November 13, 2013, 10:07 AM

Modernizing mobile commerce

Offering a tablet shopping experience can be smart, Internet Retailer research shows.

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It is no longer enough for e-retailers to simply create a mobile site or app. If online merchants want to realize significant sales via mobile devices they must offer tools that make mobile shopping easy, fast and efficient. And the leaders in mobile commerce are doing just that, according to new analysis of Mobile 500 data on Top500Guide.com, Internet Retailer’s subscription-based database of global e-commerce statistics. The Internet Retailer 2014 Mobile 500 ranks online retailers by their projected 2013 mobile commerce revenue.

A closer look at new mobile data released in October when compared with 2012 shows more retailers are adding features and functionality to their mobile site and apps. For example, in 2012, nine retailers out of 400, or around 2%, offered a bar code scanning feature to help shoppers access more information about products or scan and store a loyalty card in a mobile app for use at checkout in store. In 2013, 93 out of 500, or around 18.6% offer such functionality.

The percentage of retailers with tablet-specific sites is also growing. In 2012, 13 retailers out of 400, or 3.3%, offered a tablet-specific site. That figure jumped to 8.6%, or 43 out of 500 this year.

Offering a shopping experience optimized for tablets can be a smart investment, Internet Retailer research shows. On average, 55% of mobile commerce sales occur on tablets while 45% stem from smartphones, according to data from 43 retailers that broke out their mobile sales figures by device. These 43 retailers will bring in $991 million in mobile sales in 2013—$544 million from tablets and $447 million from smartphones, data on Top500Guide.com shows.

More mobile players are realizing the importance of customer reviews as well. In 2012 153, or 38.3% of the 400, mobile retailers ranked offered reviews. This year, more than half (56.8%) or 284 of the 500 mobile players offered the functionality.

Internet Retailer research illustrates that adding features to make mobile shopping easier can pay off. Drugstore and pharmacy CVS Caremark Corp., for example, moved up from No. 100 in the 2012 mobile rankings to No. 89 this year, and ranks as the No. 32 fastest-growing retailer in terms of its 2013 year-over-year mobile sales percentage growth projection. Internet Retailer estimates the retailer will grow its mobile sales 146.3% from $15 million in 2012 to $36.95 million in 2013. The retailer made several recent investments in mobile, adding eight new mobile features and functions features between 2012 and 2013, including customer reviews and the ability for mobile users to scan the bar code on the back of their CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare loyalty card and store it in their smartphones.

Netshoes, the fourth fastest-growing retailer in the Mobile 500, forecasts its mobile sales will grow 309% this year to $19.25 million from $4.71 million in 2012. It also recently added several features and functions to its mobile offerings, including customer reviews and express checkout.

As a whole, the 500 retailers ranked in the guide will rack up $30.5 billion in mobile sales in 2013.

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