L2 Think Tank, “helping brands navigate the digital landscape,” recently put out a report entitled “Intelligence Report: Mobile” where they assessed 100 luxury brands for their “mobile intelligence” — readiness to serve the mobile users in terms of site optimization for mobile use, mobile applications, social media and marketing support.
The brands assessed included:
- 29 fashion brands
- 24 watches and jewelry brands
- 18 beauty brands
- 20 hospitality brands
- 9 retail brands.
L2 found out, among other things, that:
- Even if 40% of tablet owners use their tablets while watching TV (and more than a quarter of these owners search for product information after seeing product advertisements), only 57% of the brands support mobile by having mobile optimized sites and mobile ordering or mobile commerce (m-commerce) functionality, e.g. Paypal payment and one-click checkout functionality similar to that offered by leading online (desktop/laptop oriented) retailers. This even with the fact that 9 out of 10 smartphone owners use their phones to look for local products and services and a quarter of website visitors come from tablets and smartphones.
- Even if one-fifth of the world’s search traffic come from mobile, only one-fourth (25%) of the luxury brands surveyed have search ads optimized for mobile.
- 2 out of 5 (40%) brands released a mobile app in the past 12 months but then 27% of the 238 apps examined have never been updated. Colin Gilbert, lead researcher at L2 Think Tank said developing yet another mobile app “frequently delivers low ROI” — especially when a mobile app is left stagnant.
Here then, are the mistakes committed by most of the luxury brands featured in the L2 Think Tank survey:
- Not responding to mobile trends by optimizing their websites for mobile and m-commerce;
- Not serving search ads targeting mobile users
- Developing an app with no clear long-term app vision and support, eventually leaving their app to languish.
Fortunately, the 9 retail brands didn’t commit the mistake of abandoning their apps. Instead they frequently updated their apps, added more functionalities like mobile ordering (shopping cart), and asked for more user feedback to constantly improve their app and service.
Why did the majority of the luxury brands neglect mobile-friendliness and mobile advertising? Considering that one out of five consumers check out prices via mobile while browsing in actual stores; or over two-thirds of them end up buying in-store?
Why did most niche and luxurious brands neglect apps while the retail brands took care of their apps? And that despite the fact that 80% of the time spent on smartphones is spent in mobile apps?
The answer is probably similar to the behavior of brands in the dining industry. The ‘luxury brands’ of the dining industry — high prestige fine dining restaurants don’t usually provide shopping cart functionality in their apps. They wish to maintain a certain unhurried ambience and don’t rely on high customer volume. The fast-food end of the market, on the other hand, do rely on fast turnovers and in-app selection and payment. And that would make for very diligent app development and maintenance. It’s just a question of priorities really.
This means that mobile ordering apps are probably not for every niche. However, even if you provide a mobile ordering system or not, there’s no excuse for neglecting a mobile presence. Always remember that people are flocking to mobile and, if you want your customers to find you, you’ll maintain a presence where they are: in the mobile world.
Phil Talbot is founder of SAAVI – the mobile ordering specialists and the resident expert in mobile ordering systems. You can follow SAAVI on Facebook.