Specialty Retail is a competitive business. In fact, it is the only category where L2 consistently axes brands from the Index instead of adding them. In the past two years, C. Wonder and Armani Exchange have been eliminated from L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail due to shrunken market share. American Apparel – who has filed for Chapter 11 – is this year’s casualty.

A look at the assessment of American Apparel’s digital assets in L2’s 2014 Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail reinstates the importance of mobile. American Apparel was ranked 35 of 82 brands, and held the top spot in the Average category. However, its weakness was in mobile: It had a glitchy mobile site that rendered its omnichannel integration and sophisticated product photography useless.

As mentioned in L2’s Specialty Retail briefing, mobile sites are becoming the standard for brands rather than a sign of thinking ahead. Just 3% of brands Specialty Retail brands in L2’s upcoming study lacked a mobile-optimized site vs. 9% in 2014.

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Furthermore, many mobile site features are becoming standard. For example, 97% of Specialty Retail mobile sites had a store locator. Features such as inventory check and in-store pickup arrangement are still sparse, but investment has increased significantly over the past year.

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