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Overcoming the Imperfections of Responsive Web Design in Mobile Commerce

Posted on 3.02.2017

As online commerce continues to expand and define the future of retail, some brands are still making one of two serious yet avoidable strategic design errors.

Either they cobble together an abbreviated mobile version of their desktop site that leaves mobile users wanting more, or they expect that responsive Web design (RWD) will solve all of their mobile problems, including unacceptably slow page load times.

Always Remember that Consumers are Impatient

Even when RWD and other modern design techniques are leveraged, 53 percent of all mobile users are still dissatisfied with mobile web performance, and almost half of all shoppers abandon mobile sites when the experience is not up to their expectations.

Responsive Web design overcomes some of the disadvantages of the older techniques of generating slimmed-down mobile sites that lose some of the depth and lavishness of the original desktop versions. RWD is essential to satisfying users who expect the same personalized content and rich experience on mobile as they enjoy on larger screens.

However, as one set of problems is solved by RWD, others can be created. This may include slower page load times, which can translate into poor mobile browsing sessions, lost sales, dissatisfied customers, and potential damage to brand reputation and trust.

Implementing RWD is a great first step, but best practices require site designers to go further. Rather than falling back on the responsive design default of simply reconfiguring the site and sending the entire page to the mobile device as a single package, the content should be segmented into individual components, and artfully orchestrated so that the most important parts are downloaded first to captivate consumers immediately.

Make Mobile Faster, Richer, and More Exciting

As bandwidth has improved, shoppers have become more comfortable with online channels, resulting in higher expectations in terms of Web performance. People want everything fast. But if they are not adequately engaged in relevant ways, they rapidly lose interest.

The dilemma here is that retailers need to provide a mobile experience with the same informative content, stunning images and persuasive video as is displayed on their full desktop sites, but they must also ensure that everything is delivered quickly.

In the world of mobile commerce – performance, speed and instant engagement are what drives conversions. As the performance bar rises, retailers with mobile sites are finding that eight seconds is an eternity for mobile users, and many of them will leave a shopping site if they have to wait longer than that.

Responsive design helps ensure that one source of content can be used for all devices from desktop to smartphones and tablets.

High Performance Maximizes Mobile Conversions

Today, shoppers will not tolerate a truncated site for mobile, and they are not willing to wait for a lot of data to load. This is why prioritizing page loading on mobile is an essential part of every new design initiative.

Retailers need faster device load times to drive higher mobile conversion rates. They must also attract, engage, and delight shoppers across all channels and devices – so that while some page components are still downloading, there is plenty of compelling content and colorful imagery instantly visible to grab and hold buyer interest.

Technologies that help accelerate and optimally sequence website content across all devices can help online retailers complete the evolution from mobile commerce as a secondary channel to the primary driver of more robust retail revenues by enabling them to significantly increase page load speeds on mobile devices and ensuring that responsive Web design does not affect mobile performance.


About the Author

Bob Buffone is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Yottaa, the leading SaaS platform for accelerating e-commerce. Before Yottaa, Bob was chief architect at Nexaweb. Through his work at Nexaweb, Bob became an industry leader in Web performance and has been invited to speak at many industry conferences. Before he joined Nexaweb in 2003, Bob was with Trakus, a technology company focused on tracking sports athletes in real time. Before Trakus, Bob was at Cabletron designing network communications related software (FTP, TCP/IP, SMNP etc.).
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