State of Retailing Online: Mobile Tops 2014 Priority List

Jan 30, 2014 7:24 AM  By

Corresponding with the growing number of mobile users among shoppers, 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. (Nasdaq: FORR) State of Retailing Online survey, which surveyed 70 retailers in October and November 2013, 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.”

Retailers understand how crucial a well-executed mobile strategy is to their overall growth:  on average, retailers’ total 2013 smartphone revenue grew 113 percent over 2012, and tablet revenue grew 86 percent over the same period. The survey also found that 21 percent of retailers’ web revenue derived from either a smartphone or tablet in 2013.

Retailers Shifting Objectives to Focus on Customer Experience

Digital retailing fundamentals such as improved usability and conversion rates continue to be important for retailers, and this year loyalty and CRM efforts also figure prominently on priority lists. For instance, 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.

Many retailers will also prioritize site redesign in 2014, with 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 percent, even small gains can bring meaningful revenue growth.

For Continued Growth, Look to New Opportunities in 2014

With 82 percent 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 Vice President 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.”

About The Study  

The State Of Retailing Online research series, which provides eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals with annual industry benchmarks of marketing and business investment and activities, surveyed 70 companies. Industries surveyed included apparel, footwear, general merchandise, home furnishings, and personal care.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading community for digital retail, offering thought leadership through original research and gold-standard events. The community is made up of exclusive networking groups and committees that lead the global conversation surrounding innovative e-commerce trends and digital retail. Shop.org members include some of the world’s largest and most respected retail, technology, research, and consulting companies. http://www.shop.org/

Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow. For more information, visit www.forrester.com.