Short Takes: Retail Goes Mobile for Holidays

It comes as no surprise that mobile Web traffic is growing quickly, as smartphones and tablets continue to proliferate. For retailers, that trend is becoming ever more significant, as users abandon their desktop and laptop PCs to browse and, instead, shop while they’re sprawled on the couch or waiting for a train.

According to projections by IMB Coremetrics, 15 percent of traffic to U.S. retailers’ sites will come from non-desktop devices during this year’s November holiday season, representing more than 100 percent growth over the same period in 2010. Meanwhile, around 10 percent of sales are expected to come from mobile, too.

Despite rapid adoption from consumers, marketers have been slow to embrace mobile, owing in part to problems around standardization and targeting. That budget can be more effectively invested in desktop Web ads, they say.

Retailers don’t have that luxury, though. If 15 percent of consumers are on mobile, that means a portion of their customer base probably is, too. As a result, IBM suggests they should be investing in “hyper-personalized” shopping experiences, as well as collecting data to inform cross-channel marketing programs and promotions.

Lots of vendors are now touting mobile site optimization platforms, designed to help retailers and marketers keep pace with consumer behavior and deal with the device fragmentation that continues to confuse the landscape.

In addition, Google launched its own campaign this week designed to educate marketers and retailers – a.k.a. its search advertisers – about the importance of mobile optimized sites. Consumer engagement increases 85 percent when a site is optimized for mobile, Google said.

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