Retailers fail to match consumer appetite for mobile

Less than a quarter of retailers are harnessing the power of m-Sites, despite consumers becoming increasingly comfortable with the concept of purchasing via their mobile phone.

A YouGov survey commissioned by mobile marketing and business solutions company 2ergo has found that 54% of consumers who use a smartphone to browse the internet would feel comfortable making a purchase via m-commerce. Of those uncomfortable about m-commerce, 49% find viewing content difficult and 34% cite slow websites as a key issue.

Despite this, 76% of high street retailers still do not have a mobile site or mobile-optimised content. Of those that do, almost 20% do not have m-commerce capabilities and a quarter are only optimised for iPhone users.

With the latest figures by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showing that by June 2012, more than half of the mobile phone users in the UK will own a smartphone, eleven million consumers will have access to the mobile web. 2ergo is warning that this tipping point should be a wake-up call to retailers that have failed to grasp the mobile channel fully.

The findings form part of a comprehensive research report, Mobilising Retail, which examines the perception gap between retailers and customers’ mobile habits. The research undertaken examines perceptions of using smartphones to deliver mobile loyalty schemes, attitudes towards apps and m-Sites, and barriers to successful mobile implementations for retail.

“The new generation of mobile operating systems has brought with it a new breed of consumers, no longer satisfied with simple content and features, but increasingly more comfortable with sharing data and transacting via mobile sites and applications,” said Colin McCaffery, Product and Technology Director, 2ergo. “Our research demonstrates that retailers are very slowly getting to grips with mobile, but are in grave danger of failing to meet customers’ expectations as mobile transactions become more and more acceptable.”

“Some retailers have gone down the ‘app for app’s sake’ route, which instantly narrows the opportunity they have to engage with customers on a long-term basis. In a competitive market, a robust, multi-channel marketing strategy can help retailers to revolutionise results – attracting new customers and fostering loyalty to generate repeat business. Simply paying lip service to mobile will increasingly alienate a retailer from its customers, as they become increasingly savvy mobile users.”