Businesses Pick Mobile Websites Over Apps

E-commerce growth will be fueled by sites optimized for handheld devices, finds Adobe survey.
Some 80% of businesses across a wide range of vertical industries are planning to or already have developed mobile websites as their predominant vehicle for conducting mobile commerce in the next year, according to a new survey by Adobe Systems. A downloadable, application-only mobile commerce strategy was the preference of only 8% of respondents in the Adobe Scene7 Mobile Commerce Survey, released Thursday.

Businesses' mobile strategies were highlighted in four main areas: promotions, commerce, product information, and branding. The latter was deemed the core mobile strategy for 75% of respondents, reinforcing the importance of the mobile channel to drive traffic and support different types of commerce, Adobe said.

"Multi-channel shoppers tend to purchase more; therefore, companies must effectively engage customers by delivering consistent, rich experiences across all channels -- including mobile -- to maintain and fuel current double-digit e-commerce industry growth rates," said Sheila Dahlgren, senior director of product marketing at Adobe, in a statement. "The survey results demonstrate the opportunities that exist for companies to fully leverage rich visualization features to improve their emerging mobile presences and drive cross-channel sales."

Full-screen image zoom and videos are the most effective way for mobile users to browse or display products on their devices, Adobe said, citing 55% of respondents who called both "indispensable viewing features." In addition, the most effective visual merchandising features were catalogs and brochures, alternative images, and zoom and pan, according to 96% of respondents.

The survey also revealed that presently, rich visual merchandising features are used by 18% of respondents for mobile commerce, however, up to 81% said they plan to deploy these features, "thus implying richer mobile experiences will be created and offered over the next 12 months," the company said.

The findings also indicate that if resources were constrained and companies could choose only one vehicle to drive mobile commerce they would opt to deploy mobile websites, Adobe said. "Those who have executed mobile commerce strategies will continue to make investments to improve the user experience and extend richer experiences to the mobile web, while those who have been on sidelines will dip into the channel and apply the learnings from their peers,'' the company said.

The survey, conducted in July, drew 446 enterprise responses worldwide primarily from the retail, advertising/interactive, computer hardware-services-software, and media industries, Adobe said. The majority of respondents -- about 75% -- were from North America.