Choosing the right way to go mobile

With retailers going out of business at the rate of 50 a year no-one can afford to get mobile wrong

The importance of the mobile channel to today's retailers won't come as a surprise to anyone involved in technology buying decisions in the retail industry. Snapshot Statistics from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark revealed that on Boxing Day this year the majority of traffic to UK retail websites came from mobile devices - 58%, an increase of 42% over 2012. Interestingly it seems that while we browse using smartphones we are more likely to buy on a tablet and the average cost of a purchase on a tablet is also higher.

The rise of the mobile device and the differences in the way we use them means a lot of thought has to be put into the customer experience that each device provides. Research by Mobiquity in December last year revealed that nearly half of smartphone and tablet shoppers will abandon a site if the user experience is bad. A one size fits all website is simply not an option.

“Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) will abandon after waiting five seconds for a mobile site to load, 57% have experienced problems when accessing a mobile site and 46% would not return to a poor performing site.”

— eConsultancy

The obvious route for many is the development of smartphone and tablet apps but with devices and platforms evolving all the time this can create as many problems as it solves. Mobile specific sites (m.sites) are also an option but again you are adding to the complexity rather than reducing it. They are also slower which, when 57% of online consumers are abandoning sites that take more than three seconds to load, is a considerable issue.

With both of these solutions the duplication in terms of content, the issues around running multiple sets of analytics and the problems of trying to converge data from different sources to create an effective single customer view all have the potential to damage user experience as well as making life harder on the back end.

The other option is responsive web design. Simply put, this is essentially creating a site that adapts to the device that it is being viewed from. By using techniques such as fluids grids, media queries and flexible images you can create a single website that serves all three online channels at the same time - simply and effectively. Responsive web design is increasingly recognised as the only viable solution to the multi-screen issue. It removes the issues around integration and replication and ensures that the consumer can move seamlessly between devices.

With retailers going out of business at the rate of over 50 a year, addressing mobile is not something that can be put off for long. According to the CBI, mobile retail rose over 300% in 2012 so retailers have no choice but to follow the customer. The question for both marketing and technology teams is how to get there and how to ensure that what you invest in today won't be obsolete tomorrow. Responsive web design ticks the boxes both for functionality, simplicity and longevity.

If you want to find out more about what Red Badger can offer, take a look at our Reponsive Web Design fact sheet. (PDF 1.1MB)


27th February 2014 Cain Ullah

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