Despite the significant revenue potential of mobile sales, many retailers continue to believe that mobile strategies are more suited to improving customer loyalty than increasing the bottom line. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of retailers surveyed view mobile strategy primarily as a sales channel.
The survey involved more than 100 retailers and was conducted at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition 2013. Its results reveal a strong emphasis on mobile as a way to deliver a more personalized experience for consumers in the hope they will keep funneling their business to those brands.
Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiSever, which conducted the survey, refers to this approach as “The Amazon effect.”
“As e-commerce powerhouses like Amazon and eBay make it increasingly difficult to compete on price, retailers are using mobile as a way to differentiate themselves through convenience and brand loyalty,” Egner said.
Pursuing Returns on Mobile Investment
Egner says retailers worry that a focus on mobile sales won’t result in a strong ROI from mobile strategies, but many do see investments pay off through mobile efforts that drive repeat business.
Overall, 46 percent of retailers with a mobile strategy in place are aiming to target customer loyalty and personalize the shopping experience. Among retailers who plan to begin similar strategies in the next year, that rate increases to 74 percent.
Even with general industry hesitance toward mobile transactions, 22 percent of retailers polled said mobile sales account for at least 20 percent of their sales — an increase from 2012, when just 16 percent of retailers said the same.
While websites will be the primary focus of digital sales investments by retailers in the coming years, 35 percent of those surveyed said mobile efforts will receive the greatest investment — a strong indication that retailers are optimistic about mobile’s long-term potential, even if they aren’t yet fully convinced of its stature as a sales channel.
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