Mobile first. That's the rallying cry for retailers looking to keep pace with the growing number of shoppers using mobile devices, according to the 2014 Shop.org/Forrester Research State of Retailing Online report.
According to the research, 53 percent of retailers identify mobile as their top priority with "responsive design, mobile site optimization, and tablet redesign" as key areas of focus.
"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 Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org, in a statement. "In 2014, they will continue investing to further their relationships with customers, exploring everything from personalization and site usability to all things mobile."
Twenty-one percent of retailers' online revenue last year came from consumers using either a smartphone or tablet to make a purchase. Revenue from using smartphones grew 113 percent over 2012. Tablet revenues were up 86 percent over the previous year.
While usability and conversion rates remain high on retailers' priority lists, this year will see increased emphasis on customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty. Repeat shoppers drove 51 percent of web revenues for the retailers participating in the survey. Sixty-three percent of retailers said repeat customers drove more sales last year than they did in 2012.
Among the areas of greater emphasis in 2014 will be personalization and changes to make it easier for consumers to use sites with their mobile devices.
"Online retailers have proven themselves to be resourceful, resilient, and tenacious, — thriving in spite of fluctuations in the economy," said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. "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 omni-channel-centric business approach."
Do you agree or disagree with the "mobile first" mindset of many retailers looking to improve their digital business results?