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Retailers slow to adopt up-and-coming mobile experiences: report

While leading retailers are doing a good job of embracing basic mobile offerings, far fewer offer up-and-coming in-store mobile experiences such as mobile payments and augmented reality, according to new study from Acquity Group.

The 2012 Brand eCommerce Audit found that only one in 10 of the top 50 retailers offer digital experiences such as augmented reality, in-store loyalty applications and digital barcode coupons. However, 82 percent have basic mobile offerings such as a mobile optimized site.

“The big news is that 12 percent of Interbrand’s Top 50 retailers don’t have a mobile presence,” said Tom Nawara, vice president of emerging solutions and innovation at Acquity Group, Chicago. “It’s 2012 and 12 percent of global mobile traffic comes from mobile devices – brands need to address mobile experiences with their audiences.

“It is most surprising that many of the top 50 brands, if they have a mobile presence at all, are still only doing the basics in mobile,” he said. “And even some of the basics are being missed: Only 18 of 50 offered click to call, a feature many mobile users would consider a high priority.”

Top 10 mobile retailers
Nordstrom, Best Buy and Walgreens placed first, second and third spots, respectively, on Acquity’s list of top 10 retailers on mobile. Rounding out the list, in order, are: American Eagle Outfitters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Victoria’s Secret, Home Depot, Urban Outfitters,  GameStop, and tied for tenth Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic.
Home Depot and GameStop are the only merchants on the list of top 10 retailers on mobile using video to showcase products while only three of the top 10 support integrated pickup/return or inventory check via mobile site.

Only 28 percent of retailers enable pay-by-phone capabilities such as Google Wallet and PayPal at their bricks-and-mortar locations.

“As ‘showrooming’ becomes more prevalent, providing the ability for customers to purchase products via mobile devices while in-store is becoming more and more important for top brands,” Mr. Nawara said.

“It takes some thought into how to execute this well, which is most likely the primary reason for the low percentage of brands offering the capability at this time,” he said.

First engagements
When it comes to more basic mobile services, 72 percent have a mobile or tablet app, 82 percent have a mobile optimized site and 66 percent have both.

Many of these retailers also make use of variety of mobile capabilities, with 88 percent offering mobile shopping carts, 85 percent featured products, 63 percent customer reviews and 54 percent contact forms.

Now that retailers have recognized the importance of the mobile channel, their focus should shift to adopting forward-looking strategies to support their in-store and desktop browser sales. Taking a more forward-looking approach to mobile can also help retailers be more competitive.

The report pinpoints several areas where retailers can do a better job  in mobile, with only 44 percent currently offering click-to-call and only 39 percent offering product image zoom capabilities.

Additionally, only 34 percent have email opt-in options in mobile.

“Mobile has rapidly become consumers’ first method of engagement with brands and the hub of most subsequent interactions, “Mr. Nawara said. “Brands have to plan for a ‘mobile first’ program, and we hope to see more of the Top 50 brands doing this by next year.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York