The expansion of the e-commerce industry is so huge that it is even making some of the largest brick-and-mortar stores to start off with an e-commerce store as at least an option, if not completely switch to it. The latest example is USA’s Walmart.
The most important asset of e-commerce companies is a well-optimized website that allows customers to find and buy the products they need in just a few clicks or taps on their smartphone screen.
This industry was further expanded with the rise of mobile devices. Responsive web design stands as a unique solution, able to offer a standardized online shopping experience to all consumers, regardless of the screen size and OS on their mobile device.
In order to emphasize the importance of the responsive web design for an e-commerce store, we have created a list of the most important factors that necessitate this practice.
1. The Number of Mobile Users
One of the main reasons behind the importance of responsive web design is the rising number of mobile users. Well, to be precise, it’s the amount of web traffic that is been attributed to mobile device owners. At the moment, 51.12% of global web traffic originates from mobile devices. This number was at 48% last year, which means that this is a growing trend.
This number justifies all the effort companies have put into making websites mobile ready. This is especially important for the e-commerce industry, where the website plays a vital role in building a successful business. While creating a professional business website has never been easier, building a successful business requires some effort. Let’s see how many mobile internet users are online shoppers.
2. The Growth of Shopping on Mobile Devices
We have established that almost half of the Earth’s population has a mobile device. But did you know that almost half of those people are online shoppers? In fact, according to Statista, in 2017 almost 1.7 billion people around the globe purchase goods online.
According to the same source, 2.15 billion people worldwide are expected to purchase numerous goods and services online by the year 2021. All this information indicates that online shopping is bound to become a common practice for many of us. What does this mean for online retailers?
Since the number of mobile purchases follows the rising number of online shoppers, it is clear that owners of e-commerce businesses have to be able to meet their demands and make improvements to the shopping experience. Since an e-commerce website is the experience placeholder, responsive design is more than a recommendation – it’s a must-have.
Your prospective consumers will have to experience all the benefits of responsive design, thus significantly decreasing the chances of you losing them to the competition.
3. Search Engines Favor Responsive Online Stores
Responsive web design has been a hot topic in the online marketing community for quite a while now. It seems that all the experts in the field, including the team of SEO professionals at Moz, cannot emphasize its importance for SEO enough. Why is this so?
One of my friend at Imenso Software said, "it is because major internet search engines favor websites that are designed for mobile. This includes Google, Yahoo, and Bing." Why do they favor websites with mobile design? Because they put user experience first. The number of mobile users is growing exponentially, and there is no indication that this trend is going anywhere anytime soon.
Ease of use and improved readability are the main changes that responsive design brings to your customers. But these are not the only things that will benefit your online store SEO, you can find more about it here.
4. The Power of Social Media
Another important factor to consider is social media, as it has become more popular than ever before. At some point in time, you will probably fall back to using at least one social media platform for e-commerce website advertising. What does this have to do with responsive web design?
The most popular activities on smartphones and tablets are text messaging, recording videos, playing games, and so on. But did you know that mobile social networking also belongs to this category? In fact, in 2017 58% of North American mobile users visited social media sites via their mobile devices. This number is slightly lower on a global scale, and it is 34%.
This means that if you put an advertisement on social media, share some content or organize a promotional contest, a great deal people arriving at your website will be mobile users. So, if you want to make their experience delightful and your shop perceived as easy to use and informative, responsive design is your ally.
5. Improved User Experience
We have already mentioned the online shopping experience several times, but what does it actually mean and how can responsive design improve it?
There are actually a lot of things mobile users complain about when it comes to browsing websites that are not optimized for mobile. These things cause frustration in your potential customers and may seriously hurt your conversion rates.
Responsive web design takes each element in your website layout and makes it more enjoyable for mobile users. For instance, a hamburger menu is added instead of your desktop navigation bar to avoid small buttons and the frustration they cause. The size of the text also gets adjusted, as does each of the input fields. All these little things add up to deliver the ultimate delightful user experience.
And, remember, your mobile website has to have all the functionality the desktop version has. This inconsistency may go unnoticed by one-time shoppers, but it will definitely cause confusion, and ultimately frustration in your returning customers.
6. Huge Cost Savings
When it comes to ROI, responsive web design definitely wins against both adaptive web design and having two separate versions of a website. Let me elaborate. If you decide to go with adaptive web design, you will have static layouts that are predefined for six common screen widths.
This means that you, or your web developers, will have to make changes to all these layouts whenever you want to make an update – add a blog post, new products, discounts, and so on.
With two separate websites, the storyline is the same – a lot of time and money is going to be invested in keeping all the versions up-to-date with the latest changes. Depending on the e-commerce platform you are using, these costs can easily go up to several thousand US dollars per month.
Responsive web design offers a fluid one-size-fits-all solution. User experience will be the same for all of your customers, despite the screen size of their device. This applies both to desktop and mobile online shoppers. And when it comes to time and money, you will have to invest a lot less of both in website maintenance.
7. Better Site Speed
“Time is money” and “every second counts” are just a few of the very common phrases used in the business world. They also apply to the e-commerce business model, and it seems that time matters the most in this instance. Why?
Thanks to the research done by KissMetrics, we now know that almost half of the Internet surfers give up on a website if it takes more than 6 to 10 seconds to load. This not only costs you potential customers, but it will also hurt your position in search engine result pages (SERPS).
Responsive web design takes into the account the performance of mobile devices, as well as the screen size. By optimizing images, and other elements that are going to be loaded upon customer arrival, a good mobile design will make your website faster, thus preventing the bounce rate caused by the slow loading speed.
8. Increased Conversion Rates
When you take a look at all the benefits responsive web design has in store for e-commerce stores, it becomes clear that they all lead to one ultimate goal – increased conversion rates. This comes as the consequence of consistent and improved user experience, due to the subtle changes made to the layout and overall design of the website.
Responsive web design for e-commerce stores addresses and resolves all the pain points of online shopping. This is why your customers will be able to enjoy smooth browsing, and increased usability and readability.
9. A Competitive Edge
In the end, we have to address the competitive edge responsive web design brings to the table for e-commerce businesses. First of all, responsive web design is not a new thing, and the chances are that your competitors are already optimized for mobile. This puts your business at a disadvantage, both in terms of getting a higher rank in the SERPS and making it less of a headache for your mobile visitors.
And, second, if you do it, you will be way ahead of those who still haven’t. You should also know that responsive web design is not the ultimate solution for your online store. You should continue to improve the experience of your potential and existing customers. For instance, building a branded mobile app may easily be your next step towards claiming the world of mobile online shopping.
Hopefully, this information was enough for us to convey the importance of responsive web design on an e-commerce store. With the rising number of mobile online shoppers, a mobile-ready design is the next logical step for online retailers. As you can see, it will get you a better rank in the SERPS of popular search engines. It will also improve the shopping experience, thus delighting your customers, and ultimately increasing conversion rates.