It looks like it’s going to be a big year for mobile commerce (or M-Commerce) – the numbers don’t lie! Around the globe, the number of smartphone shoppers is on rise and it’s likely that many e-commerce websites will soon react and opt for responsive redesign, if they haven’t already. In order for e-commerce sites to convert on mobile, they’ll have to provide users the resources they need to make a quick, intelligent purchases and responsive design is the most sophisticated way to provide that clean experience for shoppers, no matter which device they are on.
Responsive design will play a huge role in m-commerce this year for another IMPORTANT reason. Google has been sending mass notifications to webmasters alerting them to fix mobile issues found on their site. This indicates that Google is preparing to officially launch the mobile ranking algorithm they’ve been experimenting with. It seems that if website mobile-friendliness is on the minds of Google search engineers, it should definitely be on the minds of e-commerce owners too!
Responsive Web Design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.SmashingMagazine.com
Responsive web design is the art of designing websites for optimal viewing experiences, no matter the screen size. This innovative design technique is based on advanced mathematical grids that calculate the appropriate screen sizing for desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets alike. Page elements get sized in proportion to other elements on the page instead of by their actual size. This keeps your website’s formatting intact, even as the user switches from device to device.
Responsive design also considers the fact that mobile shoppers are not using a mouse with a cursor like they would be on a desktop or laptop. Instead, shoppers are using their hands to navigate mobile sites. Without the precision of cursor available, it’s important for the mobile version of your site to include larger navigation features that are easy to click on via touchscreen.
As mobile usage continues to rise, the importance of responsive website design will also rise too, especially for e-commerce businesses. Redesigning your website to be mobile-friendly can be quite the undertaking, but the return on your investment is worth it. According to MoPowered, 30% of smartphone shoppers will abandon their shopping experience if the website is not optimized for mobile. Smartphone users simply expect web pages to look and load the same way they would on a desktop or laptop.
Search engines like, Bing, have already started to implement mobile crawlers and mobile ranking algorithms. If soon the mobile-friendliness of your website becomes a Google ranking factor, a responsive redesign may be the only way to combat a huge hit to your rankings.
Are you sold on the idea that m-commerce is a must-take step for your online store and like the idea of responsive, but want to weigh some other options? You have a smartphone and love your online shopping apps — why don’t you build a mobile app instead?
Although everyone would love to have an iOS or Android app, it’s generally outside the scope of what small E-tailers are able to afford. Not only is building an app expensive, but it’s a hassle to keep apps up-to-date. Newer versions of iOS and Android operating systems are constantly released, requiring frequent updates to your code base. Worst of all, the money spent on building an app won’t make your website mobile-friendly for shoppers using their phone’s native web browser.
To optimize for mobile, you could also create an “m.your-site.com” version of your store. There are usually existing services available that tie into your e-commerce system and provide users on mobile and tablet a completely different view of your store. Though these services can be quick and inexpensive to setup, they come with some major disadvantages.
The biggest disadvantage is that these services create a separate subdomain for the mobile version of your store. The “m.your-site.com” subdomain will be crawled and indexed by Google as a completely separate website from your real domain. This means all the content for your product descriptions and other static content will be crawled twice and considered duplicate content.
Fruition.net has embraced responsive design for all of our e-commerce customers for many of the reasons outlined above. As a community, we’re in the perfect place to embrace responsive design at a fairly minimal price. Frameworks like Foundation and Bootstrap have made it easy to create responsive sites.
There are a number of themes available for e-commerce platforms that will quickly get you up and running, but you definitely need to make note of some specific pages and make sure these are optimized for viewing on smaller devices:
By opting for responsive design and taking care to optimize the most important five pages of your e-commerce site, you can bring your e-commerce website into a mobile-friendly 2015 and celebrate huge returns on investing in the mobile movement.
If you’re interested in seeing how your website fares out, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can provide initial insight into whether your website is mobile-friendly or not. Google also provides a speed test for mobile and desktop that is important to pay attention to.
If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your e-commerce site for mobile, please contact the Fruition team! We want to help you build the best mobile version of your website possible.
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Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition based in Denver, Colorado. Jeff uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings.
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