If you run an eCommerce website, it might be worth your while to check how many visitors access it using mobile devices. Google Analytics gives you an easy way to look at this data, even letting you view just which devices people use to visit your website. The results might surprise you, and once you see how many mobile visitors your website has, you may think about going the responsive eCommerce website design way. This will make your website adaptable to all screen sizes, from smartphones to smart televisions.
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What Is Responsive Design in eCommerce?
Before getting to why you need a responsive eCommerce website, it makes sense to understand what differentiates it from a non-responsive website.
If you view a non-responsive website on a desktop or a laptop, it operates as it should. However, if you access it using a smartphone or a tablet, there is a very good chance it won’t function normally. Some elements might look distorted or hide from plain view, and you might also have to scroll sideward. The problem becomes even more complicated given the fact that mobile devices tend to offer portrait and landscape views.
When a website relies on responsive web design, a viewer’s device automatically adjusts how it appears and functions. This makes the content easy to view and simplifies navigation. For instance, the content might appear as a single column on a smartphone, but work differently with a tablet. Images would resize automatically instead of appearing distorted.
The importance of responsive web design lies in the fact that it ensures automatic adjustment of all the components of a website across all kinds of devices and screen sizes.
How Does Responsive Web Design Work?
This web design concept works by responding to a user’s environment and behavior, paying due attention to orientation, screen size, and operating platform. Responsive web design for mobile eCommerce ensures that layouts, images, and grids work in sync with any given platform, making the website easy to view and browse. In case the elements do not come together seamlessly, images may appear scattered, too small, or too large, and you may have textual content running off the screen.
Responsive web design relies on the use of fluid grids. Designers ensure using proportion instead of pixels to size down elements. If your website has multiple columns, a designer would not specify the exact width of each column, but how they should appear in relation to each other. For example, the first column might take 50% of the page width, and the other two could be set at 25% each. Resizing of media such as images and videos takes place accordingly as well, so they stay in proportion to all other elements.
The entire process of creating a responsive website includes using a blend of flexible layouts, grids, and imagery, along with using CSS media queries in the right manner. When a user switches from a desktop to a smartphone, a website needs to adjust automatically for scripting abilities, resolution, and image size.
A developer should ideally account for individual settings on devices as well. For instance, if an iPhone user relies on a virtual private network (VPN), the service provider might end up blocking your website. In such a scenario, your website should be able to detect a user’s preferences automatically. This takes away the need to develop multiple websites for different kinds of devices and regions.
The Importance of Responsive Web Design
If you’re wondering about the role of responsive web design in eCommerce, understand that this design concept comes with multiple benefits.
Improves User Experience
A typical non-responsive eCommerce website designed for desktops and laptops tends to appear rather small on devices such as smartphones and tablets. This often leaves visitors scrolling endlessly, trying to magnify content, or having to deal with poor navigation. Such an eCommerce website is bound to leave most users irritated or frustrated, and high bounce rates should come as no surprise.
Responsive web design gives you an easy means to improve the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of your eCommerce website. It ensures that visitors do not have to browse through clutter, giving them easy access to the information they need. This good user experience ensures that people visiting your website do not leave in a hurry.
Google Likes It
Google is of the opinion that responsive web design is the ideal way to go, with a website depending on CSS3 media queries to change the way it appears on mobile devices. In this case, while there is a single URL, one HTML code, and the same content, CSS media queries specify which CSS rules need to apply to the browser in question.
Google prefers responsive web design because it helps its algorithms to assign indexing properties to any page accurately, instead of requiring the signaling of existing corresponding pages for other platforms.
A distinct benefit comes in the form of saved resources when Googlebot crawls your website. With responsive web design, there is no need for multiple Googlebot user-agents to retrieve different versions of content. Instead, a single Googlebot user-agent needs to crawl your website only once. There is a strong likelihood that the improved efficiency in crawling may help Google index greater volumes of your website’s content, while also keeping it fresh.
According to Google, the benefits of responsive web design include having just one URL per page. While this simplifies how users interact with any given page, it enables Google’s algorithms “to assign the indexing properties to your content” as well. Efficiency also increases because Googlebot does not have to crawl multiple versions of the same page.
If Google picks any of the pages you create separately for a mobile platform, it might end up flagging them as copy-pasted versions of the original pages. In addition, with the possibility of duplicate content eliminated through the use of responsive eCommerce website design, a boost in a website’s ranking is not uncommon.
