A survey of 93 qualified retail respondents by RSR Research [download page] finds that 86% strongly agree (47%) or agree (39%) that the purpose of their mobile strategy is to enhance their overall brand. But, as RSR notes in its report, separate responses from the survey suggest that while well-meaning on that front, retailers aren’t yet acting on that goal. Rather, they appear to be treating mobile as an add-on: indeed, 85% agreed that the purpose of their strategy is to serve as an extension of their existing e-commerce offering.
Part of the problem seen by RSR is an underestimation of the influence that mobile has on the consumer path to purchase, as 52% of respondents believe that mobile influences that path less than 25% of the time. In fact, according to August 2012 research conducted by Sterling Brands and Ipsos on behalf of Google, 2 in 3 respondents (who own smartphones and PC) report using multiple devices sequentially to shop online, with the path to purchase beginning on a smartphone for 65% of those respondents.
Other results from the RSR study show that retailers appear to be only taking the “safest” approach to mobile. That is, in order to improve their mobile presence, they are more likely to have invested in an e-commerce site optimized for mobile access (69%) than in a myriad of other mobile technologies, both consumer- and employee-facing.
As part of a list of recommendations, RSR suggests that retailers not ignore mobile’s influence, use mobile to further their insights into consumers’ complex paths-to-purchase, and think of mobile as more than just an extension of the online selling process.
About the Data: RSR conducted an online survey from October-November 2012 and received answers from 93 qualified retail respondents. 22% are senior management, and an additional report being directors and managers. Roughly 4 in 10 come from companies with more than $1 billion in 2011 revenue. 56% are headquartered in the US, and 56% have a US presence.