With mobile having surpassed PC usage over the last couple of years, Responsive design (a technique for building an commerce site that responds to a customer’s behavior and device based on screen size, platform and orientation) is a must-have. Not only is it better for customer UX, a well-designed mobile design says everything about the retailer’s brand.
Why is responsive capability so important?
1. Google says so. As of April 2015, Google has added “mobile friendliness” to its long list of ranking signals. This means that those who have done the work to optimize the user experience across all devices will have the edge in search rankings.
2. Shoppers Expect It—61% of mobile visitors (cite source?) move on to competitors’ sites after encountering a frustrating mobile browsing experience, irrespective of the how loyal they are to the brand. Case in point: 50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn't mobile-friendly.
3. It strengthens your brand: Brand messaging loses energy when it’s untethered on a mobile device. Having a responsive mobile canvas enables marketers to communnicate better messaging when they know how those messages are going to physically appear on a screen. Responsive design let’s you make the most impact by forcing you to focus on only the most valuable parts of the page or screen.
4. It's cost-effective and easy. Going the responsive design route means having only one website to build and manage. This makes a/b testing and analytics a whole lot easier. Responsive design also ensures a consistent brand experience across the multiple devices.
How Retailers are Doing Responsive Design Right
Though responsive design best practices are continually evolving, Google’s mobile-friendliness rankings will surely be a catalyst for implementing these new standards. Until mobile’s newest holy grail materializes, there are things you can and should consider as you move towards going responsive:
- Mobile shoppers don’t read; they scan. Smart retailers keep their value proposition up front and categorized so shoppers can instantly find what they are looking for.
- Make it easy for customers to take action. Organizations find the most success by ensuring their call to action (CTA) is prominent and makes sense in a mobile environment. Shoppers are more much more likely to click or “like” than to download or read.
- Less is more. Marketers need to use content sparingly, and to draw user attention with very selective links and graphics that quickly catch the eye and extend the brand experience from device to device.
Two primary strategies to improve customer UX and maintain brand consistency:
a. Focus on a shortened conversion funnel and on helping customers find specific products as quickly as possible. Mobile use is usually not so much about discovery or leisure browsing; it is about quickly locating something specific
b. For stores that also have a physical presence, make it easy to find the nearest location
How to achieve that:
- Block images that give very clear indication where they link
- Simple category drop-down menus
- Stripping out of ancillary categories that don’t make significant revenue contribution
- Less use of graphics at the top of the shopping funnel; Save the heavier graphics for product pages
- Upfront and prominent store locators
Here are three good examples of top-tier retailers, and how each has used responsive design for excellent customer UX, all while maintaining brand consistency. They all have a few things in common: simple, (mostly) text-based navigation, no superfluous messaging, and most importantly, a shortened product discovery funnel
With more people now shopping on their mobile devices than on deskptop computers, coupled with Google’s rewarding retailers who are better equipped to serve those customers because they have invested the time to develop flexible platforms with better UX, responsive design is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s an essential part of any commerce strategy today.
If you’d like to learn how Strands recommendation solutions leverage responsive design to move customer conversations and increase conversions: