Report: Retailers shift digital spend toward mobile

Huntington Beach, Calif. -- Retailers are eying mobile devices as the best route to make the most of their digital marketing campaigns.

According to the latest research by Shop.org/Forrester, in the study “The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” 87% of online retailers either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in 10 will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets (71% and 73%, respectively).

“As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the United States reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touch-points now,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.”
     
According to the study, retailers say that, on average, 28% of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; the stakes are higher for small retailers who say that on average 42% of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.
     
Across all digital platforms, email and search are where four out of five retailers (80%) are most likely to invest more this year than last, signaling retailers’ understanding that they need to balance investments and resources in both retention and acquisition. Many retailers are adjusting their staffing accordingly, bolstering marketing budget allocations for search and email with investments in skill sets and staff. Forty percent of retailers surveyed plan to hire for open positions in marketing analytics in 2013, reflecting the need to wrestle down volumes of marketing data to create more effective interactions and an improved customer experience.

For merchandisers, improving the customer shopping experience is key. And for online retailers, those enhancements come in the form of video, personalized content, and more. According to the study, product detail page improvements, particularly video offerings, will be a top focus this year: nearly three-quarters (72%) will invest in integrating video on their sites. Another 62% indicate that recommendations and personalization features will be a priority, including integrating capabilities to create different homepages and creating unique pages for their customers based on purchase history.

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