May 23, 2012, 9:12 AM

Retailers get mobile-friendly

91% of retailers have a mobile strategy in place, a study says.

Allison Enright


Lead Photo

Nine out of 10 web retailers say they have some sort of a mobile strategy in place, according to Forrester Research Inc. and Shop.Org, the online retail division of the industry trade group National Retail Federation.

The two organizations today released the latest research from “The State of Retailing Online 2012,” with findings based on survey responses from 59 retailers, including merchants that operate stores, sell only on the web and manufacturers selling directly to consumers. This is the first part of the two-part report focused on how retailers are implementing smartphone and tablet marketing into their sales mix. 

Participating retailers say mobile generated 4.7% of their total web sales in 2011, with tablet users accounting for 3.2% and smartphone users accounting for 1.5%. 

The report further details how tablet shoppers can be more lucrative than smartphone shoppers according to key performance metrics. The average conversion rate and order value were greater for consumers visiting using a tablet computer such as an iPad versus a web-enabled smartphone. Retailers reported an average conversion rate of 2.4% from tablet users and 1.0% from smartphone users. Retailers reported an average order value of $160 from tablet users versus $134 from smartphone users. 77% of retailers say the average order value for tablet users meets or exceeds the average order value generated by consumers shopping from home or work computers, versus 36% that report the same for smartphone users. The shopping cart abandonment rate for tablet users is also lower, 62%, than for smartphone users, 69%.

“We fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers,” says Vicki Cantrell, executive director of “With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”  19% of U.S. consumers said in January they owned tablet computers, up from 10% before Christmas 2011, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which conducted surveys before and after the holiday.

Small and large retailers—that is, retailers with annual sales of less than $10 million or more than $100 million, respectively—cite their use of quick-response codes or other barcode scanning tools as the top tool they use for mobile marketing, even though only 15% of smartphone users say they’ve ever scanned a code, the report says.

Mid-sized retailers—with annual sales between $10 million and $100 million—say mobile e-mail optimization is their top tool for mobile marketing. 52% of all the responding retailers say they optimize their e-mail messages for mobile devices. Respondents also says that 20% of marketing e-mails are opened on mobile devices today and that e-mail is the second-largest driver of mobile traffic, after mobile search. 55% of retailers in the survey say they run smartphone paid search campaigns.

Here are the percentages of retailers who say they use the following mobile-related tools:

• Mobile display ads, 41%

• Tablet paid search campaigns, 39%

• Other location-based marketing, 27%

• Check-in campaigns, 25%

• SMS, 23%

• Tablet display ad campaigns, 20%

• Identifying device IDs, 18%

Comments | 2 Responses

  • That's a VERY small sample size. Can 59 retailers give us an accurate picture of the mobile landscape? I'm guessing this number is exaggerated based on the number surveyed.

  • I'm the markting manager of Movylo Shop, a mobile commerce solution. These stats certainly reveal the importance of mobile as a perfect channel through which blast any kind of deal. Having on your smartphone a tool which enables you to both improve the brand awareness and always keep in touch with your customers is of basic importance. Still the customers are getting costantly more savvy and thats why the mobile commerce solutions have to be user friendly and merchants must organize their sales proactively

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