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More than half of retailers investing in responsive design: e-tailing group

NEW YORK – Retailers are under growing pressure to get up to speed on mobile, with 53 percent planning to invest in responsive design to help them get there, according to an e-tailing group executive at the Mobile Research Summit: Data & Insights 2014.

Lauren Freedman, president of the Chicago-based e-commerce consulting firm, said retailers still have a lot of work to do in terms of providing a mobile commerce experience that will attract shoppers and increase business. Her firm’s two-month study of 50 retailers and mobile consumer shopping habits showed that putting together a mobile commerce strategy that is both efficient and uses information to boost a customer’s transaction-making confidence is harder to do than it looks.

“It’s easier said than done,” Freedman said during the presentation of the preliminary results from the 6th Annual Mobile Shopping Survey. “It takes time and resources and the knowledge to understand how to do it.”

Figuring out the mobile phone

Freedman’s talk, which wrapped up the day-long inaugural Mobile Research Summit presented by Napean LLC, publisher of Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, emphasized that while mastering mobile in the age of the connected consumer tops retailers’ agenda, most are in the early stages of working toward superior online experiences.

E-tailing’s survey found that three out of four retailers see mobile as important to business, but 61 percent are just beginning to implement mobile initiatives and are striving to keep pace. Fifty-six percent said mobile plays a key role in their efforts to achieve a superior omni-channel experience.

Amid an outbreak of showrooming, half said mobile represents the growth in their business and they are investing accordingly. But 39 percent said it is hard to know where to invest.

Three out of four plan to invest in customer experience, half in technology and responsive design. The top investment destinations were customer experience (75 percent), technology (58 percent) and responsive design (53 percent). Other targeted investment areas include mobile tracking/analytics (44 percent), retargeting (31 percent), mobile advertising (29 percent), omni-channel tracking (29 percent), back-end support systems (24 percent), in-store initiatives (18 percent), push notification (16 percent) and other (4 percent).

The study’s findings reinforced the idea of mobile’s value in supporting bricks-and-mortar store operations. Nearly three of four shoppers identified store locator as a very/somewhat desirable feature of the mobile commerce experience. Sixty-seven percent rated detailed product information as very/somewhat important. Sixty-five percent gave that ranking to product/inventory locator. Less than half – 45 percent – called mobile specific deals very/somewhat important.

Brand experience wanting

Just four out of 10 shoppers rated their mobile commerce experience in terms of branding as excellent/good. Also drawing excellent/good rankings were customer service (34 percent), overall user experience (33 percent), shopping cart (28 percent), search and navigation (27 percent), product page content, imagery and video (25 percent), promotional tactics (21 percent), account membership, profiling (20 percent), merchandising tactics (18 percent), category related content (18 percent) and personalization (13 percent).


Retailers were found wanting in terms of efficiency, access and information. One-stop destinations were the exception rather than the rule, and contact information was always accessible from home page.

E-tailing’s study also showed that consumers overwhelmingly desire consistency in areas such as pricing (89 percent), free shipping (89 percent), promotions (86 percent), assortment (80 percent), branding (77 percent) and shopping features (73 percent). It found that information is not always complete and delivered in optimal formats, though it might be wisely streamlined for devices.

One in five shoppers still faces challenges with imagery, finding product, slow connection speeds and limited product information.

No time to lose

With mobile’s profile in commerce growing, retailers need to get up to speed quickly. “When it was new, we had the luxury of time,” Ms. Freedman said. “Now it’s like a fight to the kill. We have no luxury of time anymore – for the shopper or the retailer.”

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Commerce Daily, New York