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Is a responsive design right for your ecommerce website?

Is a responsive design right for your ecommerce website?  When an ecommerce site is responsive, it rearranges content based on the device and/or screen resolution of the end user for a better shopping experience.

As an eCommerce professional, what should you keep in mind?   

Here are some considerations:

  1. User friendly, improved user experience: When done correctly, responsive design can improve user experience. Online retailers utilizing responsive design are generally seeing consumers respond positively to the new, more user-friendly experience with decreased bounce rates and increased page views from mobile and tablet sessions.
  2. Mobile popularity; Boost in conversion rates due to responsive design is likely: A fully functional responsive designed site done right can boost conversion rates. Responsive sites make it easier to view products and content. Almost every person these days has a mobile or tablet device, and receive online store emails on these devices.  As users and key site traffic stats such as page views increase, consumers are more likely to complete transactions on mobile and tablet devices, especially when the check-out process is catered to these devices. Studies show that major brands have noticed a mobile and tablet conversion rate increase of over 20% since making the switch to a responsive designed site.
  3. Responsive design isn’t easy to implement initially: The process of making a current ecommerce website to be responsive will likely result in a complete overhaul of the site.
  4. Improved SEO and traffic: One of the major challenges with old online stores and websites was the need cater to various size screens, sometimes having to develop multiple websites to cater to these devices and resolutions. With a responsive designed site, the same content is utilized for desktop, mobile, and tablet devices, scaled to the resolution of the device. All traffic via mobile and tablet devices through a responsive designed site will utilize the same, thus increasing the total site traffic and backlinks to that URL, boosting rankings on search engines.
  5. Site speed impact: In responsive design, you are adding more code not only to your site pages but also to your CSS documents. As an eCommerce site loads, it will check this code to determine at what resolution to load the site at based on your device. With more code in place for a site to decipher, loading time for an eCommerce site with responsive design elements may take longer than a site that does not have responsive design.

In summary, responsive design is a growing trend throughout the entire internet. As an example, Attitude Inc., an online retailer has just rebuilt their site from scratch and is fully responsive, as seen in this link (all the boxes adjust to the screen as you shrink your browser window or adjust your resolution).  While not all online retailers have sites with responsive design, many are heading in that direction. Moving forward, it’s likely the number of sites utilizing responsive design will continue to grow as more consumers around the world increase their usage of mobile and tablet devices.


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