April 29, 2010, 12:44 PM

More retailers are engaging shoppers in the mobile realm, new survey finds

The number of retailers reaching out to shoppers through their mobile phones is increasing significantly: 27% of merchants say they are engaging shoppers via mobile this year compared with only 11% last year, The E-tailing Group says in its 9th Annual Merchant Survey.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

The number of retailers reaching out to shoppers through their mobile phones is increasing significantly: 27% of merchants say they are engaging shoppers via mobile this year compared with only 11% last year, The E-tailing Group says in its 9th Annual Merchant Survey.

Of those retailers involved in mobile commerce, 15% have fully transactional sites and/or apps, the survey says. (Mobile sites can be accessed from any phone with a browser, while apps are pieces of software designed for a particular phone, such as an iPhone or Blackberry.) 11% have launched mobile apps, transactional or not. This marks the first year these questions were asked.

9% include mobile within opt-in preferences for e-mail, up from 7% last year, finds the survey of 152 senior executives with responsibility for e-commerce. 3% ask for mobile phone numbers in-store, the same as last year. And 2% include opt-in mobile promotion codes within advertising, down from 3% last year.

When asked to characterize their level of involvement with mobile merchandising and marketing, retailers’ responses varied widely.

15% of merchants say they are currently using mobile strategies with limited revenue success, up from 8% last year, the survey says. 23% of retailers say they are evaluating using mobile this year, up from 14% in 2009. 34% say they are researching mobile strategies but do not know when they will apply them, down from 37% last year. And 25% do not expect to use mobile within the next two years, down significantly from 36%.

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