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Online Retailers Are Social, Not Mobile for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is shaping up to be a social time of the year, especially for online retailers. On Monday, ebay Enterprises released its 2014 Holiday Retail Audit revealing that online retailers are focusing less on strategic infrastructure and investing more in consumer facing tactics like social media and customer service. In particular, they plan on prioritizing marketing efforts equipped with analytical and data capture capabilities including social media, email promotions and search engine optimization.

Despite retailers’ eagerness to boost their presence on social media, the survey found that most are still slow to enhance mobile commerce. Retailers named mobile commerce as the top competitive weakness, but the survey showed that most have little to no plans to improve their mobile infrastructure any time soon. Sixty-eight percent of respondents did not express plans for new or continued investments in mobile infrastructure for holiday 2014.

The report noted that retailers should expect new mobile and tablet devices to rattle their existing retail strategies and brand experiences for the remainder of the year.

Mark Lavelle, eBay Enterprise senior vice president of global product, said, “As mobile purchasing continues to grow exponentially, a lack of investment in mobile commerce this holiday season provides retailers who have made this a priority an opportunity to capture significant market share if they can provide the best mobile experience.” He added, “Responsive web design can be a strategic investment for retailers that want to offer a seamless mobile experience across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.”

More than half of the 1,000 online retailers surveyed consider Amazon a direct competitor, citing its perceived competitive edge in mobile commerce, inventory, shipping and returns, however, Tom Baron, eBay’s head of omnichannel operations North America, said retailers can nab market share with speedy deliveries.

Baron said, “Retailers have an opportunity to win this battleground by increasing their delivery speed. Multichannel retailers can optimize their brick-and-mortar locations as distribution points to fulfill orders closest to customer location, reducing shipping times and cost through inventory and order management solutions.” He added, “Retailers have implemented these omnichannel solutions in as little as 99 days, experiencing greater customer satisfaction, improved margins and increased sales.”