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Retailers adapt digital marketing to capitalize on rise of mobile, online shopping

220px-IPhone_keyboard_unblurredA recent study found that retailers have adapted their digital marketing spending to capitalize on the growth of mobile and online shopping among consumers.

According to the Shop.org/Forrester Research study on marketing and merchandising in the retail industry, 87 percent of online retailers have already implemented or plan to implement mobile email optimization this year. Seventy-one percent will optimize paid search for smartphones, and 73 percent will optimize paid search for tablet devices.

The study also found that, on average, 28 percent of emails sent to customers from retailers are first opened on a smartphone.

“As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the United States reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell said. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.”

Eighty percent of retailers are most likely to invest in email and search this year more than last, an indication that retailers are shifting their investment balances in retention and acquisition. Forty percent of retailers indicated that they planned to hire for open positions in marketing analytics this year.

Retailers have also sought to improve the shopping experience through personalized and multimedia content. More than 70 percent of retailers said they will invest in video integration on their websites, and 62 percent indicated they would integrate recommendations and personalization features on their sites.

“Retailers continue to optimize the customer experience on their site and to that end have made investments in A/B testing, product detail page enhancements, and personalization mainstream,” Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said. “Going forward, however, we expect to see much more emphasis on checkout enhancements, as that is a key obstacle for direct transactions on mobile devices.”

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