Mobile at Retail Seen As Critical; Investment, Not So Much

by Net Future Institute on July 7, 2014

By Chuck Martin

While most retailers see mobile as critical to the growth of their business, the majority aren’t planning to put significant money behind their efforts.

In terms of the level of investment in mobile and tablet initiatives this year, more than half (62%) of merchants plan to spend fewer than $100,000 with 11% planning no spending at all.

This is based on the e-tailing group 13th Annual Merchant Survey, which surveyed 108 senior executives with omni-channel responsibility.

Most retailers identified the importance of mobile to business growth, but many also appear to be at the early stages, based on the survey results:

75% — Mobile effort is critical to the growth of our business
61% — In the early stages of our mobile initiatives and just hoping to keep pace
56% — Working on achieving a superior omni-channel experience and mobile plays a key role
50% — Mobile represents the growth in our business and we are investing accordingly
39% — It’s hard to know where to invest relative to mobile initiatives

The level of investment varies, with more than a third (37%) planning to spend more than $100,000 on mobile initiatives this year, while 9% plan to spend more than $500,000.

But mobile does top the list of technology investment planned, with cart abandonment strategies near the bottom of the list. Here’s the location of tech spending, based on the survey:

42% — Mobil optimization (e.g. apps, etc.)
30% — Omni-channel integration
28% — Retargeting
27% — Personalization and targeting
27% — Testing
27% — Big data or related CRM initiatives
26% — Logistical improvements
16% — Cart abandonment strategies
15% — Marketing automation

As we’ve written about here in the past, mobile commerce is a global phenomenon. Of the retailers surveyed, the majority (51%) already are selling and shipping internationally.

Almost a quarter (22%) of survey respondents work in companies with more than $1 billion annual revenue.

One of the challenges the survey identified is that when interacting with consumers across different channels, most retailers (52%) cannot recognize their customers. Only 7% can recognize their customers all the time and 41% some of the time.

The long road to the mobile revolution at retail continues to be built.


Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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