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Retailers' Budgets, Strategy Capitalize on Mobile Growth

Jul 17, 2013 6:08 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... Retailers are focusing their digital marketing budgets to capitalize  on the surge in mobile traffic, according to the latest research from Shop.org and Forrester Research.  According to the report “The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing and Merchandising,” nearly 87 percent of online retailers surveyed either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization programs this year, while 71 percent will optimize paid search programs for smartphones and 73 percent will optimize paid search for tablets.

“As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the United States reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” said Shop.org's executive director, Vicki Cantrell. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.”

According to the study, retailers surveyed indicated that that, on average, 28 percent of emails that are sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone, while small retailers said that an average 42 percent of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.

Another top merchandising priority among retailers is personalization and omnichannel integration. According to the study, product detail page improvements, particularly video, will be a top focus this year. Around 72 percent of study participants reported that they will integrate video on their sites. Another 62 percent indicated that recommendations and personalization features will be a priority, including integrating capabilities to create different home pages and creating unique pages for their customers based on purchase history.

Forrester Research's vice president and principal analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru, said, “Retailers continue to optimize the customer experience on their site and to that end have made investments in A/B testing, product detail page enhancements and personalization mainstream. Going forward, however, we expect to see much more emphasis on checkout enhancements, as that is a key obstacle for direct transactions on mobile devices.”

Additionally, the study found that 80 percent of online retailers intend to hire specialized talent to move their strategy forward, particularly web marketing personnel, signaling retailers’ understanding of the need to balance investment with resource in both retention and acquisition. Many retailers are adjusting their staffing accordingly, bolstering marketing budget allocations for search and email with investments in skill sets and staff. Forty percent of retailers surveyed plan to hire for open positions in marketing analytics in 2013, reflecting the need to consolidate the volume of marketing data to create more effective interaction and an improved customer experience.

The study surveyed 65 companies from industries including apparel, footwear, general merchandise, home furnishings, and personal care
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Tags: Deena Taylor, digital marketing, Forrester, shop.org, smartphone, tablet
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