Chicago -- Mobile (including tablet), marketing and personalization were the top three issues that retailers will devote the most time to in 2014, according to the e-tailing group’s 13th Annual Merchant Survey. Omni-channel and platform rounded out the top five concerns.
"Amazon is nipping at the heels of every retailer. Mobile has materialized as a revenue producing force and customer expectations have peaked, once again altering retailer investment strategies. Choice and prioritization are paramount in the context of this chaotic environment for survival and growth," said Lauren Freedman, president, the e-tailing group, a Chicago-based consultancy.
The survey, fielded in the first quarter to senior executives with omni-channel responsibility, finds that retailers are getting more aggressive in their mobile investments with one in three spending in excess of $100K on mobile. According to the study, mobile accounts for at least 20% of traffic for the majority of retailers; for one-in-five, it is responsible for more than 30% of their business.
“The exciting news is that revenue derived from mobile results sees year over year gains, where 50% of retailers report at least a 5% contribution rate and 32% report at least 10%. The payback is powerful and mobile’s ability to fuel omni-channel access is unprecedented,” the report states.
On the contrary, social has not played out for the majority of retailers: They report receiving less than 2% of traffic from social networks.
In other key findings:
• Sixty-one percent of retailers acknowledge that they are in the early stages of working towards superior online experiences. This is despite the fact that 75% agree that their mobile effort is critical to the growth of the business.
• Three-out-of four retailers will make investments in the customer experience arena while half place an emphasis on technology and responsive design.
• Analytics were once again cited as the No. 1 merchandising tactic (97% rank important) for customer retention. Additionally, given data’s increasing role for maintaining parity in the competitive climate, one in two retailers are evaluating big data to impact marketing despite existing constraints.
• In merchandising tactics, sales/specials/outlets ranked as most valuable, followed by email as a merchandising vehicle, seasonal promotions, keyword search and cross-sells.