May 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Retailers invest more in mobile commerce as mobile sales and traffic keep rising

Retailers invest more in mobile commerce as mobile sales and traffic keep rising.

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E-retailers are raising their investment level in mobile commerce as the channel shows it can generate real traffic and sales. 11% of retailers will invest $201,000 or more in mobile commerce this year compared with 8% in 2011. Another 19% will invest $101,000 to $200,000 this year compared with 8% last year, according to the findings of a new survey from research and advisory firm The E-tailing Group Inc.

The firm surveyed 147 senior e-commerce executives at retailers ranging in size from less than $1 million a year in annual sales to more than $5 billion.

14% of retailers will invest $51,000 to $100,000 in m-commerce this year compared with 13% last year, the survey finds. 39% will invest $50,000 or less, down from 49% in 2011. And 17% of merchants will not make an investment in mobile technology this year, down from 22% in 2011.

Big increases in traffic stemming from smartphones and tablets no doubt are a key factor driving investment. 26% of retailers currently receive 10% or more of their online traffic from mobile devices, while for 25% mobile represents 5-9.9% of traffic, the survey says. In 2011, only 9% saw 5% or more of their traffic come from mobile.

Like traffic, revenue stemming from transactions conducted using smartphones and tablets is up considerably. For 5% of retailers, 10% or more of their annual sales come from consumers using mobile devices; for 18%, mobile accounts for 5-9.9% of sales, the survey finds. A mere 1% made 5% or more of their annual sales in m-commerce in 2011.

Retailers may also want to make special note of tablet shoppers, the E-tailing Group says. 22% of retailers surveyed say the conversion rate for shoppers on tablets is significantly or somewhat higher than that for PC shoppers. 21% says it is about the same, 23% say it is significantly or somewhat lower, and 34% do not know.


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