First the good...mobile usage in Canada has increased exponentially in the past year. Not surprisingly, the growth is strongest among the Millennial set, of which 90% own a smartphone, up 60% from a few years ago. Comscore reports that approximately 55% of time spent online by the Millennial demographic is through a mobile device, giving them access 24/7 to a retailer’s mobile commerce site at the press of a button.
Now the bad...a poorly designed site that doesn’t provide a compelling, appropriate mobile experience results in higher rates of abandoned online shopping carts. Jumio reports that over 2/3 of mobile baskets are abandoned due to a poor checkout experience. Retailers should take heed, as this is a compelling case to take a critical look at your mobile experience. Even a half a percent increase in mobile conversion or slight reduction in abandoned baskets could represent hundreds of thousands of dollars in top line revenue. For an engaging and personalized shopping experience, retailers must leverage responsive web design (RWD) to create such an ecommerce experience.
What does Responsive Web Design mean?
There exists a major difference between mobile-optimized sites and a site leveraging RWD. Mobile-optimized websites (i.e. M.company.com) essentially creates a duplicate website of the non-mobile pages. Therefore, if a shopper surfing the Internet on their desktop or tablet attempts to access it they may see some wonky design features and formatting flaws that make the site difficult to navigate. Search engines or link shares can even take shoppers to a brand’s mobile site by accident, making the shopping experience clunky and awkward to use. If these “mobile-optimized” ecommerce sites are not accessed on a smartphone or mobile device, retailers run the risk of pushing away consumers and potential purchases due to a high barrier to use.
RWD detects that a customer is on a touch-enabled device, and adjusts the display size and user experience to suit it accordingly. The RWD approach to website design, known as progressive enhancement, allows for the design of a site that works well in a set number of form factors based on target customers to ensure that the experience is optimized for shopping on that particular device.
Creating an Unforgettable Mobile Experience
The most important element to developing a responsive mobile experience for your brand is understanding your customer. Depending on shopper demographics, the type of products you are selling online, whether you have physical stores or not, psychographics and needs of your customers, there will likely be significant differences in your customers’ desired mobile experience. Springer, Kroger, and UK’s Nook sites are all great examples of how a RWD should function and interact on any given device. Whether consumers view these sites on their phones, tablets, or computers, the website responds to the device they’re using and creates the right experience.
Leveraging an agile approach to designing mobile experiences can help retailers respond nimbly to customer context and provide an optimized shopping interaction based on true customer behaviour. Lean product design and iterative development in mobile are particularly powerful when coupled with multi-variate testing as it helps a product development team consistently and quickly respond to customer demands, as well as invest in a validated product, versus investing in a potential disaster.
The goal of providing a unique and engaging RWD mobile experience should be to offer an optimal shopping portal to the customer, regardless of the device they use to access a retailer’s online properties.
Start and end with the customer, and retailers will be well on their way to reaching shopper satisfaction not just in-stores, but wherever shoppers decide to buy!
So, now the question remains, is your retail site mobile-ready?
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.