June 7, 2010, 1:50 PM

Most e-retailers have yet to plan for m-commerce

80% have not crafted a strategy for selling through mobile phones, a new survey shows.

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80% of retailers with e-commerce sites do not have a mobile commerce strategy in place, new research shows. 70% of those merchants, however, plan to craft an m-commerce strategy within the next two years, according to the “2010 Mobile Commerce Survey” from search technology provider SLI Systems.

There’s little sense of urgency because most e-commerce organizations don’t believe the mobile channel will significantly boost sales in the near future. Only 38% of those polled, for example, believe m-commerce will be important or somewhat important to their holiday campaigns this year, while 62% say it will not be important.

Still, the retailers are seeing mobile activity. 83% of merchants say between 1% to 10% of visitors come to their sites from mobile browsers while 12% say that 11% to 20% arrive through the mobile web, according to the survey of 419 online retailers. And those numbers are expected to grow quickly, SLI says. A recent Gartner report, for instance, states that by 2011 more than 85% of new mobile devices will be able to access the web.

“This represents a significant opportunity for companies that have optimized their sites for mobile use, and also shows that many retailers are still in wait-and-see mode,” says Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems. “Yet with such rapid growth expected in mobile commerce, online retailers that are preparing now for the influx of new business the mobile web represents stand to benefit significantly.”

The survey, conducted online by Zoomerang on behalf of SLI Systems, also found that:

  • 56% believe a mobile commerce strategy is very important or important to their overall business and 38% say it is important for driving sales.
  • 79% say site search is important to a mobile site strategy and 61% are confident site search capabilities on a mobile site generate additional conversions.
  • For companies looking to build their m-commerce sites, 31% will use in-house resources, 28% will outsource the work to a developer and 36% will use a combination of both in-house and outsourced resources. The remainder are unsure how they’ll approach their m-commerce developments.
  • 51% of e-commerce companies do not consider the iPad to be a mobile device (they say iPad users can use their current e-commerce sites), however, 31% direct iPad users to their mobile sites.
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