More Consumers Buying Through Phones, But Retailers Not Ready

A new pair of studies found that consumers are increasingly
buying products through their phones—yet many leading retailers aren’t
mobile-optimized.

According to a new Mobile
Commerce Survey
released Aug. 17 by Boston-based L.E.K. Consulting, some
two-thirds of smartphone or tablet owners have used their devices to make purchases.
Some 39 percent make purchases with their handheld devices at least once a
month.

In addition, more than 80 percent have researched purchases
on their phone at least once during the past year.  

In addition, half of mobile consumers surveyed said they
used at least one mobile coupon app during the past six months, and nearly
one-third checked a price comparison tool, like RedLaser.

“Now is the time for retailers and brands to ensure
that they meet the needs of the new mobile consumer, and are ready to compete
in this new marketplace,” said Jon Weber, vice president of L.E.K. Consulting,
in a statement.

However, another study released
Aug. 16 by Arlington, Va.-based 2ergo, a provider of mobile technology solutions,
found that 27 percent of the leading U.S. retailers do not have a mobile
presence.

In addition, only 58 percent of top retailers have a
mobile-optimized website, and 50 percent have a mobile application. Just 35 percent of those reviewed have both a mobile
site and at least one mobile application.

“There is a gap between shoppers’ behavior and
retailers’ presence on mobile,” said Michael Scully, managing director at
2ergo Americas, in a statement. “Retailers should keep in mind that
‘mobile shopping’ is about more than just facilitating an on-device purchase. …
The goal of a mobile presence should be about offering real value to customers
such as on-the-go price comparisons, inventory locators, store locators, easy
access to customer service, and product reviews.”

In May 2011, JCK looked at the impact of smartphones on retail.