mobile retail

Retail Report: What’s Your Mobile Achievement Grade? Most Retailers Are Failing to Deliver

Just when we thought we had our mobile strategies figured out, new technologies, more apps, and changing shopping behaviors change the game yet again.  Your websites and emails are probably now mobile optimized and you may have a mobile app in place, but consumers want more.  In a new report by NewStore called the “State of Mobile Retail” report, researchers used five measures to gauge how companies are performing in the mobile retail market. After crunching 500 datapoints for each of the 112 brands reviewed, the overall “mobile achievement grade” for the retail industry came in with a lackluster C-minus.

According to the report, “while consumers are living in a mobile-first world, the retail industry clings perilously to the past.” While retailers may understand the importance of being omnichannel, few are connecting the online and offline journey from initial interest to final purchase.

Mobile Shopping Trends

Consumers use mobile devices to research, interact with, and shop their favorite brands.  And mobile engagement is not slowing down. In the “Mobile Maturity Model: 2016 US Retail” report by DMI, the percentage of U.S. shoppers using mobile has increased across several key categories. Since the study they conducted in 2015, mobile has increased as follows:

  • 5% more consumers relying on mobile throughout their day
  • 6% increase in purchase made on mobile apps
  • 5% increase in usage of branded mobile apps
  • 3% increase in purchases made on the mobile web
  • Overall, 36% of consumers purchase on mobile frequently


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The report also identified segment of shoppers who showed the most advanced mobile adoption, called the Mobile Reliants. They are characterized by:

  • Having made a purchase on mobile
  • Using mobile every time they visit a store or regularly
  • Having 3+ mobile apps on their smartphones

The key characteristics of this group as defined by DMI include:

  • 25% of them purchase via mobile "very frequently" or "all the time"
  • Are mostly parents of kids under 10 years old (58% have kids under 10 years old, compared to 40% of all shoppers)
  • Over-index as affluent families (30% more likely to have incomes of $150k+)
  • Shop more often and are more satisfied with their shopping experience than the general population (69% shop in-store at least weekly, compared to 55% of all shoppers)
  • Are dominated by 25- to 34-year-olds (43% more likely to be in this age group) but in 2016 have expanded to include the 35- to 49-year-old age group

While mobile shoppers use their devices in numerous ways when shopping, the top 5 activities include comparing prices, accessing a coupon, taking a picture of something, checking a shopping list, and scanning a barcode.

What is the Next Wave for Mobile Retail?

While at one point, having a mobile website was enough, this is far from the case today. Retailers must constantly keep up and cater to the growing demands of consumers. In a 2016 report by Accenture, 48% shoppers said that smartphone shopping experience is maturing. This is up by 6% from the last year when only 42% shoppers found the smartphone shopping experience easy. So while retailers are improving, the main focus for brands must be on continually making their mobile experience more user-friendly.

So what are the capabilities that consumers are seeking that would make the experience more positive? According to the Accenture report, 47% of shoppers can’t wait to receive real-time promotions.  However, only 7% of retailers are able to deliver.  Consumers are also looking for:

  • 42% want the ability to automatically credit coupons and discounts, however only 16% of retailers are able to do so.
  • 37% want to use shopping list, item locaters and navigators. Approximately 31% of retailers have apps with shopping list capabilities and 4% have virtual store display capabilities for mobile devices
  • 37% of consumers also want to be able to easily order out-of-stock items from their smart phones. 43% of retailers provide this ability. 


Retailers must bridge the gap between the mobile capabilities they currently offer and the mobile expectations of consumers. With new innovations quickly changing the mobile landscape, the time is now before the chasm becomes too large and brand loyalty is diminished.

To learn more great tips and strategies on how to adapt to today's omnichannel consumer expectations download our free Retail Marketing Guide. 

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