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68pc of retailers overlook mcommerce investments: report

A surprising 68 percent of retailers have no plans for new or continued investments in mobile infrastructure for holiday 2014 despite the fact that many recognize mobile commerce as their top competitive weakness and the area of infrastructure in which they are least confident, according to a new report from eBay Enterprise.
Even as mobile commerce continues to be the fastest growing segment of ecommerce, it still ranked ninth as an investment priority in the survey of retailers. Many retailers also view Amazon as having a competitive edge in mobile commerce yet many are not investing in the omnichannel experiences that could help them win the battleground.
?Mobile is going to continue to be disruptive, because consumers are increasingly channel agnostic,? said Steve Denton, vice president marketing solutions at eBay Enterprise.
?The big news is that there's still plenty of time for retailers to act ahead of holiday to drive sales this season through social, email, display and retargeting, which are mobile commerce solutions and can drive great results,? he said.
The Amazon threat
The eBay Enterprise survey of ecommerce and marketing professional from more than 1,000 United States-based retailers with revenues between $5 million and $250 million evaluated their technological readiness ahead of the 2014 holiday season.
The findings in the 2014 Holiday Retail Audit suggest there is a lack of urgency among retailers when it comes to solidifying their long-term mobile infrastructure and strategy, opening up an opportunity for those retailers who are putting a focus on building mobile infrastructure.
For example, 51 percent of retailers viewed Amazon as a direct competitor heading into the 2014 holiday season, with 60 percent believing that Amazon has a perceived competitive edge in mobile commerce, 56 percent saying the ecommerce giant has an edge in inventory, 54 percent shipping and 44 percent returns.
Despite the perceived threat, retailers are prioritizing price, customer service and marketing over the kind of infrastructure investments capable of increasing shipping speed and optimizing fulfillment.
For example, multichannel retailers can optimize their bricks-and-mortar locations as distribution points to fulfill orders closest to customer location, thereby reducing shipping times and cost through inventory and order management solutions.
Data capture
Besides mobile commerce and omnichannel experiences, other untapped opportunities for competitive different this holiday season pinpointed by respondent include data capture and global expansion.
A key takeaway is that retailers are prioritizing immediate investments in customer-facing tactics such as price, marketing and customer service over strategic infrastructure.
While many retailers are not investing in mobile infrastructure, they are investing in more short-term tools that help them compete, such as online and in-store analysis so they can create more meaningful customer interactions that drive online and offline purchasing. The findings show that 29 percent are investing in social media, 22 percent email promotions and 12 percent search optimization.
Additionally, 87 percent of retailers feel better prepared to capture in-store consumer data, in part because of these investments. 
The investment in consumer data also helps retailers map investments back to a return on investment.
Security is one area of concern for retailers highlighted by the report, with 65 percent reporting heightened concern around data security at their company.
The concern is not surprising given such high-profile data breaches as those experienced by Target last year and Home Depot more recently.
Still, a full 77 percent of retailers surveyed reported they have not experienced a security breach to date.
Responsive Web design
EBay points to responsive Web design as one way that some retailers are adapting their brand experience and site content to new mobile operating system updates and devices without the need to re-architect infrastructure or reinvest in application development.  
?Although our clients have been focusing on mobile for the past few years, some retailers tend to be in a reactive position when it comes to mobile commerce, they tend to adopt their mobile strategies based on the latest consumer device that captures the loyalty of consumers,? Mr. Denton said.
?With the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus retailers need to readjust their mobile commerce strategies,? he said. ?Responsive Web design is a critical strategy that can allow retailers to swiftly optimize commerce storefronts for tablet, mobile and desktop viewing knowing that new device launches will likely disrupt their holiday mobile strategy.
?For those retailers who have made mobile a priority have an opportunity to capture significant market share if they can provide the best mobile experience.?
Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York