Studies Find Major Brands, Retailers Slow to Adopt and Optimize for Mobile

There are two recent studies that show national brands and retailers lagging in their adoption of mobile or under-investing in mobile as a platform. Brand consultancy L2 just this week released what it's calling "Prestige 100 Mobile IQ." Basically a survey of top brands' mobile presences and their efficacy, the firm found that most top brands were not taking mobile (and tablets) seriously enough, despite increasing consumer adoption.

Roughly 30% of the top 100 "iconic" brands surveyed didn't have a mobile app and 33% didn't have a mobile-optimized website. According to the study 52% had both an app and a mobile site, while 16% had no mobile site or app -- no mobile strategy whatsoever. Overall 44% of the brands qualified as "feeble" from a "mobile IQ" standpoint. 

The top 10 brands with successful mobile sites/apps and strategies, according to the survey, were the following: 

  1. Sephora
  2. Nordstrom
  3. Macy’s
  4. NET-A-PORTER
  5. Bloomingdale’s
  6. L’Occitane en Provence (tie)
  7. Tiffany & Co. (tie)
  8. Neiman Marcus
  9. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  10. Estée Lauder

In a related set of findings, ForeSee Results measured consumer satisfaction with leading retailer mobile sites and compared those to online satisfaction scores. ForeSee found that most retailers and ecommerce sites' mobile ratings were lower than those for their PC websites. (Apple was the exception, with a mobile rating that was greater than its PC-experience rating.) 

It's not entirely clear, at first glance, whether these scores mean consumers found the retailers' mobile sites sub-par or whether they simply preferred the PC sites. Let's assume, however, that it's the former and consumers were expressing dissatisfaction with these mobile sites. 

If so, there will be near-term consequences in terms of lost opportunities as well as a negative brand impact among those companies that fail to optimize for mobile. Mobile and tablets are no longer a novelty phenomenon that can be addressed "later." Mobile internet access will eclipse PC internet usage in the next three to five years. Time spent with mobile apps is already greater than time spent online according to calculations from Flurry Analytics. 

 http://blog.flurry.com/Portals/41620/images/Flurry_Browsing_vs_AppUsage_Dec2011-resized-600.png

The "takeaway" from these two pieces of research is that you can no longer simply rely on your PC site. Brands and retailers must have an optimized mobile presence. But it's not enough to have a "mobile presence;" brands and e-commerce sites must deliver a positive mobile experience to their customers, which means all of the following:

  • an HTML5, mobile-optimized site
  • an iPhone app
  • an iPad app
  • Android app (soon for Kindle Fire tablet too)

These investments are rapidly becoming "tablet stakes" and those that fail to "ante up" will suffer.