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Retailers failing to market to multi-device users, Yahoo-Kenshoo study concludes

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Despite comScore suggesting that 50% of all consumers’ online time is now spent on mobile, most retail marketers are failing to modify how they market their wares to meet the exponential growth in m-retail, says a study by Yahoo and Kenshoo.

The study features previously unreleased findings from a survey of 359 global search marketing professionals from both in-house marketing teams and agencies. It sheds light on the massive gap between consumers’ multi-screen shopping behaviours and the current state of mobile adoption in retail.

Most startling is that 19% of marketers feel their organisations are far behind consumer trends – and only 16.5% feel they are well head of consumer trends – when it comes to marketing.

The real nub of the problem is that consumers are using all three devices – tablets, smartphones and PCs – in concert when doing ‘online’ shopping, with 88% of smartphone users and 82% of tablet users reverting to the PC to actually buy things. And marketeers and retailers are not capturing data to help them understand this, suggests the report, despite 99% of respondents seeing it as very important or important.

However, even though there was an almost unanimous consensus on the cross-screen influence of paid search, many marketers still seem to disregard the unique qualities of each device type when it comes to campaign execution. For example, only 15% of the respondents indicated that they customize paid search ad copywriting by device.

“The simple fact is that the consumer appetite for mobile shopping greatly eclipses the mobile experiences currently offered by retailers. Many consumers are disappointed when companies don’t offer optimized sites or apps for their unique devices. Interestingly enough, advertisers believe consumers feel even more frustrated with the lack of device-specific functionality,” says the report. “Even though advertisers clearly believe that offering mobile-specific online experiences is important to consumers, less than half currently engage in these efforts, and many are not even planning to do so or exploring this further in 2014.”

It continues: “The data shows that there is clearly a disconnect here. Consumer usage of mobile devices (especially smartphones) is growing exponentially while revenues still lag behind. Advertisers themselves report that they are disappointed in brands that don’t execute mobile shopping experiences well, yet only half deliver on this crucial concern. The mobile battleground for capturing consumer sales is virtually wide open in every major category for a clear leader to emerge. Retailers must prioritize this initiative quickly or risk losing major market share to competitors who are able to get there first.”

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