Survey: Mobile tops retailers’ priority lists

Washington, D.C. -- Retailers overwhelmingly agree mobile must be the number one priority for their digital business in 2014, according to the 2014 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc. State of Retailing Online survey. More than half (53%) marked mobile efforts as a top priority, identifying responsive design, mobile site optimization, and tablet redesign among key focus areas.

“Retailers grew their digital business with impressive strength in 2013, reflecting their laser focus on improving the customer experience across all of their channels, striving for a ‘mobile first’ mindset that will be a key driver in all business decisions,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “In 2014, they will continue investing to further their relationships with customers, exploring everything from personalization and site usability to all things mobile.”  

On average, retailers’ total 2013 smartphone revenue grew 113% over 2012, and tablet revenue grew 86% over the same period. The survey also found that 21% of retailers’ web revenue derived from either a smartphone or tablet in 2013.

In other survey findings:

• More than one-third (36%) of retailers surveyed are prioritizing improved marketing efforts as they continue to focus on both retaining and acquiring new customers. In fact, repeat customers in 2014 will grow in importance: the survey found that half (51%) of web revenues are being driven by these shoppers and nearly two-thirds (63%) note that repeat customers drove more web sales in 2013 than in 2012.

• Four-in-10 (46%) retailers surveyed planning to engage in some site overhaul. Efforts will focus on site personalization and usability enhancements, or the reconfiguration of the core site experience to positively affect conversion rates. As retailers report average conversion rates of approximately 2.7%, even small gains can bring meaningful revenue growth.

With 82% of retailers surveyed reporting sales growth in 2013, online retailers must begin to look at new areas of opportunity for continued growth in the coming year.

“Online retailers have proven themselves to be resourceful, resilient, and tenacious, — thriving in spite of fluctuations in the economy,” said Forrester research VP and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “But to continue building on this story of growth, retailers should begin to focus on new areas of opportunity in 2014, such as improving mobile conversion rates and taking an omnichannel-centric business approach.”