US retailers are actively pursuing the mobile channel to enhance customer engagement and loyalty: 73% have some type of mobile initiative in place and 20% of are in the process of evaluating the mobile channel, according to a survey from Forbes Insights, in association with Research In Motion (RIM).
Fully one-third of surveyed retail executives describe their early mobile efforts as either widely implemented (10%) or rapidly expanding (24%).
Nearly one-half of retailers (47%) say they want to capture "first-mover advantage" as their customers go mobile, whereas 23% say they are adopting mobile to keep up with their competitors and 20% are taking an incremental approach to the mobile channel.
Below, other findings from the study, Retail's Mobility Imperative, which surveyed more than 300 executives at top US retailers.
Retailers are now at varying levels of sophistication in their mobile efforts. Fundamental tactics such as mobile ads (35%) and mobile websites (36%) are the most common, while other retailers are moving into more customer service-related applications (33%) and transaction-based tactics, such as mobile coupons (29%).
Some retailers are experimenting with GPS-enabled proximity-marketing capabilities (24%) and downloadable brand-related content (18%).
Satisfaction With Mobile Efforts
Retailers are satisfied with their mobile efforts thus far: 45% say their mobile channel returns are meeting their expectations, and 17% say they are exceeding expectations.
Retailers are evaluating which mobile devices and operating systems to support and cite the following as the most important factor in determining support for a platform:
- Demographics of the mobile device's customer base: 72%
- The device's expected market share: 70%
- The device's current market share: 67%
- Availability of development tools: 67%
- Ease of development: 64%
- Availability of technical support programs: 64%
- Availability of marketing/business development support programs: 63%
- Broad base of developers, systems integrators, and ISVs: 59%.
Integrating Mobile With Other Channels
Many retailers also understand the need to coordinate across channels: 45% say their integration of mobile with other channels is already effective (29%) or very effective (16%).
Similarly, 40% of marketers say they expect their mobile efforts to be fully integrated with their other channels in the next year.
About the data: Findings are from a survey of 305 US Retailers (multi-location chains with annual revenues of $100 million and higher) conducted in April 2010 by Forbes Insights.