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Are retailers ‘missing the boat’ in driving revenue? November 17, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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A recent MediaPost Mobile Insider article by Steve Smith makes the bold statement, “friendly reminder to retailers: Your customers are way, way ahead of you when it comes to using mobile as a resource.”

As someone who regularly works in the Mobile space to help clients develop and implement their mobile strategies, I have to say, he’s quite correct.  Study after study indicates that consumers are heavily embracing the use of mobile technology, and are interested in being able to utilize their mobile devices to find convenience and improve the productivity of their lives.  As more and more demands are made on their time, consumers are seeking ways to engage with retailers in ways that are convenient for them; chief among those methods of engagement is mobile.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of retailers – large and small – have yet to catch on.  Smith cites new research from Brandanywhere’s new Mobile Omnibus Study, which polled 7,000 sites on 10 devices, and found that only 4.8% of U.S. retailers had mobile-specific Web sites. The top-tier retailers are faring slightly better, but not well. Almost 23% of the major retailers, as defined by traffic levels from Alexa, had mobile Web sites. When broken down by verticals, the results across all merchants are even worse. While auto parts retailers (20.78% with mobile Web sites) and auto dealerships (15.66%) were relatively more mobile-ready by comparison, department stores (3.41%), clothing and shoe stores (1.61%) and grocery stores (1.60%) were pathetic.

Smith indicates that according to Dan Flanegan, Managing Partner, Brandanywhere, the big disconnect is with consumers who say they would give preference to retailers that had mobile presence. His company partnered with Luth to poll over 1,000 consumers on whether a brand’s mobile-readiness affected purchasing decisions. “One in two consumers would give preference based on whether the retailer has a mobile site,” he says. “It indexes even higher with higher-value purchases. There is a big opportunity retailers can grab onto.”

Luth and Brandanywhere also asked how consumers prioritize the functions they most need on a retailer’s mobile presence. Interestingly, transactions were not among the most popular features. Foremost, they wanted to know about the special offers and coupons available - tools that could help them shop smarter and more cost-effectively. The second most desired feature was product pricing. Store location came third, followed by product information.

According to Smith, “Brandanywhere developed their Indexer to help agencies and their clients better understand how their digital presence is being seen across devices. The main focus was on the mobile Web, where people are inclined to type in a familiar branded URL and hope for a desirable result.”  Smith further explains, “For years the .mobi extension struggled to become the commonplace suffix for all things mobile in the minds of consumers. In many cases the brands ended up creating m.brandname URLs instead. However, the best-case scenario is having a reliable redirect at the branded URL that kicks phones over to a mobile-ready version of the site. But as Brandanywhere’s research shows, this reasonable expectation among mobile users is not being met.”

So, we ask you, ARE retailers missing the boat in driving revenue? Our experience at Strategic Growth Concepts, the Brandanywhere study, and many other studies indicate an absolute YES!

Retailers – large and small – must begin to understand that consumers EXPECT them to be mobile.  They EXPECT to communicate with them via mobile, and they EXPECT retailers to make their lives easier by enabling them to obtain information about and from their firms via mobile.

So why aren’t they mobile?  My experience in talking to businesses about mobile has led me to several conclusions:

  1. they assume it’s cost-prohibitive and that if they don’t have a substantial budget to invest in their mobile effort that they won’t be able to enter the mobile space.  THEY’RE WRONG!
  2. they don’t know where to start. WE CAN HELP!
  3. they assume it’s extremely complicated to get started and that it requires massive amounts of time and effort. AGAIN, THEY’RE WRONG!
  4. they assume mobile is just a passing fad and it will soon lose the interest of consumers, and that they’ll be able to be glad they didn’t waste their time and money getting involved in it. THEY COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!

So let’s be clear, consumers have spoken; study after study indicates that mobile will continue to grow substantially – particularly in the next 3 – 5 years – and will become a major driver of our economy.  Those that do their homework and start integrating Mobile Technology into their operational and marketing strategies now will find themselves achieving substantial market share increases over their competitors who choose to ignore Mobile.

Which will you be – the retailer who embraces mobile and reaps the benefit?  Or the retailer who conducts business as usual – and gets left behind?

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Technology Optimization and Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Technology Optimization and Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

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[...] Learn more about how retailers can take advantage of Mobile Technology in my full blog post. Filed Under: Linda's View Tagged With: consumer shopping behaivor, Marks & Spencer, mobile impact on consumer shopping behavior About LindaD [...]

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