As retailers increasingly utilise mobile devices as a touch point on each stage of the retail lifecycle, a new report from Juniper Research has found that annual spend by retailers on mobile marketing will reach $55-billion, almost double the $28-billion level expected this year. 
The report – Retail M-commerce: Mobile and Tablet Marketing, Advertising and Coupon Strategies 2013 – 2017 – found that the development of a mass tablet market had created new opportunities for brands seeking to enhance engagement with consumers.
With e-commerce migrating to mobile and nomadic devices, ad spend on both tablets and smartphones is continuing to grow strongly as retailers (notably in North America and Western Europe) migrate their own spend to digital in general, and mobile in particular.
Similarly, the report observed that mobiles were driving retail footfall through coupons, with couponing apps becoming an increasingly popular mechanism of distribution and coupon storage.
Furthermore, it highlighted the increasing trend towards the development of additional distribution channels – such as AR (augmented reality) and NFC (near field communications) – as mobile becomes increasingly integrated into in-store retail strategies.
However, the report cautioned that while retailer engagement with mobile channels had increased dramatically, many had still not optimised their sites for mobile browsing, registration or payment.
“If retailers truly want to maximise the mobile monetisation opportunity, then optimisation is critical. If you are using mobile advertising for consumer acquisition, you need to push users to a site with which they can comfortably interact; retailers that fail to respond to consumer demand will fall behind,” says report author, Dr Windsor Holden.
Other key findings from the report include:
* Brands are increasingly seeking to integrate campaigns across mobile social networks such as Foursquare and Facebook; and
* Brands and retailers need to ensure that mobile ads are frequency capped to prevent over-exposure.