The German retail business is surprisingly heterogeneous. This is the conclusion we draw in our research study “Retailers and the mobile Internet”, which is now available for free to companies from the business sector.
We evaluated 28 companies from the food, FMCG, clothing and media retailing business. One Third has not yet fully utilized the potentials of the mobile Internet it offers as a valuable channel to push sales, while another Third has not gone mobile at all. However, in contrast to our findings regarding the mobile prowess of car manufacturers, we also found some real revelations.
One of the forerunners in going mobile is mail order giant Otto, noticeably surpassing everyone’s darling Amazon, a pure online retailer, in our ranking. Ranked on positions 3 to 10 are the blue-chip companies like Real (foodstuffs), Mediamarkt (electronics) and Edeka (foodstuffs). Douglas (perfume) and Fielmann (glasses) are performing mediocre, while companies like Tchibo (coffee and various non-food articles), Weltbild (books and digital media) or Deichmann (shoes) have a lot to catch up. Looking at the whole picture, stationary retailers are performing worse than the mail order business. In most cases they are not yet aware of the advantages that smartphones offer to get customers to their points-of-sale (POS). Some interesting secondary findings are that Aldi-Nord (foodstuffs) performs far better than its twin Aldi-Süd and that the locally well-known brand for purchasing books, CDs and DVDs – Weltbild – is no match at all for Amazon. This indicates that the existence of a mobile sales strategy has not so much to do with the compatibility of a certain industry, as it has with the attention the managers of a company pay to it.
Source: aquarius research study “Retailers and the mobile Internet”, survey period: April 2011
For the design of our research strategy, we did not take into account whether a company provided exciting games as an iPhone app or not, but instead we investigated if the Internet marketing funnel “Reach-Involvement-Contact-Sales” has been effectively implemented for the mobile channel. Read on for the key findings of our research study:
Even though the big brands can easily be found via the mobile version of Google and 19 out of the 28 investigated companies paid for GoogleAds, they do not link to their mobile website, but to their standard Internet website. Among them are two companies, that even own a mobile website: Obi (DIY hardware) and Douglas. Only Otto, Amazon and Conrad (electronics) perform well in this category.
In general, the websites do not collect many user data or provide the necessary mechanics to induce users to give away personal data voluntarily. The sales model “mobile coupon” is not used at all. Even the most basic functions, like automatic location services are not fully utilized. Only a few mobile websites, those by Douglas, Fielmann and H&M, provide a shop search function based on geo-tracking.
Because in Phase 2 (Involvement) the amount of data collected from users is very limited and direct interaction with users is nearly non-existent, it is not very surprising that sales is not supported by any meaningful customer contact. A well laid-out dialogue concept targeted at different customer groups is missing.
Only 5 of the 28 evaluated companies (Otto, Amazon, Lidl (foodstuffs), Douglas and Conrad) entertain sales functions for smartphone users via a mobile website and/or app. Those are actually the ones following the road of mCommerce. Only 13 retailers mention or link to their POS, e.g. provide a shop search function, via their mobile website and/or app. Only 3 brands use geo-tracking to make the lives of users easier to find a shop close to them, the other retailers require users to enter the ZIP code or the name of the location manually. Looking at the 13 companies that offer a mobile app, 12 of them make use of geo-tracking.
If we look at the enormous growth rates of the mobile Internet, it is about time for retailers to provide the necessary interface for their customers to buy products via their mobile phone. Clearly, the design of the sales tool has to take into account the application situation and interests of their customers, in order to provide the relevant products.
Those retailers, that are able to surpass the top-players Otto and Amazon in terms of customer service and mCommerce capabilities will find themselves with never-thought-of opportunities to enhance customer acquisition and loyalty. After all, the mobile phone is the key to reach customers 24hours a day, 7 days in a week.