Retailers Leveraging Tablets to Elevate Brand, Boost Sales

With more than 60 million Americans forecast to own a tablet computer by the end of 2012, retailers say tablets are driving an increasingly larger share of their web revenue.  According to the 2012 Shop​.org/​F​o​r​r​e​s​ter Research Inc. State of Retailing Online survey, 49% of retailers say their average order value via a tablet is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website. 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 59 companies. 

When it comes to actual sales retailers are reporting, the survey found tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers’ total web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive web sales and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience,” said Shop​.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”

EMAIL, SEARCH STILL INVALUABLE; QR CODES EMERGE AS POPULAR MOBILE MARKETING TOOL WITH RETAILERS OF ALL SIZES

For retailers, search and email are still king. Eight in 10 retailers say search and email are the top two drivers of a company’s web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails opened in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device.

Additionally, QR codes have become more standard elements of retailers’ mobile marketing efforts within their stores and in advertising. Three-​quarters (75%) say they now offer customers the 2D technology and other barcode scanning options. For companies with less than $10 million and more than $100 million in annual online sales, QR codes rank as the leading mobile marketing tool in terms of usage. Mid-​size retailers rely more heavily on mobile email optimization, with QR codes coming in second.

RETAILERS STILL LEARNING FROM CONSUMERS' MOBILE BEHAVIORS

Though it’s hard not to notice the mobile revolution in progress, retailers are still adjusting to the sea of change that mobile is having on consumer shopping behavior – and thus on retailers’ marketing initiatives. In terms of marketing, retailers say that, on average, 3.9% of their total interactive marketing budgets this year are dedicated to mobile advertising, suggesting a strategy of testing and measuring consumer response.

Retailers have been apprehensive about committing to bigger mobile commerce and advertising budgets because consumer behavior and the device landscape are changing so quickly,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “eCommerce on desktops and laptops took time too. But eventually, we expect that retailers will grow their mobile marketing budgets to address the fact that the mobile channel has unique aspects, like location-​triggered messaging, that can be compelling ways for brands to connect with shoppers.”

[Source:  "2012 Shop​.org/​F​o​r​r​e​s​ter Research Inc. State of Retailing Online survey."  Shop​.org/​N​a​t​i​o​nal Retail Federation; conducted by Forrester Research.  23 May 2012.  Web.  29 May 2012.]