Friday, January 20, 2012

Mobile a Work in Progress for "Prestige" Brands

Prestige fashion brands have been inconsistent in their adoption of mobile commerce and other mobile features, a study sponsored by L2 Research has found. That mobile remains a work in progress should not be surprising.

Mobile commerce and marketing encompasses a wide range of processes, channels and business objectives and functions. At this early stage, it might be unusual indeed if retailer programs and end user behavior were to produce an upheaval in terms of customer behavior or business results.

About 66 percent of prestige brands maintain a mobile-optimized site, and about 33 percent of these mobile development efforts do not yet support commerce.

Fewer than 20 percent of brands have created unique app content for the iPad and other tablets, a fact some will say is a missed opportunity as these devices register high usage among affluent consumers.

About 16 percent of brands have yet to develop a mobile-optimized site or mobile site, the study finds.

The study also suggests that mobile searches disproportionately are conducted by users with a higher than average propensity to buy luxury products, the study suggests.

This observation underscores the urgency to adapt search engine optimization, email marketing, and other digital efforts for mobile platforms, the study suggests.

As a product class, tablet devices have proven a boon to m-commerce. Tablet shoppers demonstrate a conversion rate of four to five percent compared with three percent on a PC.

Even when compared directly to smart phones, 25 percent of “dual owners” surveyed by Ipsos demonstrate a preference to purchase on sites while using a tablet.

Although 37 percent of all prestige brands have a presence on both the iPhone and iPad, only 16 percent have created a unique experience for iPad users rather than simply replicating the same app across both devices. Given the dramatic difference in screen sizes, that will not continue to be the case, one might argue.

“Location” also is the defining and unique smart phone capability. But we are early in the process of adapting marketing and commerce to user location in real time.

Only five percent of Americans use geo-local apps (check in services, for example) at least once a month, but these active users represent a high-value demographic. They skew younger, register higher income, and are twice as likely to share product information.

Also, 14 percent of global monthly Google searches for prestige brands originate from mobile devices, which is significant given that non-computer devices account for less than seven percent of traffic in the U .S. and less than five percent of traffic in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and U.K. markets.

Mobile efforts often also are marketing or commerce “silos,” isolated from other marketing channels. Only 28 percent of the brands in the Index are developing mobile apps promote them on their main sites. But 82 percent of the brands link to their Facebook pages and 66 percent to their Twitter accounts.

Nor are older communication channels unimportant, compared to the newer tools. During the second half of 2011, mobile email open rates increased 34 percent, with consumers opening 23 percent of all emails on their mobile devices.

About 78 percent of the surveyed prestige brands engage in email marketing, only 24 percent have links to mobile-optimized versions of their email content, and 55 percent opt to provide
links to plain HTML versions.

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