National Jeweler Network

Online Retailing

Retailers focusing on mobile email, paid search

July 18, 2013

Huntington Beach, Calif.--The device is different but the methods are familiar. A new survey from Shop.org shows that retailers are shifting their focus--and their marketing dollars--to mobile, but are using well-known methods in doing so: email and paid search.

According to the survey, “The State of Online Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” conducted in conjunction with global research and advisory firm Forrester Research Inc., 87 percent of online retailers already have or plan to implement mobile email marketing  in 2013.

A total of 71 percent will use paid search for smartphones while 73 percent will do so for tablet computers.

“Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell.

According to the survey, 28 percent of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; that number increases to 42 percent for small retailers.

Given their stated focus on mobile email and paid search marketing, it is no surprise that online retailers are planning to invest more in those areas.

According to the survey, across all digital platforms, email and search are where 80 percent of retailers are most likely to invest more this year than they did last year. In addition, 40 percent of retailers surveyed plan to hire for open positions in marketing analytics this year.

The survey also asked online retailers about their plans for their websites in the coming year. Integrating video was among the top priorities, with 72 percent said they will invest in adding video on their sites. A total of 62 percent said that adding recommendations and personalization features will be their No. 1 focus. This includes capabilities that allow them to create different home pages and unique pages based on individual customers’ purchase histories.

Shop.org is the digital retail arm of the National Retail Federation. Surveys in its “State of Online Retailing” research series polled 65 companies in industries including apparel, footwear, general merchandise, home furnishings and personal care.