Best in Class Mobile Audit Winners Announced

Acquity Group has announced the findings of its Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Audit that recognizes 14 companies for having Overall Best-in-Class mobile commerce initiatives.

The companies named to the Overall Best-in-Class list include: the MLB, NFL, NHL, Target, Sears, Dell, HP, Amazon, Playboy, Nike, Napster, 1-800-Flowers, Overstock and Disney.

The purpose of Acquity Group’s Internet Retailer 500 Mobile Audit was to identify companies and industries that were leading the charge with mobile initiatives and concentrating on mobile development that allowed their Web site to be accessible via a mobile device.

“The Overall Best-in-Class companies are those who recognized a trend with consumers turning to their mobile devices for more and more information. They showed overall best adaptation of the mobile commerce initiatives that are most effective in communicating with a brand’s audience,” said Mark Rein, Director of Acquity Group’s Retail Practice. “They should be commended for their leadership in developing an m-commerce strategy in a channel that, for the most part, is still underutilized today. Anyone who is not focusing on establishing an interactive presence on the Internet, as well as creating mobile initiatives that connect the brand to consumers in transit, are going to be left behind.”

The Acquity Group Mobile Audit Methodology:
As a leading provider of digital marketing, interactive design, content management solutions and IT planning services, Acquity Group has worked with many well-known retailers to extend and redefine their eCommerce capabilities for increased profits and efficiency. Since Acquity Group is currently developing mobile commerce initiatives for various retailers as well, the company wanted to obtain a better understanding of the current level of mobile deployment by industry.

Acquity Group looked at several metrics to determine the Top 14 companies, including their utilization of a .mobi top-level domain, mobile browser/device detection techniques, WAP-optimization, downloadable apps for various smartphones, and a mobile services landing page on the desktop site, among other factors. Acquity Group did not test for the native BlackBerry browser due to its expected poor performance, and instead tested against iPhone optimization and compatibility with microbrowsers. Microbrowsers would include Internet Explorer mobile & Opera for the smartphone.

“It was surprising to see the lack of marketing in place around many web sites’ mobile offerings,” said Adam Boysen, Acquity Group Project Manager who spearheaded the Mobile Audit. “In many instances, in order to access a web site’s mobile interface you had to assume they were implementing an “m.” subdomain. The lack of marketing around mobile offerings was much more common among middle-tier online retailers. In contrast, a few larger retailers utilized device detection techniques on their desktop site in order to present the user with an interface that’s optimized for their specific device.”

Other Notable Mobile Audit Findings:
Some sites accounted for common “m.” & ”/iPhone” redirects by not displaying an error page, but simply redirected the user to the desktop site.

It was common to find mobile applications that were not developed for eCommerce and were used as more of a marketing tool for their brand recognition/awareness. In addition, several mobile applications were developed to support hardware. Overall, the average adoption rates across all categories was lower than expected.

The Department Store and Books, Music & Video categories were identified as frontrunners in mobile solutions, according to findings in the Mobile Audit. The breadth of their product offerings and inclusion of higher-priced items shows that they’re acknowledging what consumers are likely to purchase through their mobiles devices. In many instances, a correlation could be made between the cost of the products sold and the adoption of mobile eCommerce as well, added Boysen.

About the Acquity Group Mobile Commerce Audit 2009
The purpose of the Acquity Group Internet Retailer 500 Mobile Audit is to identify companies and industries on the leading edge of mobile-commerce initiatives. Leaders were honored with the Acquity Group Mobile Commerce Overall Best-in-Class designation. Through an audit of all 500 companies, which looked at 10 different mobile-commerce criteria, Acquity Group identified the Overall Best-in-Class. These Best-in-Class businesses are on the cusp of the mobile transformation that promises to make shopping easier for consumers, at the convenience of their mobile device. All Best-in-Class companies are leaders in recognizing this trend and initiating mobile development accordingly. For more information on the Acquity Group Mobile Commerce Audit 2009, contact Meredith Darbyshire at 312-427-2470.

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