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93% of UK retailers not planning to engage mobile shoppers this Christmas with mobile marketing

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It may well be set to be a mobile retailing Christmas this year, but it certainly won’t be mobile marketing’s golden season. Despite a surge in mobile optimized websites and apps for transactional m-commerce, retailers are being warned that they aren’t getting the most out of the potential for mobile as a marketing channel.

Of 80 high street retailers questioned by, err, mobile marketing and technology company 2Ergo, four fifths say they will not be targetting shoppers through their smartphones this Christmas with vouchers and coupons.

According to the study, only 1% of companies – which of a sample of 80 inexplicably means 0.8 companies – have a mobile marketing strategy in place. The survey also suggests that retailers are still more focused on getting customer email addresses rather than mobile numbers and so aren’t in a position to exploit mobile marketing.

John Stevens, joint group managing director at 2ergo, says: “The UK’s major retailers are missing out on a big business opportunity by shunning m-couponing. It’s been seven years since the launch of Orange Wednesdays, one of the most famous examples of m-couponing, yet many of the key retailers still haven’t caught on to the opportunity. Our data shows that response rates to a well-targeted mobile campaign average around 30%, but, despite the obvious benefits, many retailers are failing to make even a modest investment in mobile marketing. It will be interesting to see whether those retailers that have invested in sound mobile solutions are reporting better sales figures after the Christmas period.”

However, many in the industry feel that this may simply be a piece of research too far. There is already a lot of dynamism around creating and delivering m-web and apps services from major retailers in time for Christmas. Mobile marketing, many think, can wait.

Here at M-retailing we think that, while m-marketing is one of the key things that mobile brings to retailers, it is vital retailers get their m-retailing sites, apps and strategies working this year before looking at how to move to what is essentially stage two m-retailing.

The fact that a mobile marketing company is doing research to find out that there is a lack of mobile marketing out there, should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt.
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