September 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

The Internet Retailer Survey: Mobile Commerce

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At Sierra Trading Post, which began rolling out a mobile commerce program in 2010, the company designated a veteran e-commerce manager to oversee mobile retail development as it began vetting mobile technology vendors and testing its initial mobile offerings. With hands-on mobile commerce experience, Justin Johnson, Sierra Trading Post's web marketing manager, now heads up all mobile initiatives for the online discount retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, including the launch in early 2012 of improved iPhone and iPad apps. "Mobile commerce takes a unique skill set, but having skilled e-commerce and marketing professionals that we can get involved early on has been a big plus for us," Johnson says.

The small size of mobile screens means retailers must pick and choose which features to include in their mobile sites and apps. The Internet Retailer survey finds that 34% of retailers display product images on their mobile commerce sites, compared with 27% with site search, 22% with featured products and 17% with a click-to-call tool. Consumers are using these mobile retail sites and apps in a variety of ways, survey respondents say. 36% of retailers say consumers actively shop their mobile sites, 36% say consumers use mobile retail sites to research products, and 20% say shoppers turn to their mobile devices to compare prices and find nearby stores with the best deals.

For retailers who want to keep up with e-commerce leaders and generate more sales, their future very much needs to be tied to m-commerce, Greengart says. "There is an explosion of smartphones and tablets coming and that means even more consumers will have the power to shop anywhere they want 24/7," he says. "That's a pretty powerful incentive for more retailers to embrace mobile commerce."

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