Makes Your Website Faster
If a website takes longer than the usual two to three seconds to load, visitors might pin the blame on their internet service providers. However, if they experience any further delay, they tend to blame the provider of the content, and not the internet service provider. While a website that takes time to load usually frustrates a user, it might also have an adverse effect on brand perception and conversion. This becomes particularly important with people who browse eCommerce websites on mobile devices while relying on slower-than-usual internet connections.
Responsive web design for eCommerce websites works in reducing server response time, it minimizes HTTP requests, it reduces the plugins that your website requires, and it also optimizes imagery automatically. In such a scenario, the best web designers use different tools and techniques to ensure quick loading of all web pages across different types of devices.
Makes Effective Use of Content
The need to change the content of eCommerce websites regularly is not uncommon. If you have multiple versions of your website for different platforms, you will have to upload the same content more than once. This entails that you spend more than required time on your content marketing efforts. With responsive eCommerce design, you need to upload all new content only once. It then works equally well on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets alike.
Good for Social Media
Just about every prominent eCommerce website out there has a good social media presence. This makes it important that you remain aware of the latest trends. While increasing the number of your Instagram followers, sponsoring posts on Facebook, and looking for promoted tweets on Twitter might work well, bear in mind that your ultimate goal is to get leads to visit your website and make purchases.
If you operate different websites for desktops and mobile devices, with both having separate domains, sharing links to your website can be problematic. This is because users do not want the burden of having to differentiate between multiple links intended for different devices.
Another problem that may arise is when a user clicks on a link to a mobile website using a desktop or the other way around. In such a scenario, while the website will open, it will not look and function as it should on the given device. This, without a doubt, will leave any user unsatisfied.
An important reason why you need a responsive website is you will be able to share a single link on social media that visitors may use with just about any kind of device.
Easier and More Cost Effective to Maintain
While you might have to spend a little more to get a new responsive website as opposed to getting one that is non-responsive, the former turns out to be simpler and more cost-effective to maintain in the long run. Consider this – if you wish to add new content to multiple websites you run for different platforms, you will have to repeat the same process at least twice. With a responsive website, the updates take place only once. Besides, responsive web design does away with additional costs that come in the form of maintaining multiple domains and websites for different devices.
One of the most important benefits of responsive web design is that people may access it using any device. This, in turn, helps you reach out to a wider audience. What also works in favor of responsive web design is that the simple and clear content hierarchy gives your customers the ability to navigate your website without any problem and view your offerings even on small screens. Increased customer satisfaction follows.
Since not all eCommerce websites have gone the responsive web design way yet, getting one for your business gives it a competitive edge. After all, why would a consumer go through the pains of navigating a non-responsive website on a mobile device when a competitor provides the same offering in a simpler and more accessible manner?
The enhanced user experience that comes about because of responsive web design makes looking for and buying products on mobile devices rather easy. It is not without reason that most eCommerce businesses benefit from an increase in sales when they move from non-responsive to responsive websites.
Making the Switch
Making the switch from a non-responsive eCommerce website to one that is responsive is not as complicated or time-consuming as you might imagine. If you plan to take this important leap, bear in mind that while the initial costs might seem high, your new website will end up paying for itself in the long run through easy and cost-effective maintenance, and you’ll also stand to gain by generating more sales.
Good web designers and developers who keep up with evolving technologies are adept at creating and working with responsive eCommerce websites. In addition, it is commonplace to build responsive eCommerce platforms after accounting for specific requirements, and they might also offer distinct functionalities. For example, most popular eCommerce websites give their users the ability to “search” for offerings on their websites, which simplifies how people look for products or services.
Web designers know Google favors responsive web designs. The ones who are good at their trade take time to understand just what the process entails, keeping abreast of Google’s changing preferences at all times, which is crucial when creating responsive websites.
If you plan to get a new eCommerce website or wish to give your existing one an overhaul, opting for responsive web design is in your best interest. After all, reaching out to a wider demographic and ensuring that your target audience is happy with your website is bound to have a positive effect on your business.
Partnering with a reputable responsive web design service provider plays a vital role in the success of your new website because the modern-day consumer knows how to differentiate between good, mediocre, and lackluster. Backed by a professional approach in design, development, and digital marketing, you may then expect your eCommerce website to attract plenty of organic traffic and boost your online growth.