Tests on websites of America’s top retailers show they may not be ready for mobile to represent a bigger part of their revenue.

Analysis conducted in September by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on Women’s Wear Daily’s list of ‘Top 100 Fashion Brands’ found that 83% have a mobile website for serving users on smartphones and tablets.

This indicated a slight mark-up on the 80% who offered the same in July 2014. However, with just 37% ensuring good site responsiveness across screens, whether or not they see the benefits in having mobile presence is up for debate.  

M is for meagre

While the likes of Victoria’s Secret and The North Face were praised for being able to scale content from desktop to smartphone without glitches, other retailers such as Casio and Joe Boxer were labelled as “mobile laggards” for their inability to perform on mobile.

IAB looked to provide an overall assessment of the companies’ mobile readiness by grading them on an ‘M-score’. Each rating took into account ownership of a mobile website and factors such as presence of a link to the app store and a mobile-optimised search campaign.

On a scale of 0-100, the brands averaged 61.85, but the researchers stressed that very few retailers should be aiming for the 100 mark.    

Joe Laszlo, senior director at the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, said: “Not all of the brands in the study are focused on e-commerce, but those with a direct retail presence have the strongest imperative to offer great mobile experiences.”

Laszlo maintained that even offline brands can benefit from having a good level of mobile exposure, leaving them to contemplate the implications of their M-score.

Apps and mishaps

M-scores were influenced heavily by a lack of attention for mobile apps, which represent a vital cog in the average retailer’s omni-channel experience.

Of the 100 companies tested, only 47% boasted an app on iOS, with even fewer using Android-based programs.

The survey also pointed out glaring calamities in the promotion of these programs, as just 24% of brands provided links to their apps via a mobile site.

Still, there were positives to be found courtesy of a high take up in mobile store locators (85%) and tappable phone numbers (64%) for providing information on-site.