Around this time of the year, as an eCommerce merchant, I start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. While Christmas and Chanukah are probably the last things many of you are thinking about right now, online store owners are starting to plan for the busiest selling season of the year.
In order to capture the most sales possible in the short period that kicks off on Black Friday and ends a few weeks later, store owners have to begin preparing their websites and getting their marketing efforts in check now.
One of the hottest topics being talked about in eCommerce circles at the moment is responsive website design. Simply put, a “responsive” website adapts to whatever the device the user is viewing the site on – desktop, tablet or smartphone. The site will scale to fit the screen size making the experience optimum for everyone.
Prior to responsive designed websites, smartphone users had to suffer through viewing full size websites on screens not up to the task. Finger gestures to expand and contract the viewable area led to people just saying, “forget it, I’ll wait until I get home to view this site.” And we all know that the odds of someone doing that is very slim, as we tend to forget to do things after a few minutes! (At least I do.)
Then along came mobile optimized websites that would take content from the existing site, reformat it to fit the mobile device and often came with a URL that started off with m. or mobile. Mobile optimized sites fit the bill fine, but they often required updating the mobile site as well as the main site adding more work onto the already busy store owner’s to-do list. There also was the very real risk of search engines picking up duplicate content from the mobile site and the desktop site, which if caught, could create serious issues for SEO.
As responsive website design is becoming more mainstream, it’s also starting to become the standard to which websites and eCommerce stores are being built. It only makes sense to design a website that is easy to use, is customer friendly and adapts to whatever device the visitor is using in order to provide an optimum experience across the board.
Part of preparing for the 4th quarter holiday rush usually involves a redesign to an existing eCommerce store or at least the addition of the latest and greatest conversion boosting store features. If you’ve been on the fence about a redesign for your online store, now is the time to consider it – and more importantly, consider going responsive.
In addition to providing a seamless shopping experience across all devices, a responsive website has many benefits that a store owner should consider as part of the overall decision making process:
One website to update and maintain. Many store owners I deal with on an ongoing basis have a mobile site for their store that they are required to maintain separately via a 3rd party provider. This second store often gets overlooked and I encounter many that aren’t updated, don’t include current promotional messaging/imaging and is there more for just the sake of “being there” rather than being a tool to drive sales. A responsive website eliminates the hassle of updating a mobile version as it’s one site that fits all!
Cost effective. While a responsive design may cost a little more upfront than a non-responsive site, you won’t be paying a separate monthly fee, or revenue share for a 3rd party to provide you with a mobile version. Mobile only sites can cost up to $399, or more, per month on top of what you’re already paying to host your eCommerce store.
Recommended by search engines. One of the top recommendations of the major search engines to webmasters has been, “go responsive.” A responsive website served up on a mobile device is going to get more face time in front of mobile searchers than a non-responsive version – and with the way mobile is trending, this is extremely important. Additionally, a responsive designed website eliminates the chance of being penalized for having duplicate content on a mobile site and a desktop version. For all SEO purposes, the experts recommend moving forward with a responsive design.
Clean and easy. Responsive websites offer a fresh design approach that isn’t cluttered, is easy to navigate, and employs features that only work on the device that’s being used to view the website making the customer experience superior to that of non-responsive sites. The days of “busy” websites with bells and whistles that distract and confuse rather than guide and convert are over. Clean and easy is in and it’s what your shoppers want when it comes to shopping online.
It’s future proof. By investing in a responsive website today, you’re on the cutting edge of web design that’s going to be around for a while. If you’re considering a redesign now and are going to be plopping down a couple thousand dollars on a non-responsive site, chances are you’re going to be spending a couple grand more again next year because you should have gone responsive in the first place. Responsive design is the way websites are being designed now and moving forward, so why not invest a little more now to have your site built for the future than look back next year at this time and ask yourself why you didn’t go responsive in the first place.
At Solid Cactus, we’ve been furiously working at rolling out a responsive website design solution for our customers for over a year now. We’ve taken the time to look at what other developers are doing, how big name eCommerce merchants are building their responsive stores, and what the search engines are saying about going responsive.
We’ve taken all we learned and put together what I consider to be the best responsive website design solutions for our Yahoo! Store and Monster Commerce (Network Solutions) eCommerce store owners.
Our responsive website design offerings include a responsive homepage as well as responsive item, section and checkout pages. We’ve even gone thru and have completed an upgrade of 99% of our existing eCommerce store features, such as Scratch & Save, Click to Enlarge and more, to make them 100% responsive design compatible.
If you’re considering a redesign for the upcoming holiday season and want to discuss moving to a responsive design, give us a call. We’ll sit down with our programmers and designers to review your existing store and lay out a plan to go responsive and present you with a proposal that we feel will best fit your needs as well as the needs of your customers.
I’m truly excited about our new responsive design offerings as this is the future of web design as we know it! I’d love for our team to discuss with you the various ways we can make your site responsive in time for the 4th quarter. Give your account manager a call at 1.888.361.9814 or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help you make the decision that’s right for your business.
After all, we’re in this together! As your partner in eCommerce success, would you expect anything less?
Scott Sanfilippo is co-founder of Solid Cactus as well as one of the Internet’s first eCommerce stores, TheFerretStore.com. When he’s not writing articles for our blog, he’s checking the Wayback Machine and looking at how many times the web’s most popular websites have been redesigned over the years. We bet he thinks your site is ready for one!