July 14, 2011, 12:58 PM

Big players in e-commerce have gotten the mobile message, study finds

Of 25 big brand web retailers, all have m-commerce sites, though only three have apps.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The retailer's mobile program was one of 25 studied by CrossView.

The mobile message seems to be getting through to the heavy hitters in retail: Of 25 well-known brands and e-commerce sales leaders, all have mobile commerce sites, a new study finds. However, only three offer an iPhone or Android mobile app.

Multichannel technology provider CrossView selected 25 top retailers for the study, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Best Buy Co., Coach Inc., Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., Foot Locker Inc., PetSmart Inc., Polo Ralph Lauren, Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. and Urban Outfitters Inc. It then studied the mobile sites and apps of the merchants looking at 30 features and functions, from reading customer reviews and checking product availability to accessing loyalty programs and using GPS technology to locate stores.

Features present on all 25 m-commerce sites or apps include product name, product description, price and the ability to complete a purchase, the study finds. From there content and features vary. Twenty-two, or 88%, enable consumers to share product information via social media, 100% provide a store locator, but only 13 integrate GPS satellite technology within the locator. Twenty-two allow consumers to set up an account, 20 enable customers to track orders after a purchase, 80% allow shoppers to create a wish list, 14 enable customers to access their loyalty program accounts, and 10 display estimated shipping charges before adding a product to a shopping cart.

In addition to being a sales channel unto itself, mobile commerce is also a multichannel tool that can boost sales in other channels. This is one area where many of the big retailers can do better, says Jason Goldberg, vice president of strategy and customer experience at CrossView.

“A majority of the mobile-optimized web sites we looked at lacked basic features to help shoppers make purchase decisions in physical retail stores,” Goldberg says. “Mobile must be integrated as a part of the overall cross-channel shopping experience. It’s critical that merchants avoid creating mobile silos in the same the way many bricks-and-mortar retailers did with their first-generation e-commerce sites.”

On this note, when it comes to features that can add value to in-store shopping, 15, or 60%, offer ratings and reviews, 11 show product availability online and at store locations, and only seven feature buy via mobile/pickup in-store.

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