Online sales growth continued to outpace that at physical stores in 2014, with mobile adoption stealing the show. On Cyber Monday, mobile sales accounted for 22 percent of online sales, an increase of more than 27 percent compared to the prior year, according to IBM Digital Analytics.
With that growth, however, came a number of hiccups. On Black Friday, for example, Best Buy's website experienced a number of hard outages, which it attributed in part to a "concentrated spike in mobile traffic." As a result, Elana Anderson, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Demandware technology, predicts retailers will go back to basics on their mobile initiatives in 2015.
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"A lot of retailers rushed [into mobile] and didn't really do their homework," Anderson said.
Manav Mital, CEO and co-founder of Instart Logic technology, said that while a great mobile site was a competitive advantage a year ago, in 2015, the lack thereof will be a huge competitive disadvantage.
"Retailers have realized that whiz-bang features like virtual dressing rooms don't make any difference if shoppers abandon their site because they are frustrated with site performance," he said.
Although Anderson anticipates most firms will focus their attention on optimizing their mobile sites, she said she doesn't think mobile apps are dead "by any sense." Instead, she predicts they will shift from pure shoppable applications to include such features as loyalty programs and editorial content.