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Responsive website design & e-commerce

In April we explored Responsive Website Design. This month, we revisit the subject to find out what’s new in the world of responsive website design and take a look at the websites that are likely to be most affected by the upcoming change – e-commerce sites.

What’s new?

Ofcom have published a report showing that “the UK is now a smartphone society”. With two-thirds of the population owning a smartphone, and internet browsing on mobile devices overtaking laptops (1 hour 54 mins vs. 1 hour 9 mins), it looks like predictions about the rise of the mobile device were spot on.

Google has announced a change in policy that suggests that non-responsive websites will see a sudden  drop in ranking at some point in the next 12 months. This is because Google will be ranking sites based on their performance across all devices, rather than just desktop devices.

Under the new rules, a website that shows a low level of use from mobile/tablet users will drop in search rankings. Sites using responsive website design will show higher levels of use from users on mobile devices and will start to show higher search engine ranking.

Can this effect be bypassed?

Businesses could use pay-per-click adverts to try and bypass the effect, but this won’t give value for money. As well as giving competitors the time to upgrade their own site, it will be far cheaper to invest in responsive website design than to pay for quick fixes.

Where does e-commerce come into it?

Let’s look at the stats. E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. Sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain are expected to grow from £132.05 bn [€156.28 bn] in 2014 to £156.67 bn (€185.39 bn) in 2015 (+18.4%), reaching £185.44 bn (€219.44 bn) in 2016.*

We’re talking about a HUGE market with lots of opportunity for expansion for both established and start up businesses, so how could something like responsive website design affect the success of an e-commerce site?

The reason that responsive website design will play a huge part in the future of e-commerce sites is as follows:

  • non-responsive site shows a drop in ranking
  • the drop in ranking leads to a drop in visitors
  • the drop of visitors leads to a drop in sales
  • a drop in sales leads to a drop in profit

Combine this with the rise of the 4G mobile network and e-commerce sites that don’t adapt could suffer.

What difference does 4G make?

Smartphone users with 4G are shopping online more than those without 4G (55% vs. 35%), and at least one 4G mobile broadband service is now available to 89.5% of UK homes. This looks set to grow even further, with Ofcom rules stating that 98% of premises have to have an indoor 4G signal from at least one operator by 2017.**

This means that internet browsing on mobile devices is going to get faster and we can expect to see people spending even more time doing it.

When should businesses upgrade?

The evidence is pretty clear. Businesses that want to upgrade to responsive website design should already be making their plans.

If you’re interested in speaking to a member of the team about upgrading your business website, get in touch with us through the contact us page.

Responsive website design – It’s a really good fit.

*figures from the Centre for Retail Research

**figures from Ofcom