Surfing the ‘net on a smartphone or tablet is a completely different experience to browsing at a PC or laptop. In general, using a tablet is a richer experience, with finger scrolling, pinch zooming and link tapping.
But when you come across a website from the dark ages, tablets struggle. In other words, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile, you’ll drive away visitors.
Back in 2010, between phones, tablets and PCs, there were around 100 unique screen resolutions. Today, this has more than doubled.
The solution is responsive web design. A responsive website adapts precisely to the device it’s being displayed in. The content and pictures automagically resize to fit the screen.
But is it the right choice for all eCommerce businesses? What are the pros and cons?
When you make your website responsive, anyone who visits on any device will have a high quality experience. That’s because whatever device they visit your store on, their experience of your brand will be consistent.
Even so, do you really need to cater to the mobile market? Here are some good reasons to do so.
Shoppers are going mobile. Over a fifth of traffic to ecommerce sites now comes from tablets and smartphones. If you’re not catering to this traffic, then you risk missing out on sales.
Shoppers like their sites mobile friendly. Research shows two-thirds of consumers are more likely to buy from a mobile friendly website.
Smartphones will soon dominate. Currently, around half of the UK population owns a smartphone. This is set to rise to 65% by 2017. What’s more, the more disposable income a person has, the more likely they are to own a smartphone.
Additionally, having a responsive site is better for your business in a number of ways. You can direct all customers to one website, so there’s no need to have a separate mobile website. You also reduce the maintenance that’s needed on your site. What’s more, your device-agnostic URL structure improves your SEO.
The main catch is cost. While eCommerce sites such as Shopify provide responsive themes, you’ll still need to call on your developers to ensure the migration goes smoothly. Before taking the plunge, you should check whether the increased sales from going responsive will match the cost of the transition.
Responsive design can mean forgoing features for the sake of functionality. If your site is feature rich, then responsive design may not be for you.
Additionally, there are benefits to having a separate site for desktop and mobile. Customers don’t necessarily want the same basic experience on all their devices. What’s more, having a mobile-specific site means you can target mobile-specific keywords, which is better for your SEO.
To go responsive or to stick with your current set-up? Let us know in the comments.
Photo link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zergev/8430388219/
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