Responsive Design is a Must in Today’s Multi-Screen World
Katie Evans of the website Internet Retailer recently put out a story covering the success of online retailer, City Sports, as they moved to a website with responsive design. Like many companies, City Sports had recently seen through their analytics that they were getting an increasing volume of mobile traffic. The company noted that the mobile traffic appeared to be of generally lower quality than their desktop traffic. At the time, City Sports was using a website optimized for older, smaller smartphone screens and unable to dynamically adjust based on the orientation of the user’s phone. Working with mobile commerce vendor UniteU, the sports apparel and accessories company developed a new responsive site. For this site, the companies paid special attention to the different categories of screens (i.e. smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop), but also to the variety between screens within the category of mobile phones. The end result was a display that form fit to the screen in use and offered specific horizontal/vertical-friendly views.
In terms of reception, the update was an immediate hit. From the site’s June 2013 launch until December of this year, sales via phones have increased 145% compared to the same period last year. In the same date range, mobile traffic has increased 60%-70% and the conversion rate is up 30%. Additionally, mobile users are spending 25% longer on the website and increasing their pages per visit 33%. During Cyber Monday, these trends were even more pronounced; compared to 2012, sales grew 254% and orders increased 222%. Any way you cut it, the responsive website has proven a valuable change.
Though an extreme example, this case demonstrate the magnitude of gains possible by upgrading to a website with responsive design. The article cites a Mobiquity Inc. poll that found 48% percent of smartphone shoppers are less likely to return to a site that does not properly display on their screens or otherwise makes shopping awkward. Again, with mobile browsing soon to surpass desktop browsing, this audience becomes imperative. It is astounding that companies – especially those who make their living on eCommerce –could stand by as a huge chunk of their willing buyers choose to look elsewhere, simply because their website was too troublesome to navigate. It’s something akin to a supermarket only labeling isles for customers who drove there in SUVs. Considering all the time and money companies invest into things like affordability, quality, and customer service, I see no reason why user experience shouldn’t govern at least this much of an investment. The important takeaway for retailers, especially in the highly competitive sports retail, is that it’s time to get up to date because if you don’t, your competitors will.