Responsive Design Holds The Key To E-Commerce Success

Maybe you're reading this article at your desk, and the headline above is displayed across a 28-inch monitor that you could see just as easily from across your office. Perhaps you have pulled this site up on your laptop, and you've got 13 inches worth of screen to view. However, if you're like the rising number of consumers around the world who browse, network, and shop online, chances are good that the screen you're using right now fits in your hand -- and you want the content you're viewing to look great on that device. The one-size-fits-all nature of responsive Web design is quickly becoming the standard in e-commerce, particularly with the rise in mobile device usage, and the notion that accessing a smartphone or tablet has become just as simple as using a traditional computer.

If you look at the statistics around mobile usage, it becomes clear why creating a better experience for smartphone and tablet users is so important. A typical American household contains an average of 5.7 mobile devices. Beyond U.S. borders, 56 percent of people own a smartphone, and half of them are using that device as their main connection to the Internet. Similarly, close to three-quarters of tablet users are making weekly purchases from those mobile devices.

The next building block in international e-commerce

Businesses have built out their online content to specifically target their audience. They have created e-catalogs, blogs, spec sheets, videos, and more. They have localized for key markets to ensure they connect with target buyers in their preferred languages, as well as taking into account other cultural considerations. The next step is to make sure those target buyers have a consistently superior user experience regardless of whether they shop from a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPad, or an Android. In other words, responsive Web design is the next must-have for e-commerce companies.

Today, brands need to ensure that their primary Web sites are optimized for local markets and multiple mobile devices. That entails not only configuring for any device, but also properly adjusting for the audience and its particular preferences and habits across the board. Responsive design meets these needs by adapting to any mobile screen resolution and creating an online environment that encourages increased conversions and ultimately, increased sales.

Among the benefits of responsive design are these key results:

Adjust once, distribute for multiple audiences. With a responsive Web site design, a brand can translate and localize core content for specific audiences in one fell swoop. By limiting the number of individual sites being adjusted, businesses can greatly reduce the risk of making mistakes by simplifying an already complex process.

Maintain consistent brand identity. When a company creates a single site that can support multiple translations and multiple device form factors, it's easier to deliver consistent brand messages and user experiences. Maintaining conformity across all platforms allows brands to establish loyalty and positive recognition among consumers across the globe.

Optimize for search. Responsive Web sites are more Google-friendly for the very reason that they make it easier to share information across devices; when a company maintains a singular and streamlined presence across channels, search engines don't have to track down multiple URLs. As a result, search results become more favorable for the brand.

Just as with other e-commerce strategies, responsive design is not foolproof. This approach won't mask poor translation, for example, and it will not serve as a Band-Aid for a lack of localization. International e-commerce requires companies to build core sites that reflect their brands and speak to their target markets in an informed, relatable way. Once that foundation is in place, responsive design can help brands reach the growing number of consumers around the world who are increasingly as likely to shop from a smartphone or tablet as from a desktop or laptop computer.

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