consumers who download applications to their mobile devices do not use most of them.

A mobile site is an ideal tool to capture that consumer at the point-of-sale, per the panelists.

However, companies wanting to enter the application space should make sure that their apps provide a different experience than the mobile site. A lot of the time, mobile apps are geared towards loyalists, pushing deals and alerts to them daily.

There needs to be an incentive for consumers to click on that app icon when they want to shop instead of going to the company’s mobile site.

The mobile site, on the other hand, is an access point for existing and potential customers and should be treated with that in mind.

Brown Shoe first developed a mobile site and then an iPhone application.

Currently, the company has three iPhone applications, three mobile-optimized sites and three Android apps.

According to Mr. Hogan, the company’s mobile site mimics its ecommerce site and now features personalized recommendations and ratings.

“We tried to add most of the bells and whistles,” Mr. Hogan said. “However, there are still a few missing things.

“Tracking is also important – we can see when customers are coming to our mobile properties,” he said. “The ROI is trackable.”

Mobile extension
Dale Monson, senior vice president of operations at The Sportsman’s Guide, said that the company is currently working on a second version of its mobile site.

Although the company has a mobile presence, Mr. Monson said that it has not invested in marketing efforts to promote its applications.

“When we launched our iPhone app, we wanted to make sure we were in the market,” Mr. Monson said. “The main challenge we had was a lot of items on our Web site and it’s difficult to push that into the mobile and have consumers shop easily.

“However, we have not had a good marketing program yet to push the downloads,” he said. “We have not invested in marketing efforts for our apps.”