June 8, 2011, 1:17 PM

A gap exists between consumers’ mobile expectations and retailers’ realities

Demandware survey finds consumers expect a robust m-commerce experience.

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Mobile commerce sites and apps enable much more than browsing, searching and buying through the mobile channel. They are multichannel tools that consumers are increasingly using in stores and with catalogs to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Consumers expect a lot from the growing m-commerce channel, and retailers aren’t providing everything shoppers want, a new survey from e-commerce and m-commerce technology provider Demandware Inc. finds. In the first quarter of 2011, Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Demandware, surveyed 454 consumers and 192 multichannel retailers with e-commerce sites and annual revenues of at least $250 million.

Only 12% of retailers offer a mobile app; 23% of consumers currently use mobile apps and 50% plan to do so in the future. 54% of consumers would like the ability to scan bar codes in magazines or catalogs that link to mobile web sites, but only 12% of retailers offer this feature.

While 62% of consumers say they intend to purchase products or services on mobile web sites or apps, only 32% of retailers currently enable mobile purchasing. 29% of retailers allow consumers to use their mobile phones to check in-store product availability, but 38% of shoppers do this now and 52% expect to do so in the future. And 23% of retailers allow consumers to add items to their carts via mobile phones and complete the transaction later on a desktop computer or tablet PC, but 51% of consumers would like this functionality.

“This research should put brands on notice that the traditional, channel-centric, transaction-based approach to commerce is no longer enough. Smart consumers are demanding unified, highly branded experiences across all touch-points,” says Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing at Demandware. “Brands that don’t marry consumers’ growing expectations with their own operational realities will struggle to compete and thrive in the evolving commerce market.”

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