Many Retailers Are Dipping -- and Not Diving -- into Mobile

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 15 Jul, 2011

According to a new study on mobile commerce, most if not all major online retailers are testing the waters with mobile-friendly websites but only a small percentage have complemented those sites with mobile applications. Many of the sites, in fact, even lack some of the basic features that would help consumers shop or browse from their mobile devices.


For a more in-depth discussion on how to most effectively take the plunge into mobile, keep an eye out for Website Magazine's upcoming September cover story, Five Ways to Dive into Mobile.


The survey from technology provider CrossView selected 25 top retailers such as Toys 'R' Us, Foot Locker, Best Buy, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, PetSmart, Coach, Dick's Sporting Goods, Polo and Ralph Lauren, and all 25 have implemented mobile commerce sites. Only 12 percent, however, currently offer mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad or Android.


Some of the features and functions included on the retailers' mobile-friendly websites include mobile accessibility to customer reviews, product availability, loyalty programs and GPS technology to locate stores. All 25 mobile sites include product names, descriptions, prices, the ability to complete a purchase and a store locator, while 88 percent of them allow customers to share product information via social media and to set up an account from their mobile devices.


Eighty percent of the sites allow customers to track their orders after a purchase as well as to create a wish list. Sixty percent offer ratings and reviews, 56 percent allow customers to access their loyalty program accounts, and 52 percent of the sites integrate GPS satellite technology within the store locator.


Only 44 percent show product availability online and at store locations, 40 percent display the estimated shipping charges before adding a product to a shopping cart, and 28 percent feature buy via mobile/pickup in-store.


"A majority of the mobile-optimized websites we looked at lacked basic features to help shoppers make purchase decisions in physical retail stores," says Jason Goldberg, vice president of strategy and customer experience at CrossView. "Mobile must be integrated as a part of the overall cross-channel shopping experience. It's critical that merchants avoid creating mobile silos in the same way that many brick-and-mortar retailers did with their first-generation ecommerce sites."


Again, look for Website Magazine's upcoming September issue to learn Five Ways to Dive Into Mobile.