Advanced Mobile Technologies Are Still a Reach for Retailers - eMarketer
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Advanced Mobile Technologies Are Still a Reach for Retailers

Mobile websites are common, but retailers have bigger plans

October 14, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Most retailers in North America have a mobile website. But according to July research, deploying certain other mobile capabilities, like geolocation and customer identifying technologies, could be about three to five years down the road.

Implementation of Select Mobile Technologies According to Retail Executives in North America, July 2016 (% of respondents)

Boston Retail Partners surveyed more than 500 retail executives in North America on the state of their mobile technologies.

The majority (58%) of respondents have implemented a website specifically designed for mobile access. However, of those with an active site, roughly half (or 27%) said theirs needs improvement.

When it comes to implementing newer mobile capabilities, according to the data, many retailers don’t seem to be there yet. Roughly a quarter of the executives polled said that executing geolocation and in-store customer ID technologies would likely happen in the next three to five years. Conversely, at the time of the survey, only 2% said they had geolocation in place that’s working well. Meanwhile, no one felt they were at that stage of success with customer identifying tools.

US Retail Sales and Traffic Metric Growth, Feb-July 2016 (% change vs. same period of prior year)

While there’s much improvement needed for retailers to get to a good place with select mobile technologies, it appears that the marketers understand it’s critical. Mobile, in particular, is likely the inroad for retailers wanting to close the gap on ecommerce and brick-and-mortar sales, and get a handle on floundering foot traffic. In August 2016, RetailNext measured year-over-year drops in US retail foot traffic each month of 2016, and reported a drop of 9.9% in May.

Other ways in which US retailers are trying to remedy this problem is through mobile coupons. In another survey from PointSource, close to 60% of retail marketing and IT professionals said their organization used mobile coupons, the highest of any mobile tactic or technology they were polled on. Other respondents took to handheld strategies like mobile payments (51%) and loyalty apps (40%).

This same July study reported that more than half of respondents felt strategy integration was the biggest hurdle when trying to execute a successful mobile strategy, followed by uniting marketing and IT departments and lack of internal resources, like staffing.

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