Smartphone usage is fast becoming the norm, but as consumers get used to constant access to the internet—including brand and retail websites—marketers must continue efforts to make sure those sites meet mobile shoppers’ expectations.
December 2011 research from L2 Think Tank indicated that, although most of the beauty/skincare, fashion, hospitality, retail and watch/jewelry brands studied had commerce and store locator functions enabled on their mobile sites, just as they did on their desktop websites, relatively few had as many other features available via mobile.
Shoppers who visited the mobile sites of those brands hoping to access product videos, order tracking, user ratings or connections to Facebook would have been significantly less likely to find those options than on the desktop sites of the same brands.
The need for retailers to offer a mobile-optimized site is clear: Not only does fragmentation across mobile platforms mean that one or even two apps won’t serve all customers, but research indicates most consumers prefer to use browsers over apps for mobile shopping activities.
Just as mobile optimization of websites leaves much to be desired, many brands are doing only the bare minimum to make their email marketing programs mobile-friendly. With 78% of the brands studied doing active email marketing, 53% chose to include links to plain web versions of emails—which may or may not be mobile-friendly—while just 24% linked to a truly mobile-optimized message. Links to apps, mobile sites and other mobile properties were even less common.
eMarketer estimates there will be 72.8 million mobile shoppers in the US this year, 94.3% of whom will use a smartphone to do their research and browsing. Of that group, 53% will make a purchase on their phone, and m-commerce sales will reach $11.6 billion, a small but growing share of overall retail sales.