Study: Retailers adopt mobile, may not excel


Mobile commerce has become almost universal in the retail industry, but competency levels are less uniform.

According to a new study of 250 marketing and IT professionals, including 95 retailers, from digital solutions provider PointSource, “The State of the Mobile Experience,” 91% of retail companies have a mobile site and 84% have a mobile app.

However, silos are common in retailers’ mobile operations. More than half of retailers (54%) say their biggest challenge is finding ways to integrate mobile strategy into an overall marketing strategy. Similarly, 42% say uniting marketing and IT departments is a major barrier.

Other common mobile challenges for retailers include lack of internal resources (24%), budget (20%) and lack of internal management support (18%).

Retail respondents with an existing mobile presence report the most common mobile pain points for their retail customers are a result of poor design or IT infrastructure. Nearly half (48%) list slow page load times as a recurring issue, 31% list difficulties navigating on mobile, and more than a quarter (28%) list either smaller images/videos or not being able to pay on mobile as a roadblock.

Twenty-eight percent of retail respondents with an existing mobile presence report a malfunctioning app or website as a company limitation. Although retailers have been quick to embrace mobile, PointSource says their dissatisfaction with current systems points to deeper issues of mobile app architecture and design.

Retailers are also lagging in the mobile capabilities they offer consumers. Only 57% offer mobile coupons and 51% allow mobile payment. Smaller percentages offer loyalty apps (40%), push notifications (22%) and in-store geolocation technology (22%). Three percent offer none of these capabilities.

Another area many retailers are falling short is in tracking mobile customer metrics. Fifty-seven percent track purchase history, while 43% track loyalty metrics and 38% track app opens. Less popular metrics include geolocation (31%), cart size (29%), time of day (29%) and refer a friend (17%). Eleven percent do not track any of these metrics.

Rating their own mobile competency, 72% of retail respondents said they currently have mobile customer service support and it works well. This level of competency dropped to 51% for shop online pickup in store (another 29% currently have it but find it challenging to provide. Only 46% currently offer mobile coupons or mobile checkout and say it works well (rates of having but finding challenging are 28% and 26%, respectively). Forty-five percent offer location-based notifications and say it works well, with another 29% finding it challenging.

In addition, 33% of respondents said their store associates currently have access to mobile technology to assist in-store customers. Another 52% do not but are very interested, with 13% slightly interested. Only 2% have no interest in equipping store associates with mobile technology.