Leading Retailers Still Not Optimized for eCommerce

It’s a head-scratching reality that underscores just how unprepared most retailers remain in the face of new opportunities born of the recent eCommerce revolution.

According to an insightful study commissioned by Zmags, an up-and-coming provider of rich media mobile and social merchandising, only one-third of the top 100 online retailers are truly “ready” for eCommerce today.

Put differently, roughly two-thirds of the world’s biggest online retailers haven’t yet optimized their websites for tablets like Apple’s iPad and other prominent mobile devices that are very inviting to online shoppers.

“Adequate Enough”

Zmags finds that most retailers are bypassing tablet-ready websites and eCommerce platforms in favor of the easier, less expensive route: standard websites that deliver an “adequate enough” tablet user experience.

Further underscoring this lackluster effort to bring their online storefronts up to speed with the rest of the mobile community, two-thirds of the respondents admit to having built iPhone applications. But here’s the kicker. Only half of this bunch has implemented in-app purchases – a feature that is red-hot in the mCommerce space and among an increasingly mobile-savvy user population.

If you’re somewhat surprised by the findings, you’re in good company. W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags, was surprised too.

“What we discovered, unexpectedly, was that very few retailers-even among this elite group of marketers-are tapping into the full shopping potential of mobile and tablet devices. In fact, not even close to it,” Ford says.

“Only one quarter of retailers are ready to take a consumer through checkout over tablets, but 49 percent of today’s tablet owners said they plan to shop even more next year using their device. This reflects a serious disconnect between how consumers want to shop and the inconsistent experiences they are being offered. It’s a crucial issue that retailers need to address before their competitors do.”

Ignoring The Power of Social Commerce

Zmags found – not surprisingly – that all 100 top retailers now have Facebook pages to promote their respective brands. But only one of these leading global online retailers allows consumers to make purchases directly from their Facebook page.

Given recent studies showing that the addition of an eCommerce app to one’s Facebook page can boost sales by upwards of 15%, the amount of lost revenue across the online shopping space could be substantial in light of how retailers continue to discount the value of social commerce opportunities.

Zmags did, however, identify some retailers who are largely “getting it right.” The big winners are Gilt Groupe, Disney and Urban Outfitters. The three retailers were praised for having the strongest and most robust mobile offerings across most devices and channels.

Another 19 retailers “appeared to be making moves in the right direction by developing engaging content such as look books, catalogs, editorial picks, etc.” Zmags was quick to point out, though, that none of them had applied the “dynamic environment or optimized their brand experiences” across the full range of smartphones, tablets and Facebook.

To check out the new whitepaper from Zmags – “Mobile and Tablet e-Commerce: Is Anyone Really Ready?” – click here to register and download the eye-opening report.