Acquity Group scrutinizes the mobile offerings of 50 large merchants.

82% of 50 top retailers have a mobile-optimized site, 72% have a smartphone or tablet app, and 66% have both a site and an app, according to a new study by digital marketing firm Acquity Group. Acquity Group studied the 50 retailers in consulting firm Interbrand’s “Best Retail Brands 2012.”

Most of these merchants offer basic mobile capabilities, including shopping carts (88%), featured products (85%), customer reviews (63%) and contact forms (54%), but there is room for improvement in many areas, Acquity Group says. For example:

  • Less than half (44%) of retailers evaluated provide click-to-call functionality.
  • Although 76% of retailers offer product image zoom capabilities on their e-commerce sites, only 39% have this offering on mobile.
  • While the vast majority (98%) have e-mail opt-in options on their e-commerce sites, only 34% support this feature on mobile.

The study also found only one in 10 brands offers in-store mobile features such as augmented reality, in-store loyalty applications and digital bar code coupons.

“Now that brands recognize the importance of the mobile channel, their focus must shift to adopting forward-looking mobility strategies to augment their in-store and big browser sales channels,” says Jay Dettling, executive vice president of Acquity Group. “Mobile is no longer a separate channel for e-commerce. Through this research, we uncovered many areas where brands lack progressive initiatives that contribute to a truly omnichannel experience.”

The study examined the 50 companies looking at quantitative metrics across a variety of channels, which included in-store, standard web site, mobile, social, search and e-mail. Companies were awarded points based on their level of interaction with consumers across each of these channels and were further evaluated on a qualitative scale to assess consistency across marketing channels.


The brands leading the way in terms of mobile, in order of score in the Acquity study, include: Nordstrom Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Walgreen Co., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., Victoria’s Secret, The Home Depot Inc., Urban Outfitters Inc. and GameStop Corp. Rounding out the leaders and tied for tenth were Gap Inc., Old Navy and Banana Republic. Dollar Tree, Bath & Body Works, Big Lots, Tractor Supply and Rent-A-Center were the only retailers on Interbrand’s list without a mobile presence.

Brands received high marks overall for their e-commerce sites, Acquity Group says. The vast majority offer e-mail opt-in (98%), contact form (94%), featured products (98%), product images (96%), site search (98%) and a store locator (94%). In addition, all companies evaluated have web site uptimes of at least 95%, the study finds.

Fewer retailers offered emerging features on their e-commerce sites, including chat (24%), flexible pick-up and returns in-store of online purchases (36%), and the ability to check inventory by store location (30%), the study says. Only 36% of retailers currently incorporate video in their e-commerce sites, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Home Depot, Best Buy and Inc.

The leading brands on e-commerce sites, by Acquity’s reckoning are: Advance Auto Parts and Auto Zone (tied for first), Urban Outfitters, Best Buy, Nordstrom, GameStop, Bed Bath & Beyond, Toys ‘R’ Us Inc., Home Depot and Tractor Supply.

“Brands have a significant opportunity to leverage emerging features to increase engagement and position themselves more competitively against Amazon, eBay, and other discount and warehouse retailers,” Dettling says. “It is important for companies to evaluate their current offerings now and adjust accordingly, as we expect to see more flexible payment, delivery and user experience capabilities moving into 2013.”