NRF Study: Respondents Split on Mobile’s Impact on E-Commerce

Discussion
Jan 14, 2013

According to the 2013 Shop.org/Forrester Research’s State Of Retailing Online survey, respondents are split regarding mobile’s impact on conversion rates. Overall, the study shows a slight net positive impact: 36 percent of retailers surveyed say that mobile sales and traffic have helped their company’s overall web conversion rate, while 29 percent have felt a negative impact.

The study was revealed at a morning session Sunday at the the NRF’s annual convention.

Overall, more than half (51 percent) of retailers surveyed say their top priority for 2013 is site optimization, including checkout optimization, alternative payments, user experience, testing, and product detail page enhancements. More than one-quarter (27 percent) plan to prioritize site redesign, including overhauling the "look and feel" and implementing responsive design changes.

In a statement, the two groups said the "back to basics" refocus on customer experience and increasing web conversion comes as shoppers become increasingly connected wherever they go.

Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell said retailers have dedicated much of the past 12 to 18 months to developing and testing rich mobile offerings for both customers and store associates.

"While direct mobile commerce is still small, mobile services are now an established and significant part of the shopping experience," said Ms. Cantrell. "Retailers this year are smartly investing to create a holistic customer experience across stores, desktop, and mobile to improve conversion rates, grow crucial repeat customer business, and even capture their share of customer demand from international markets."

Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said in a statement that it will be important in 2013 for retailers to "to pause and understand the opportunities, distractions, and implications of mobile within the e-commerce landscape."

Other findings from the study:

  • More than half (58 percent) of those surveyed say their conversion rates in 2012 grew over 2011, while their cart abandonment rate was either stable or even down compared to 2011;
  • More than half (53 percent) have been able to increase the average order value for repeat customers over the past year;
  • Another half (52 percent) have seen an increase in their repeat customer rate.

 

What should retailers take from the “opportunities, distractions, and implications” that mobile is causing within their overall e-commerce platform? What should the top online priorities be for 2013?

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7 Comments on "NRF Study: Respondents Split on Mobile’s Impact on E-Commerce"


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Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
9 years 4 months ago

Mobile commerce is still in its infancy, so looking at the data so far, while useful, tells us very little about where we will end up. Just walk around any big city and see all the pedestrians (and drivers) with their heads buried in their mobile devices, and it is easy to see that m-commerce will be a huge deal, and soon. The trick will be to sort out the “opportunities, distractions, and implications” on the fly, and to stay flexible.

Joan Treistman
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

Every retailer who wishes to be dominant in its competitive environment has to understand the role of mobile and the e-commerce context its shoppers. As e-commerce is moving quickly and mobile is fostering changes retailers have to allocate e-commerce focused staff and mobile strategy to move forward and be successful overall.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

Can we stop trying to measure all this and just look at people’s behavior? If 10 years ago we were “measuring” the effect of e-commerce we would find the answers were largely “little.”

Al is right; look at what people are doing. How they are behaving. Mobile has become a huge part of their life. If it has become a huge part of their life, it will eventually become a huge part of their shopping experience. Why is it so hard for retailers to see this?

Jonathan Marek
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

The holistic approach (i.e., thinking about stores not just mobile sales) is the right one here for most retailers that will continue to conduct 90%+ of their business in physical locations.

My concern is that studies like these often put findings in terms of what is easily measurable—conversion rates, mobile commerce order values, etc.—rather than what matter. It is the famous joke about the drunk looking for his keys underneath the streetlight.

Instead, retailers should be looking to light up the whole street. That is, work on solving the problem of measuring impact mobile activities on stores. Then, as you can measure, focus your activities on advertising, apps, and content that actually drive store purchases and loyalty as well as e-comm and m-comm.

Andy Casey
Guest
Andy Casey
9 years 4 months ago

They should embrace it. Consumers are not simple creatures where retailers can rely on reaching and motivating shoppers with a single experience or through a single channel. Shoppers want to buy what they need not only when they want, but increasingly, how they want. Sometimes that is with a smartphone when they are waiting in the school pickup line, sometimes with a tablet watching TV in the evening, sometimes on their computer at work and yes, sometimes in the store.

Everyone is trying to squeeze productive time out of the little “white spaces” in or lives and mobility helps us do that. What do retailers care about how or when as long as they buy from them? Make it easy for your customers to buy from you and frankly, they will.

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

Mobile marketing will be a minor phenomenon until your smartphone replaces all of your credit cards. Eliminating checkout will be the driving motivation behind it, not wayfinding or specials. Nevertheless, early adopters are increasingly being sold to, based on their location in the store. Genuine, significant lift is being obtained, it just doesn’t reach far, YET!

However, any of several events could generate a tipping point, with the mobile wallet being high on the list.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
9 years 4 months ago

The opportunities are to design new customer experiences and win over new customers and retain existing ones.

The distractions are to assign resources and effort to figuring out what needs to be done and dealing with the emotions of related to change.

The implications are winning or losing customers and all that that implies.

Regarding “top online priorities,” that begs the omnichannel response. Omnichannel thinking says that priorities should be driven by business problem/opportunity—not by the channel or technology. The problem with that is we as an industry tend to shy away from 80%ware or solutions that are not fully baked. Our priority therefore will be to developing skills to cope with life in the grey area and that’s a cultural issue.

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