June 26, 2013 08:00 ET

Survey: Retailers Say Mobile Is Paying Off in Customer Loyalty, Not Mobile Transactions

EPiServer Study Finds Retailers View Customer Experience Management and Personalization as Most Effective Uses of Mobile Today

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 26, 2013) - As mobile continues to change the way consumers interact with their favorite brands and retailers, ecommerce experts are finding that the biggest return on mobile today is from increased customer loyalty and personalization, rather than mobile transactions. According to a survey of retailers conducted by EPiServer at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE 2013), 46% of retailers who already have a mobile strategy in place and 74% of retailers who are planning to implement a mobile strategy in the coming year, are using mobile primarily to increase customer loyalty and/or provide a more personalized experience for consumers.

Of the more than 100 organizations surveyed, only 22% said that mobile transactions accounted for more than 20% of their sales. Though that number is up from 16% in 2012, in a similar survey EPiServer conducted at IRCE 2012, the research suggests that, unless you're Amazon, or eBay, mobile transactions aren't the primary driver of ROI stemming from mobile strategies. Even among pure-play web merchants with a mobile strategy in place, a whopping 60% said mobile transactions accounts for less 20% of their sales, with the remaining 40% indicating that mobile commerce made up only between 20% and 40% of sales. To that end, only 8% of those surveyed said they use their mobile strategy for sales, compared to the 46% that use it for customer loyalty and personalization.

"We call it the 'Amazon effect,'" said Bob Egner, Vice President of Product Management at EPiServer. "As ecommerce powerhouses like Amazon and eBay make it increasingly difficult to compete on price, retailers are using mobile as a way to differentiate themselves through convenience and brand loyalty. We see that retailers are still not completely sold on the ROI of a mobile strategy that focuses on mobile transactions. Furthermore, retailers are realizing a higher return and an increase in repeat business when they provide their customers with a positive experience that fosters loyalty and convenience, rather than when they build out a complex transaction model."

The survey also found that in the next three to five years, 60% of respondents plan to make the greatest investment in their website, up 1% from 2012. Thirty-five percent respondents indicated that their greatest investment will be in mobile, up 11% from 2012, and 5% said their social strategy will be their greatest investment, down 17% from 2012.

EPiServer conducted a survey of CEOs, Vice Presidents, Directors and e-commerce Managers at more than 100 organizations including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, catalogers, web-only merchants and local retailers. The full report of survey statistics can be found here.

About EPiServer
EPiServer connects ecommerce and digital marketing to help business create unique customer experiences, which generates business results. EPiServer's platform combines content, e-commerce and multi-channel marketing capabilities to work full-circle for businesses online, from intelligent optimization, lead-generation through to conversion and repeat business.

Sitting at the centre of the digital marketing ecosystem, EPiServer empowers online and IT professionals to create superior customer experience for more than 20,000 websites worldwide. Built on .net, and supported by a pioneering partner network of over 630partners in over 30 countries, EPiServer's platform gives customers the ability to deliver the right content to the right person in the right format at a time that suits them. This approach means customers can maximize their investment in digital marketing and increase ROI. The company was founded in 1994 and has offices in the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain, UAE and the United Kingdom. EPiServer is controlled by the IK2007 Fund. IK Investment Partners is a European private equity firm with Nordic roots, managing EUR 5.7 billion in fund commitments.