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UK retailers to ramp up mobile investments in 2012

16th Feb 2012
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Nearly half of UK retailers are planning to increase investments in mobile by the end of 2012 as customers demand more convenience, a new study has shown.

Research firm Coleman Parkes surveyed 100 senior executives at the UK’s top retailers and found cross channel retailing remains a clear priority for UK retailers. Over three quarters of respondents believed investment to enhance multichannel customer experience will boost retail sales this year.

According to the study, 48% of those surveyed are planning to enhance investments in mobile offerings. Over half (53%) of those investments will be directed towards online websites for mobile, whereas 44% plan to facilitate mobile transactions.

The research, commissioned by information management company Stibo Systems, showed a consumer demand for convenience, with 71% of retailers reporting a sharp growth in shoppers requesting same-day delivery. Half of the respondents also believed consumers expect shopping on the move via transactional mobile sites.

To cope with the rise of mcommerce, the study identified comprehensive product information as the most important aspect of a retailer’s website in terms of product pages (56%), ahead of images (13%), consumer reviews (12%), links to similar products (9%) and rich content (8%).

Ian Parkes, Director at Coleman Parkes states: “This research provides a comprehensive overview of the multi-channel landscape for 2012 and ‘SoLoMo’ (social, location and mobile) seem to be the biggest growth areas. We have found that retailers recognise the importance of mobile commerce, and realise that consumers are moving on from using mobile devices simply for browsing to actively purchasing. Our findings suggest that the shrewdest retailers will now be preparing for internationalisation and geo-spatial retailing, yet maintaining detailed product information across multiple channels remains the biggest priority.”

Mark Thorpe, MD UK at Stibo Systems, said: “Mobile is a growing facet of a retailer’s multichannel strategy, and while retailers have long been aware of it, most have not actively moved towards putting a proper mobile strategy in place. Our previous research has found that consumers aren’t satisfied with their mobile shopping experience, so it is promising that retailers now recognise the need to focus on their multichannel offerings.”

The report aimed to understand the key barriers facing major retailers in 2012, which respondents identified as lack of budget and legacy technology systems.

Thorpe added: “Worryingly, lack of ‘know how’ was cited by 15% of retailers as a reason for slow implementation of mcommerce. This, coupled with consumer demands for a more enriched shopping experience including more social interactions and product information, shows that retailers need to invest in the right technology to underpin their multichannel offering to manage master product data across all channels.”

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