Retailers Not Taking Advantage of our Mobile Phone Obsession

With 686 million smart phones expected to ship around the world this year, you would think that all of the major retailers would be taking advantage of this massive resource to increase their sales among those of us who are obsessed with these technological marvels… but if you did think that, you’d be wrong.

A recent study by ExactTarget based up their research into the top 100 fastest growing retail stores shows that unlike the Toronto business marketing clients we advise, very few of these companies are taking full advantage of this valuable resource. According to the study, despite the visual overload of signage located within every store, and Google’s recent report showing that 70% of smartphone users use their phone while shopping in stores, only 2% of the top 100 retailers made any attempt at SMS engagement and only 5% advertised any sort of proprietary app. These are ridiculously low numbers for the amount of money these corporations are spending every year within their marketing departments and to make it even worse, only 18% even bothered to advertise their website on any in-store signage.

These are all very basic, and very effective techniques that we use with our clients who hire us to help them with their business marketing in Toronto, so it really is inexcusable that they are not being scaled up to a point where it can be taken advantage of by these large corporations.

The next missed opportunity comes into focus when the ExactTarget study looked at the mobile websites of these corporations. Here’s a quick infographic to show you what they’re offering, and then we’ll get into why it’s so disappointing.

When was the last time that you found a major retailer who didn’t have a Facebook page? Or even a local retailer for that matter? Nearly every company that opens its doors today has one, yet less than half are promoting it on their mobile site. This same exact thing can be said for nearly every form of digital/mobile interaction imaginable, with the slight exception of email which just managed to squeak over the 50% bar at 56%. ONLY 56%, we want to make sure you read that right, barely half of the top 100 retailers in this study are offering their shoppers a chance to opt-in to an email service through their mobile website. This is also completely unacceptable as 100% of the people using that same mobile website have an email account. They won’t all sign up of course, but none of them can if you don’t even offer the opportunity.

We don’t want to sound egotistical, but it seems to us that some of these companies could help themselves out a lot by talking to a certain Toronto business marketing company…