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56pc of retail execs plan to pour more resources into mobile this year: report

Retailers expect to increase their mobile initiatives significantly in 2013 with applications playing a key role, according to a new report from Artisan.

Artisan surveyed 200 retail executives with mobile responsibilities to gauge how brands plan to use the channel this year. In particular, retailers are eyeing how to get the most out of their mobile app efforts.

“Marketers are expecting significant mobile commerce growth in 2013 and are therefore investing more in mobile, particularly native apps,” said Bob Moul, CEO of Artisan, Philadelphia.

“This means that to stay competitive, marketers must ensure that they are providing an exceptional native app experience for their customers,” he said.

“This entails gaining deep insight into customer behavior and preference, which will arm marketers with the data they need to modify and update their apps effectively.”

Mobile priorities
The executives in the Artisan survey were surveyed from Feb. 4 – 16 and represent industries including consumer electronics; clothing and apparel; music, books and videos, and food and beverage.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents represented companies that netted between $51 – $99 million in annual revenue. Fifty-two percent of respondents came from retail organizations with annual revenues that range from $100 – $999 million.

Compared to the 56 percent of executives that plan to increase their mobile spend this year, 37 percent of marketers surveyed said that their investments would stay the same from last year.

Seven percent of marketers said that they anticipate spending less on mobile in 2013 than in 2012.

The shift in mobile investments stems from retailers realizing that mobile is growing at a fast rate.

Forty-nine percent of the survey’s respondents strongly agreed that they expected to see mobile commerce grow faster than online commerce. Thirty-five percent of executives surveyed agreed with the statement, and four percent of respondents disagreed.

When it comes to mobile priorities, 72 percent of the survey’s respondents strongly agreed or agreed that a native mobile app is one of their top three priorities for 2013.

Additionally, 71 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that a native mobile app will become the most important touch point for interacting with consumers in the next one to three years.

Mobile management
Marketers have a full plate when it comes to managing mobile apps.

Twenty-four percent of the executives surveyed manage 16 – 20 native apps while 22 percent of marketers are responsible for managing 10 – 15 native apps.

Sixteen percent of the marketers surveyed manage either two to four native apps, and the same percentage of marketers are responsible for managing five to nine apps. Eighteen percent of marketers in the study were responsible for more than 20 native apps.

The study also points to marketers wanting more out of their mobile apps.

For example, respondents were allowed to pick as many capabilities as they wanted from a list of features to better manage their native apps that they did not currently have.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that they would like the ability to personalize the user experience, and 60 percent were interested in collecting analytics on their app users.

Fifty-five percent of marketers surveyed said that would like to run A/B tests with their native apps, and 53 percent wanted to enable in-app promotions.

This points to the role that mobile apps will play for retailers to not only drive incremental commerce, but also aid in the overall shopping experience.

“Retailers are recognizing that mobile is becoming an increasingly important touch point to engage with their consumers,” Mr. Moul said.

“In addition to facilitating mobile commerce, retailers are using apps as a way to complement the in-store shopping experiences and address the specific needs of their most loyal customers,” he said.

“I think we’ll see more retailers building out smartphone and tablet app experiences that are more than just a transaction portal. As a result, they are laser-focused on building engaging experiences and want to invest in understanding user behavior and addressing customer feedback as fast as possible.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York